Agricultural Communications, Purdue University
An electronic newsletter with communication tips and information


September 1999


Getting Quoted, the Right Way

Many of us have felt doubt or even panic after we've completed a telephone interview. What if I'm misquoted? What if I didn't say the right things? What will my colleagues say?

Here are several tips to help your next telephone interview go more smoothly.

These suggestions don't guarantee success, but they should improve how you are quoted--and I hope they ease your jitters.


Judging Photos & Videos: Part 2--Creative Criteria

When I have to judge a photo or a video project, after examining it for technical quality, I look for the spark behind the entry--the creativity. Creativity can be technical, or it can be the product of an active imagination.

When it comes to evaluating a photograph, I check to see if the photographer has taken a different look at the subject matter. If it's a photo of a person, I check to see if the photographer has captured the essence of the person.

Did the photographer take the path of least resistance by just standing in front of the subject and snapping the photo? Or did the photographer take a moment and place the subject against an appropriate background, decide that shooting the subject from below would be best, or take the shot from an angle instead of straight on?

Props can also enhance a photo. If the subject is a specialist in his or her field, including an item that reflects the person's expertise somewhere within the frame of the image is a good idea.

With video projects, I look for some of the same things that make a good photo--and more. People making videos have music, camera movement, sound effects, graphics, animation, and editing at their disposal. Simply pointing a camcorder and telling someone to talk isn't creative.

Some of the same things I discussed above work for video. Using interesting camera angles, moving the camera with the use of a wheeled device like a grocery cart, or selecting interesting locations can greatly enhance the look of a video. Music and sound effects can also make a video more creative. Carefully selected and edited music can make a lackluster video stand out.

Notice my "carefully selected," above. This brings me to the most important aspect of creativity in photos and videos: planning.

Make your creative decisions before you start shooting. You can't rely on luck. Too many creative "last minute" choices can look sloppy rather than inspired. And throwing the kitchen sink at your audience can become distracting and sometimes even annoying. So carefully choose when to use a creative camera angle or sound effect.

Want to make your photo or video shine? Simply open your mind--and take the time to plan.


Presentations to Go

Just before Nancy Scott, 4-H/Youth Educator in Marion County, headed out of town to make a presentation, she called with a few questions. She wanted to know the proper use of 1) our name, 2) our logo, and 3) our new marketing concept.

The answers for Extension are these.

  1. When you're making a PowerPoint or overhead presentation, we suggest you use the short version of our name, "Purdue Extension."

  2. We suggest you use it with the Griffin, our logo. As Purdue's seal, the Griffin is an important part of our brand identity. Make sure you appropriately line up the Griffin. (That is, make sure the Griffin's head and top wing feather align horizontally.)

  3. You can place "Knowledge to Go," our new marketing concept, anywhere on the slide that looks appropriate. But, when possible, stack it over or under "Purdue Extension."

As a reminder, here are some of the style guidelines for "Knowledge to Go" from the June issue of "On Target."

Back to Nancy's call.

During the course of our conversation, I reminded Nancy that she could use the predesigned "Knowledge to Go" PowerPoint template I've been sending to Extension staff upon request. Usually I send the template on a disk via U.S. mail. But because Nancy receives her email on a Windows system, I simply sent her the template as an attachment. She was in business by that afternoon.

Now that's a presentation with "Knowledge to Go."


Grammar Trap: Uninterested vs. Disinterested

Hmm. These two words look like they might mean the same thing. But they don't.

"Uninterested" means to be indifferent to or have little or no interest in a particular subject or issue. (Think "bored.")

Example: I found that many of my composition students were uninterested in grammar.

"Disinterested" means to be impartial about a particular subject or issue, to have no personal stake in it.

Example: We need someone who is disinterested to help us settle our disagreement.

If there's a grammar (or usage) trap you'd like me to discuss, or if you have a tip that will help the rest of us avoid one, please let me know.

I've never meant that request more than I do now, folks. After three years of monthly "Grammar Traps," my well is running dry. If you have a grammar or usage question--especially one that lends itself to the "vs." treatment--I'd love to hear from you.


We want to hear from you.
Do you have a communication question?
Do you have a comment on this issue of "On Target"?
If so, please e-mail any of our writers or On Target's managing editor, Kevin Smith.

It is the policy of the Department of Agricultural Communication Service of Purdue University
that all persons shall have equal opportunity and access to its programs and facilities
without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age or disability.
Purdue University is an Affirmative Action employer.
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