E-Mail Advice for U

Coping Moves

CAMA Conference Shifts Emphasis

New Opportunities In Continuing Ed

New at RVCC

Corporate Angels Aid Women and Girls

Corrections or additions?

These articles by Kathleen McGinn Spring were prepared for the

June 11, 2003 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

A Jar of Bubbles On Every Desk

It is impossible to be stressed while licking an ice

cream cone. Is it the concentration required to keep the sticky stuff

from dripping onto shirt and shoes? Is it the associations with


childhood summers? Whatever the reason, this wisdom, care of Joel

Weintraub, principal in Lafayette Hill-based Humor for the Health

of It (www.healthhumor.com), sounds right on target.

Weintraub speaks on "Stress Management: Laughter Really Is the

Best Medicine" on Thursday, June 12, at 6 p.m. at a meeting of

the Mercer chapter of NJAWBO at the Merrill Lynch Conference Center.

Cost: $35. Call 609-924-7975.

Weintraub, a graduate of Temple (Class of 1981), makes a living by

giving humorous talks and by consulting to companies on lightening

the atmosphere in their offices. He has studied both health education

and sociology, which he defines as "the study of what you already

know in words you don’t understand," and after college he worked

as both a stand-up comedian and the director of a wellness center.

His business, in existence for 15 years, combines the two.

Clients tend to call him either because their offices are so stressed

that a crisis appears to be imminent and they are desperate for


— anything — that might help, or because they understand the

value of humor in reducing stress and want to find ways to introduce

it. Among his suggestions:

Catch an attitude. "Nothing makes sense in the


Weintraub declares. Trying too hard to tease out meaning just makes

you "go crazy." People tend to spend their lives looking for

answers. "It’s like a break-up," he says. "You want


You want to know why, or you want to get back together." Most

people do not get satisfaction either way. "You never get an


he says.

It’s much the same in the workplace. Why doesn’t the boss like me?

Why did my client switch to another vendor when everything seemed

to be going so well? Better to leave these questions alone.

"The only normal people," says Weintraub, "are those


you don’t know well enough."

Blow bubbles. "I don’t like gimmicks," says


Not as a rule. But he makes a couple of exceptions. A soft ice cream

machine, for example, can, all by itself, turn an office’s atmospheric

tables. So can bubbles. Issue each employee a bottle, suggests


Imagine a new employee’s reaction to finding a bright blue or neon

green bottle of bubbles on his desk along with the pencils and 10-line

phone. Such gestures state that a little 9-to-5 fun is encouraged.

Besides, says Weintraub, the act of blowing bubbles requires deep

intakes and outflows of breath. Such breathing reduces stress.

Toss out the birthday cakes. Instead of an office fund

for birthday cakes, Weintraub suggests a "fun fund." A


could be appointed to use the money to plan a purely fun event once

a month.

Bring on the smiles. Each office has a personality; each

department within a corporation has a personality. "Sometimes

you work for a company, and everybody’s mean and stressed," says

Weintraub. "That’s the overall theme in the company."

Changing the theme can be as easy as spreading smiles. The boss should

start the chain-reaction. "Smile at yourself in the mirror when

you get up in the morning," suggests Weintraub. Then, upon


for work, engage the first person you see in conversation, and make

sure to smile at him. Do the same for person number two. The


can work up slowly, gradually increasing the number of smiles they

hand out.

The atmosphere should soon go from sour to sunny, because, Weintraub

explains, no one can resist a smile. Our brains are conditioned to

react to facial expressions. Each smile is an unconscious link to

every happy face we have ever seen, while each scowl is a reminder

of every unpleasant encounter. Brain chemistry is affected by


both by those we assume and by those we see.

Enjoy those joke E-mails. If the office has no policy

against the receipt of non-business E-mails, take a laugh break with

the latest set of Internet jokes. Most people have friends who send

them around, and many induce side-splitting laughter. Indulge. It’s

good for your heart as well as for your stress level.

Creativity is another benefit of humor. Relaxed by laughter,

and working in an environment where stress is kept to a minimum,


should be able to come up with good ideas. Another benefit is that

employees will want to stick around to keep contributing those ideas.

"For years," says Weintraub, "we thought that people


at a job because of money." It turns out that this is not true.

"People stay because they like the job," he says. "They

stay because they look forward to seeing their friends."

And having an ice cream machine in the break room doesn’t hurt.

Top Of Page
E-Mail Advice for U

Yo, IMHO the guy U work for is a jerk. MHOTY for putting

up with him this long. he makes the idiot I works for look smarter

then Einstein. LOL.The good thing is that neither one of them has

a clue about the money we’re skimming from the Browning account.


Ozana Castellano would disapprove of the above paragraph,


of millions of E-mails whizzing around and between businesses, for

any number of reasons. A business communications specialist at Mercer

County Community College’s Center for Training and Development, she

spends most of her time doing on-site corporate training, and more

and more she is hearing pleas for help with E-mail etiquette, form,

and content.

"E-mail is out of control!" says Castellano, whose husband,

Michael, brings home particularly egregious examples from his New

York office. "It’s killing our language," she says. While

managers may mourn the harm E-mail is doing to the mother tongue,

their more immediate concern is the harm it is doing to their


image, and even in some cases to its business.

On Thursday, June 19, at 9 a.m. Castellano gives a five-hour class

on "Sharpening Your E-Mail Writing" at MCCC. The cost for

the class, which is open to the public, is $95. Call 609-586-9446.

E-mail, Castellano points out, grew up free of English-class rules

for correspondence. While workers have been drilled on how to set

up, write, proof, and send a business letter, there has been no


instruction on E-mail. At the same time, E-mail has become a


favorite. Fast and easy, it is now used for nearly every type of



Castellano, a graduate of Hofstra University who holds an MBA from

St. John’s University, grew up with letters rather than with E-mails,

as is the case for many people now in the workforce. An immigrant,

she also grew up speaking Croation. Having long ago mastered English

so well that no trace of an accent remains, she is now equally fluent

in E-mail. Here is her advice for steering clear of the E-mail style

of the above message:

Don’t use acronyms. The only acceptable acronym is FYI,

states Castellano. Everyone knows "FYI" means "for your

information," but many people will be thrown by the likes of


which is E-mail speak for "in my humble opinion." Likewise,

not everyone will know that "MHOTY" is shorthand for "my

hat’s off to you." Even the fairly common "LOL," which

means "laughing out loud," and its less-common cousin,


— "rolling on the floor laughing" — are bound to cause

some head scratching.

The pop shorthand is beloved by everyone intoxicated with the new

communication. But, Castellano points out, it can cause embarrassment

if the receiver is unable to decipher the message and thinks he must

be out of the loop. If he has to send a reply asking for


the point often is lost, and there is discomfort on both sides.

"I don’t even like ASAP," says Castellano. In this case, her

objection is not so much that some people may not know that the


stands for "as soon as possible," but rather that it is too

vague. "To me, ASAP may mean today," she says, "but to

you it might mean Christmas."

Always add a salutation. All business — even the


business addressed in the above E-mail — is personal. Keep E-mail

personal by always taking the time to start an E-mail with the


name and to end it with your own.

Drop the "dear." Castellano says the way to begin

an E-mail is with "Hi" or simply with the recipient’s name.

"Dear" is for letters, she declares, and not for electronic

messages. As for "Hi," an opener that feels a little to


and/or juvenile to businesspeople of a certain age, she says it is

fine in most circumstances. When in doubt, just open with the


name, which may be preceded by a title — Mr., Ms., Honorable,

or the like — in more formal relationships.

Break up text blocks. Four or five lines generally is

enough for one E-mail paragraph. Longer unbroken stretches of text

are hard to read on a screen. Break up long paragraphs into several

short paragraphs, says Castellano. Better yet, use lists, numbering

each item.

Don’t pack too much in. Unlike a letter, which may be

kept on the desk for easy reference, E-mails are read fast before

being deleted or filed. Including several agenda items often means

that one or two will be ignored in a reply. If you want to ask your

boss for a raise, the go-ahead on a new project, a new desk, and the

month of August off, it is a good idea to send him four separate


Watch grammar and spelling. The state of E-mail content

often is a disgrace, says Castellano. Recently, a large area employer

called her in to instruct employees on basic grammar and spelling

issues. Common errors, she says, range from mixing up "then"

and "than" to starting sentences with a lower case letter

to ignoring subject/verb agreement. With everyone on staff E-mailing

all over the place like crazy, these lapses are on broad display,

undermining not only the individual’s credibility, but also that of

his organization.

Proof on paper. Castellano admits that in a go-go world,

this is a tough one, but she says it is essential that E-mails be

printed and proofed. "You’ll miss mistakes on the screen,"

she says. Doing so is not a huge problem if the E-mail is going to

a close friend, but it can be if it is going to an important client.

Don’t write what you wouldn’t shout. Once the


button is pressed, the E-mail takes on a life of its own. It may be

read only by its recipient, but there is always the possibility that

it will be forwarded to others — maybe hundreds of thousands of

others — with the simple tap on a keyboard. It is a good bet that

the sender of the above E-mail didn’t consider that his boss would

see it. Given the eternal shelf life of E-mails, however, such a


is not out of the question.

"So many people have gotten in trouble because of


says Castellano. While the E-mail at the beginning of this article

was sent to give a pal a chuckle, it is a good bet that its sender

would not be LOL, let alone ROTFL, if his boss read it.

Top Of Page
Coping Moves

If he weren’t a believer in networking groups before,

he is now. Robert Zyontz, founder of Princeton MarketTech, has

learned to use networking to get through tough times.

"We are networking like crazy," says Zyontz, "and this

opens up doors that would have never been opened before." He


a weekly leads group, BNI, which meets on Wednesdays at 7 a.m. at

the Bog at the Cranbury Golf Club, paying $240 for one year plus $75

for the application. He thought he would give it a year.

Result: "It is working. We are generating business from outside

the chapter — really solid word-of-mouth referrals. It is not

a kaffee klatsch. But it takes a year for momentum to build, and every

week at 7 a.m. is a major commitment."

He also expanded the client basis for sales and marketing collateral

materials and website design. "We specialize in financial services

— marketing, banking, insurance, and investments." Clients

include Prudential Financial, Merrill Lynch, Fleet Insurance Services,

and Citizen’s Bank, but it also has Diamond Tours and Grounds for

Sculpture. "For companies with marketing challenges, we can come

in and help them." Renee Hobbs, vice president, is doing pro bono

work for the June 27th observation of the Battle of Monmouth.

Yet another coping move is to change physical spaces, from the high

rent district at Vaughn Drive to the Dataram center on Route 571.

"After 11 years in one place, it’s always good to change


says Zyontz.

"As long as you have comfortable affordable office space you can

pass savings to your clients and to your employees through incentives.

Or invest money in equipment to increase your business," he


"If you are in my shoes in an expensive space, swallow your pride

and give up on the image thing. We are very comfortable in our


Top Of Page
CAMA Conference Shifts Emphasis

Computer technology still has the power to dazzle. A

Wall Street Journal columnist, for example, recently wrote about


Apple’s new online music store, with breathless enthusiasm. Tiny


cameras have the power to induce techno-lust too, and what office

worker wouldn’t love to find a super-sized, flat-screen monitor on

his desk.

But for the most part, computer technology has become one more tool,

and is as well integrated into the lives of creative professionals

as is the telephone. For this reason, the New Jersey Communications

Advertising and Marketing Association (NJ CAMA) has decided to change

the name of one of its most important annual events. Called Technology

Day in recent years, the gathering is now simply the NJ CAMA Annual


The conference takes place on Thursday, June 26, at 8:30 a.m. at


Cost: $95. Visit www.njcama.org for all the details.

Aaron Bedy, CAMA’s vice president of technology, writes to


that in the past few years "technology was affecting all of our

lives, changing the way we worked, and forcing us to re-think the

way our businesses were organized and conducted." He adds that

"technology is still a key component of the way we work, yet most

of you have accepted it and integrated it into your specialties —

public relations, advertising, marketing, photography, printing, and

many others."

Technology will factor into many of the presentations at the


but, says Bedy, the program focuses on many facets of what NJ CAMA

members do, and not just on one aspect of their work.

Colonel Jeffrey Douglass of the United States Marine Corps gives

the keynote, "Taking Your Message into the World’s Hot Spots."

Seminars cover the future of branding, the role of the art director,

the potential of personalization in marketing, and the future of


computing. Speaker include Nick Wreden, author of


Jeffery Winsor, strategic alliance manager at Hewlett Packard;

Greg Merkle of Factiva; and Seymour Chwast, director of

the Pushpin Group.

Top Of Page
New Opportunities In Continuing Ed

The Center for Management Development at Rutgers

will offer its Mini-MBA: Business Essentials program this summer in

an accelerated, six-week format. Two instructional modules providing

a practical foundation in current business concepts and practices

will be presented each day.

Classes will be held on Rutgers’ Livingston campus in Piscataway from

9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Friday, July 11, through Friday, August 15.

The shortened certificate program is designed for a range of


including human resources, information technology, and other


in "business partner" roles who need to better understand

the business mission, strategy, and financial management of their

companies. It is also recommended for professionals interested in

previewing an MBA.

The fee for the course is $2,495. For more information, call Claudia

Meer at 732-445-5590.

On Monday, July 7, New Jersey’s 19 community colleges, in


with New Jersey City University, will offer New Pathways to Teaching

in New Jersey, a new alternate-route teacher education program.

Students can choose to take the program as either a certification

requirement to become a teacher in New Jersey, or can apply the


as 15 credits toward a master’s in teaching degree from New Jersey

City University.

In a prepared statement, Peter Contini, executive board member of

the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, writes that "this


will provide interested individuals with the right qualifications

the opportunity to change careers and become public school teachers

in New Jersey."

Classes will meet twice a week for three hours and will include guided

observations in local schools.

Program candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree with a major in an

arts and sciences field for elementary education or hold a major in

the appropriate field for subject area license. They must have a


GPA of 2.75 or higher for the last degree earned and have achieved

a passing score on the appropriate Praxis II exam.

The cost of the program is $2,000 for those taking it for


and $4,500 for those taking it for graduate credit. For more


call 201-200-3168 or visit www.njccc.org/teachered.htm.

Beginning in the fall, the College of New Jersey will

offer two new degree programs, a master of arts in applied Spanish

and a bachelor of arts in biomedical engineering. The second degree

offers two curricula options, electrical engineering or mechanical


Biomedical engineering combines engineering know-how with medical

needs. Students apply knowledge and skill to define and solve problems

in biology and medicine, such as designing and constructing cardiac

pacemakers and investigating the biomechanics of injury and wound


The program is aimed, in part, to benefit students interested in


associate positions or technical management positions within the



Berkeley College of New Jersey has received approval from

the Middle States Association of Higher Education to offer a Bachelor

of Science in Business Administration in an online format beginning

in the fall.

The online program is offered in four-quarter, 11 or 12-week sessions.

All students enrolling are required to take an introductory course

that will prepare them to work online and help both the student and

the college assess whether online learning is the best option.

For more information, call Susan Mandra at 973-278-5400, ext. 1213.

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New at RVCC

<d>Raritan Valley Community College has become the

first community college in the country to offer a doctorate degree

on campus through its University Center as a result of a new


with Seton Hall University.

Under the agreement, beginning in January, 2004, Seton Hall’s College

of Education and Human Services and SetonWorldWide, the school’s


campus, will partner with RVCC by offering courses at RVCC’s campus

in North Branch leading to an executive doctorate in higher education,

leadership, and policy — with specialties in either higher


administration or college teaching. The program, which is to include

weekend classes, will be delivered in an accelerated format using

blended instruction to accommodate the needs of working professionals.

Approximately 20 percent of the coursework will be Internet-based.

The program will take two years to complete and will feature cohort

learning, block scheduling, support, and mentoring. Students receive

a Seton Hall degree upon completion of the program.

For more information, contact Teresa Keeler, director of the


Center, at 908-526-1200 or at tkeeler@raritanval.edu.

Raritan Valley also has signed an agreement with FirstEnergy to offer

a new associate of applied science degree with a focus in electric

utility technology starting in the fall. Graduates will be trained

to be electrical workers for FirstEnergy subsidiaries Jersey Central

Power & Light and Met-Ed.

Students enrolled in the program will complete 64 credits over a


period on the RVCC campus in North Branch and at a FirstEnergy


in Phillipsburg. A maximum of 25 students a year will be accepted

into the PSI program. For more information, call 440-604-9803.

Top Of Page
Corporate Angels Aid Women and Girls

Princeton Area Community Foundation Fund for Women and

Girls is granting $25,000 to four organizations, which represents

at 25 percent increase over last year. The fund supports programs

that work with girls to build character and self-esteem, hone special

talent, train for leadership, respect their bodies, stay in school,

and be proud of who they are and what they can do. The fund also


projects that help women be positive role models, advocates for


good mothers, transition from welfare to work, and adopt healthy


(609-688-0300, www.pacf.org).

The HiTOPS grant will support the expansion of the


Young Teens workshops to help mothers of young teen girls understand

the emotional and physical changes their daughters are undergoing,

to educate moms about teen sexuality; and for the Sexual Assault


Support Group.

The Medical Center at Princeton has a Respect Yourself

program, an eating disorders prevention education program targeted

to girls only, and taught in middle and high school health classes.

The Planned Parenthood of the Mercer Area monies will

go to the new Teens in the Know program of individual case management

for girls ages 12 to 18 who are at high risk of teen pregnancy,


transmitted disease, or poor lifestyle choices.

Monies to the YWCA Trenton will support the Latinas Unidas

program Entre Madres e Hijas (Between Mothers and Daughters), a


bilingual summer project to help Latina mothers and daughters (age

8 to 16).

Nearly 200 area women have made gifts totaling nearly $150,000,

and Bristol-Myers Squibb contributed $100,000.

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