Creativity and enthusiasm shine through the blogs my students are writing!

A few years ago, I blogged about how impressed I was with the blogs my students were creating and writing for our COM106 Writing for the Communication Professions class at Rider University. And each semester since 2012, I’ve continued to be “wowed” by my students’ blogs.blogcollageimage It’s not just the writing that they’re doing that’s impressive. It’s my students’ creativity that impresses me the most!

I give my students complete creative control over their blogs, and they can choose to write about any theme they want (because I believe that it’s always easier to write when you’re writing about a topic that interests you). Their creativity is awesome, and it’s enhanced by their enthusiasm for the topics they’re writing about, as well! They’re doing such a great job writing their blogs this semester, and the themes and topics are so interesting. I enjoy reading every post they write. :)

Take a look at a few of the blogs created during the past few weeks (Spring Semester 2015), and I think you’ll be impressed, too!

Do You Schedule Your Time and Work in a Way that is ‘Natural’ for YOU?

In business, and in life, in general, timing is everything. I came across this blog post this morning: A Resting Revolution: Insight from Martha. croppedsunriseWhile Martha Beck, a popular life coach, author and motivational speaker, wrote this post in 2012, I believe I discovered and read the blog post at just the right time for me.

Right now, I needed to be reminded that “we should follow our own impulses rather than adhering to rigid external rules…” I believe this advice applies to just about everything in life. But, in this instance, Martha is referring to our schedules: when we work, and when we rest and sleep. In the article, Martha also quotes “brain rules” developed by Dr. John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist who studies the human brain. His “brain rule #7” is “Sleep well. Think well.” (I know that when I’m tired, it takes me a lot longer to get my work done.)

Our schedules can get crazy these days, with so many distractions, plus the demands of outside influences in our business and personal lives (school schedules, meeting times, sports schedules, travel requirements, etc.) Martha brings up a good point: Our school and work schedules today are based on timing and concepts developed during different times – and the world has changed A LOT since the Industrial Revolution. She says, “There is no reason to continue scheduling our activities based on a model from the 19th century,” and I agree.

Whether you’re naturally a “night owl” or an “early bird,” you’re most effective when you time your work – and your rest – to match your own natural rhythm. Good luck – and let’s get some rest! :)

Twitter grows, while Facebook remains the same…

Do you use Twitter?

Apparently, Twitter has been gaining more users, while Facebook usage has remained the same.  According to a recent article from Social Media Examiner, Twitter has been experiencing “massive growth.” Twitter screenshotThe article cites a Pew Research Center report that says the social media platform’s audience rose by 27.7% from 2013 to 2014, while Facebook’s audience held steady during the same time. The research also attributes some of Twitter’s increased popularity to TV programs and other businesses and brands using the platform. The article reports, “Twitter’s foothold with television audiences and Millennial consumers suggest there are some marketing opportunities.” That’s good news for businesses and brands.

Personally, I’ve enjoyed using Twitter since I first signed on in 2009. Over the past six years, it’s been fun to learn from people around the world, to meet new friends (some of those friends have transferred from the “Twitter world” to the “real world”), and to watch and participate in Twitter’s growth. If you’re not already using Twitter, you should join in on the fun! And let’s connect there: You can follow me @kathymagrino and I’ll follow you back. Hope to see you on Twitter soon! :)

Business communication: Are your presentations ‘Zen-like’? They should be!

This week in my COM106 Writing for the Media class at Rider University, I’ll be introducing my students to Garr Reynold’s book, Presentation Zen. It’s a required text for our course.presentation zen book Sharing this book and the concepts Garr covers in the book with future business professionals is my attempt (in a very small way) to support Garr’s “mission” — and to hopefully help improve the quality of presentations in the business world in the years to come. ;)

If you’re not familiar with Presentation Zen, the book promotes the concepts of “restraint, simplicity and naturalness” in presentation preparation, design and delivery. Garr describes his book in the first chapter of Presentation Zen:

“This is not a book about Zen; this is a book about communication and about seeing presentations in a slightly different way, a way that is in tune with our times… Our professional activities – especially professional communications – can share the same ethos as Zen. That is, the essence or the spirit of many of the principles found in Zen concerning aesthetics, mindfulness, connectedness, and so on can be applied to our daily activities, including presentations.”

Follow Garr Reynolds on Twitter @PresentationZen and read the book to discover how you can make your business presentations more “Zen-like.” :)


In business, it’s okay to change your mind (and follow your heart)

TheWriteWay’s pick for February 9, 2015:

“Change is good.” I’ve always believed this statement, and it’s refreshing and reassuring when you see people embracing change in their lives. heartBut the same “change is good” concept can (and should) be applied when we change our minds, especially when we’re following our hearts. Sisters and business partners Becca Nelson and Ellie Brown changed their minds and decided to keep their business, after Mark Cuban offered to buy it for $200,000 on TV’s “Shark Tank.” This article from shares their story, and it offers some validation that it’s okay to change your mind in business, and to do what “feels right” to you. Best of luck, Becca and Ellie – and keep following your hearts! :)

P.S. In keeping with the “change is good” theme of this post, I’ve opted to change these weekly blog posts… I’ll be posting one article at a time (rather than two or three), so that each selection can get the focused attention it deserves. (And you may be seeing more than one post per week… Stay tuned!)

Change It Up!…Or Start A New Business — TheWriteWay picks for week of February 2

Is it Time to ‘Change It Up’ in Business and Your Personal Life?

If you work for yourself (like I do), your business and personal life often “merge” or, at least, impact each other – A LOT. (It’s similar when you work for others, but maybe not as extreme?…) How do we manage this “merger” of our business and personal lives? @ChrisGuillebeau says we should take the time to think about our goals, both personal and business, each day. He says we should ask ourselves a simple question at the end of each day: “Did today matter?” How you answer this question can offer some guidance and perspective. Chris says, “Did today matter? If so, great. Do more things like it tomorrow. Can’t remember anything in particular that made a difference? Well, better change it up…” Read his post, 7 Alternative Ways to Evaluate Your Life Every Day, for some more guidance and motivation:

Are You Dreaming of Starting a New Business in 2015?…

What type of business will you start? Each year, people starting new businesses search among sample business plans on the website, and the owners of the site track which searches are most popular. Then they publish and share a “Top 10” list. In her article on, @MindaZetlin writes about the list, and she says, “It’s a fascinating look into the types of businesses most of us dream of starting, and how those dreams have changed over time.” Read Minda’s article, The 10 Most Popular New Businesses for People to Start, for more insight and the list of “Top 10 Business Plan Searches for 2014”:

Marketing and Twitter… TheWriteWay Picks – Week of January 26, 2015

How Will the ‘Less-Is-More’ Movement Affect Marketing?

The “less-is-more” movement seems to be picking up traction lately. 31077_SMJPG_20150126092730284If you’re involved in marketing any type of product or service, you should be prepared. Society seems to be shifting away from a “materialism mentality,” and this could have big implications for the future of marketing and advertising – and the way we communicate and persuade people to buy products and services. Here are some interesting thoughts from Steve Taylor (@SMTaylorauthor) via @PsychToday:

‘Communicate Less & Tweet More Links…’ and Other Good Tips for Using Twitter

I’ve said this before: @Twitter is my personal favorite social media platform, and I love learning all I can about using it for effective communications. Here are some helpful tips from @timsoulo via @SMExaminer for improving results if you’re using Twitter for marketing purposes:


WriteOn! – Week of January 19, 2015 – This Week’s Picks:

Your Sales Teams Can Build on Content Marketing to Get More Revenue…

infographicAre your sales teams “as ‘hip’ to the content movement as their marketing colleagues?” @Hubspot shared this helpful infographic from @knowledgetree in a post last week (“Content Selling: The Next Evolution of Content Marketing”) . Check it out:

Hire a ‘Combination of Right-Brain and Left-Brain Types’ for Your Marketing Team

On the Silverpop blog, Bryan Brown writes, “Companies lack the cross-channel customer insights they need to deliver relevant, timely, personalized content.” He offers recommendations for “transitioning your marketing team” this year. I especially like recommendation #1: “Shift Your Hiring” and hire “a combination of right-brain and left-brain types to thrive in a new marketing landscape…” Read more:

WriteOn! – Week of January 12, 2015 – This Week’s Picks:

What’s YOUR favorite social media site?…

The Pew Research Center says Facebook is the most popular social media site, but its growth has slowed. my twitter page At the same time, however, other social media platforms saw “significant increases” in popularity and usage. (I’m on several social media platforms, but my personal favorite is still Twitter — and I’ve been happily tweeting since 2009! Follow me on Twitter @kathymagrino.) Here’s the report released last week:

In B2B content marketing, let’s get busier — and better!

According to the “B2B Content Marketing 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America” report, ONLY 8% of B2B marketers rate the effectiveness of their organization’s use of content marketing as “very effective.” (This means there’s a lot of room for improvement! :) ) You’ll find a lot of interesting and helpful info about B2B content marketing in this report from Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute and Ann Handley of MarketingProfs:



WriteOn! – Week of January 5th, 2015 – This Week’s Picks:

Let’s start the year being positive about business — and everything!

Happy New Year! Let’s start the year being positive about business – and life, in general! Here are some valuable lessons from Richard Newton (@richnewton) via the @Virgin blog:

How do YOU define PR?

Does anyone really know what “public relations” is…?! How do you define #PR? I found this piece from John D. Wagner in the New York Times, and John’s honesty is very refreshing: “Learning a Foreign Language Called Public Relations” –