ICYMI: Popular posts from NCRA social media

NCRA’s social media channels are a great way to stay on top of Association and industry news, but the social media team also tries to share interesting and entertaining posts from around the internet that will help reporters, captioners, and videographers do their jobs better, provide interesting information, or are just plain fun. ICYMI (in case you missed it), below are a few highlights of popular posts on NCRA social media over the past month.

Facebook

Even if you’re not in the courtroom or depositions, every reporter and captioner has a story of trying to figure out what the heck a speaker was trying to say. The ABA Journal, for the American Bar Association, fortunately, has recognized that some words are tough to pronounce and shared this quiz. Bryan A. Garner is the editor-in-chief of Black’s Law Dictionary (so he knows a thing or two about pronunciation) and the author of The Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation.

Twitter

Lots of court reporters are notaries, sometimes because their state requires them to be. Lots of court reporters need to swear in someone. Enter this article by the National Notary Association. It describes ways to respect individual beliefs and choices, take the procedure seriously, and use appropriate ceremonial gestures while taking an oath or affirmation.

LinkedIn

More than two-thirds of the members who answered the JCR Weekly poll “How far would you travel for a job?” said they’d at least stay somewhere overnight. But traveling, even for business, can make it tough to keep up with work. This article by Inc., written by Delta Air Lines, offered some tips on how to turn all that downtime at the airport into productive time.

Instagram

Instagram is NCRA’s newest endeavor on social media, and we’re still learning what our members want to see most. (Got some suggestions? Let us know!) But members loved this mini profile of Sarah Gadd. Maybe it’s because she looks ready to take on the (steno) world! Followers had plenty of encouragement for Sarah, such as Instagrammer vesnacsr, who said: “I knew you’d be a star when I first met you.” This profile came from a longer new professional spotlight on TheJCR.com.

Cross platform

Sometime social media itself provides a little inspiration, such as the trending hashtag #ReadABookDay. This post was popular on multiple NCRA channels (I spy one of the Bryan Garner books mentioned earlier in this article!), and members shared a few of the books they’re currently reading, including:

  • Our Iceburg is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions by John Kotter (shared by @tjkaiser23 on Twitter)
  • Everything I never told you by Celeste Ng (shared by Judy Walsh on Facebook)
  • Court Reporting: Bad Grammar/Good Punctuation by Margie Wakeman Wells (shared by Ruth Haskins on Facebook)
  • A Time to Kill by John Grisham (shared by Deborah Forbeck on LinkedIn)

Best share


Social media is at its best when it gives people an opportunity to connect and share. Micheal Johnson, RDR, CRR, posted about a compliment he’d received on the job, Doris O. Wong Associates, Inc., shared it to their Facebook timeline, and we found it and shared it with ours, asking members to “‘Like’ if you’ve gotten a compliment for the service you provide” … and dozens of you did!

Follow the NCRA Convention & Expo online

Photo by Jason Howie

Photo by Jason Howie

Whether you are on-site or holding down the home front during the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo, Aug. 10-13 in Las Vegas, Nev., be sure to follow along with all that’s happening at special sessions, networking events, the Expo floor, and more by checking in with the JCR.com, Facebook, Twitter, and – new this year – Instagram.

For those attending the Convention, the official app will also keep them up-to-date on the latest happenings. The app is available in the Apple app store and on Google Play. NCRA is also making its Snapchat debut with a special Convention filter, available on-site in the Convention hall from the Opening Reception through Sunday sessions.

Throughout the Convention, NCRA will be posting updates on the JCR.com as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using #NCRA17. Follow along for important information for attendees as well as breaking news for members who are keeping up with the action from home. Everyone is encouraged to join the conversation and share this year’s convention magic.

South Suburban College’s court reporting program creates new Facebook page

The court reporting program at JCR logoSouth Suburban College, South Holland, Ill., has created an official Facebook page to share students’ success, school events, and anything else relevant to the field. Students can now share their success with their friends and families with the click of a button. South Suburban College decided to switch from a periodic newsletter to a Facebook page to celebrate students’ achievements when they happen.

Visit South Suburban College — Court Reporting Program’s Facebook page.

Testing where and when you want cited as a huge benefit of online testing

testing-tips-lightbulbThe many benefits of NCRA’s online testing program include a user-friendly and secure system, more testing opportunities annually, faster results, and greater affordability. However, users of the system continue to report that the freedom and convenience of being able to test in a location of their choosing, including at home or in the office, continues to rank as one of the biggest factors for success.

The program, which is a partnership between NCRA, Realtime Coach, and ProctorU, was launched in August 2015 and offers online skills testing platforms for candidates of the RPR, RMR, CRR, and CRC certifications. Since then, more than 2,300 tests have been taken online.

“This was my first online testing experience, and I was able to pass the last leg of the RPR that I needed to become certified, so I’d say it was a pretty great experience. I like the online testing much better than having to go to a brick-and-mortar testing site. I did not like having to wake up very early in the morning to make it to the testing site and having to bring all of my equipment. Less anxiety testing from home in that regard,” said Christina E. Sarisky, RPR, a freelance reporter from Rutherford, N.J.

Brittany Blesener, RPR, an official court reporter from Chaska, Minn., agrees that the best benefit to online testing is “taking it at your own time, one leg at a time, instead of having a set date.”

First-time online test-taker Megan Orris, RPR, an official court reporter from Middleburg, Penn., said she personally likes the online testing for the skills portion of certification because it makes things go quickly and, rather than the six to eight weeks it takes to receive official results from a brick-and-mortar site, online official results are emailed within three to seven days.

“I think people can get nervous over having to wait a period of time to know whether they passed or failed a test,” she noted.

For candidates preparing to take any of the NCRA online skills tests, veteran test-takers and Marybeth Everhart, RPR, CRI, CPE, national marketing manager for Realtime Coach, agree that practicing is also an important factor for ensuring success.

NCRA recently made available on its YouTube channel a series of nine online testing instructional videos created by Realtime Coach that cover the entire process from a basic orientation to scheduling the actual test. The short videos were designed to provide candidates with an easy-to-use resource for prepping.

“Online testing instructional videos were created, so candidates can quickly and easily refresh their recollection of a step or two of the testing process, or replay a step multiple times if needed,” said Everhart. ”With testing instructions now available in print and video formats, candidates can select the format that best suits their needs.”

Additional security measures required by the online system include candidates signing a mandatory confidentiality form that indicates that the subject and words of the test will not be disclosed to other candidates and proctors that are connected to candidates in real time, with live audio and video connections that include a view and live feed of the candidate’s monitor through screen-sharing technology. Candidates are also required to use an external webcam to show that their workspace is secure by giving a 360-degree pan of the entire room and desk or workspace.

Under the online system, NCRA allows candidates to take up to three skills test attempts in each quarter. For information visit NCRA’s online skills testing page.

Seattle court reporting firm celebrates online reputation

jcr-publications_high-resNaegeli Deposition and Trial, a court reporting firm headquartered in Portland, Ore., announced in a Nov. 15 press release that the company has received a number of high reviews on Google Plus for its Seattle location.

Read more.

Reddit thread sheds light on learning steno

JCR publications share buttonA blog post by NCRA member Todd Olivas entitled “How does a court reporter type so fast?” prompted a TIL (things I learned) thread on Reddit about court reporting in May 2016. A court reporting student with the username “lifeuh_findsaway” also joined the conversation to share an insider’s look into the world of court reporting.

Read more.

Managing your online reputation in an increasingly social world

By April Weiner

Sponsored by NCRF’s Corrinne Clark Professionalism Institute

online reputationIt’s hard to imagine a time before social media had such a strong presence in our lives. It’s become commonplace to share almost everything on social media — images of food, momentary insights, and weekend plans. But it is important to consider how social media influences professional image.

According to a PEW Research Center poll, 74 percent of Internet users use at least one social networking site. This means users range from personal friends, to family, to instructors, to hiring managers. Students can bet that anything they or their friends ever post can be seen by all of these people at any point in time. By the time that students graduate and are looking for work, they may have forgotten what they posted that first year in school, but rest assured that the Internet did not.

Avoiding social media, however, is not a good strategy either. The trick is to manage the risks and cultivate a professional image. Used properly, social media has professional benefits for students as well.

“Social media has allowed some graduates the opportunity to easily network with employers in different states and then, ultimately, relocate to another state,” said Nicky Rodriquez, the director of admission at College of Court Reporting in Hobart, Ind. “Some of those opportunities may not have come about without social media.”

Kensie Benoit, an official in Groves, Texas, found the ability to network with employers to be valuable when she was job hunting.

“I tried out for four officialships before [my current position],” said Benoit. “All of them were referrals from people I had only known online. I put the word out there that I was looking for an officialship, and people starting tagging me in all sorts of job postings online.”

Another benefit of using social media professionally is access to online groups of like-minded professionals, which offer both the opportunity for skill building and camaraderie.

“I’m able to help new reporters when they have job-related questions and also debate some issues affecting reporters/captioners in general,” said Laura Fowler, RPR, CRR, CRC, a firm owner from Modesto, Calif. “It’s a great way to keep up on our profession. It’s awesome when I or someone else needs help with anything and all we have to do is post the question and everyone responds quickly with great answers.”

“It is our lifeline to the world,” said Jennifer Bonfilio, RMR, CRR, CRC, a captioner from Delray Beach, Fla. “It baffles me how captioners were able to do their jobs before the Internet, not only from a research perspective but on human interaction perspective.”

“The field has shifted so that our professionals now mostly work from their homes, with few, if any, interactions in an office setting,” said Karen Yates, RPR, CRR, CRC, a CART captioner from Minden, Nev. “Social media now fills the role of a virtual break room. We vent our frustrations, get advice, seek recommendations on software and hardware.” Yates also pointed out that online forums give professionals an opportunity to connect with people they would not be able to meet face to face.

The value of social media groups is not limited only to working professionals; joining these groups as a student can provide a bit of a leg up while learning about court reporting and captioning.

“[I] vet questions from working reporters on scenarios that I know I will one day face myself,” said Katherine Schilling, a court reporting student at West Valley College in Saratoga, Calif. “I like to think that I can avoid making some mistakes when I start working by learning from those who have already gone through it.”

There are so many benefits of using social media, but the key is being cautious with profiles and posts. Keep the “Ps” in mind:

Pause before you post

Sometimes, simply taking a few seconds to reconsider a post is enough to maintain a professional appearance. “Assume anything and everything will be seen by anyone and everyone,” said Bonfilio. “If you wouldn’t say or do it in front of your grandmother, employer, child, police officer, or competitor, then don’t post it online. Once it’s out there, you can’t take it back.”

A few moments of reflection is especially important for students who are making connections with potential employers. “Put [yourself] in the employers’ shoes before commenting, liking, or sharing on social media,” said Natalie Kijurna, coordinator of graduate and employer relations at College of Court Reporting in Hobart, Ind. “Would you hire someone who liked the comment, ‘The last 12 minutes in the restroom were the most productive part of my work day’? Probably not.”

Students who are interested in captioning, especially, should consider the accessibility of their content. “I think it’s a huge disrespect to clients to post and retweet videos and media without captions,” said Mirabai Knight, RDR, CRR, CRC, a CART captioner from New York, N.Y.

Proofread

Despite the popularity of text-speak online, court reporters and captioners should make sure to use more proper English in their posts.

“I know of individuals that were not given jobs based solely off of their punctuation and grammar online,” said Benoit. “As petty as that may sound, would we hire a scopist or proofreader that didn’t have good punctuation or grammar? No.”

Positivity

It’s obvious from any comments section online – people can be unkind on the Internet. “It still astounds me when I see inappropriate or just nasty posts online,” said Schilling. “Some students think that the screen protects them from the consequences of their actions online, which will only result in a rude awakening down the line.”

However, part of being a professional involves responding to others politely and compassionately. “A lot of people ask for help and people criticize them for that,” said Angie Starbuck, RDR, CRR, CRC, a freelancer reporter in Columbus, Ohio. “We should help them out, not tear them down.” After all, everyone needs help sometime — a student who has already presented themselves as a professional will more likely be treated as one by others.

Provocativeness

Even though many profiles are created for personal reasons, developing a more professional profile often means avoiding certain kinds of content. “Students should stay away from negative commentary about current or former employers, politics, religion, or anything that could potentially reflect poorly on your character,” Kijurna said.

Each professional will need to determine where they draw the line on provocative content based on their priorities, comfort level, or even their position. Yates, for example, was careful with the type of language she would permit on her page not just from herself but from her contacts. “When I was on NCRA’s board, I didn’t permit anything with profanity on my Facebook page,” Yates said. Yates was also concerned about being too associated with extreme religious or political views while she was such a public figure within the association. “I unfriended some family members and friends who posted very religious or political content. I would not permit anyone to tag me in a photo unless I could see it and okay it first.”

Be aware of the message your pictures send as well. “Pictures say 1,000 words and can be someone’s first impression,” Starbuck said. “Unfortunately, it’s hard to recover from a bad first impression.”

Permanency

It is possible that posts from one, two, five, or ten years ago are still accessible online. Review old content to make sure potential employers will not come across anything embarrassing. “Whether you’re looking for a job now or two years from now, you never know who’s going to come across it,” Starbuck said.

“Don’t get caught thinking you can permanently delete a post,” Rodriquez said. It is possible that the post had been captured in a screenshot prior to the user deleting it.

Privacy is an illusion

Facebook has a variety of privacy settings, and it is a good idea to learn how to use them, but nothing on social media is truly private.

“Remember, when you post something, even though you are posting it for your [online] friends’ viewing, it is entirely possible that your audience is much wider than you anticipated,” said Bonfilio.

Rodriquez adds that this is true even in closed, private groups. Anyone in the group can see posts or can screenshot a post and share it with an outside audience. Knight also points out that groups that are primarily for court reporters or captioners may have a wider membership. “I know a lot of deaf and hard of hearing people will join closed groups because they want to follow the profession,” said Knight.

Plurality

Some people may find that the easiest solution is keeping personal and professional lives separate. “Consider setting up a separate identity that is strictly for work-related interactions, and carefully segregate your personal online presence,” Yates said.

Bonfilio agrees. “It’s a good idea to have one account that’s just for business (or just for personal stuff),” she said. “If you do mix the two, take the time to configure the security settings so your personal posts are only seen by your family and friends.”

Probe into the past

It’s a good idea for student to audit their online presence a couple times of year by conducting a Google search of themselves (especially when done from a computer they don’t use). This allows students to know what’s out there with their name on it and take steps to remove or hide unwanted content when possible.

“This semester, I started to fill my YouTube channel with video tutorials on Eclipse features for students,” Schilling said. “I’d forgotten about a video I’d made years ago that was unrelated … and didn’t show me in the best light.” Schilling has since been more conscious of her online content.

Personality

”You can’t take yourself too flippantly online. Even if you create something intended for one audience, you can’t always control who will see it,” said Schilling. However, despite the fact that it might seem like there are a lot of rules to follow, remember to have fun and show a little personality behind that professional demeanor.

“There’s a fine line between being professional and a corporate shell,” Knight said. “You’re not going to build lasting relationships if you’re only thinking about driving business.”

April Weiner is the Foundation Assistant for the National Court Reporters Foundation. She can be reached at aweiner@ncra.org.

What is NCRF’s Corrinne Clark Professionalism Institute?

In 2015, the National Court Reporters Foundation established the Corrinne Clark Professionalism Institute, which is dedicated to aiding the education of court reporting students and new professionals about professionalism, branding, and building a successful career. Named for the late Corrinne Clark — wife of the late Robert H. Clark, NCRA’s longest tenured librarian-historian — the Institute was made possible by a generous donation contributed by Donna Hamer, Santa Paula, Calif., Robert’s cousin. In addition, Hamer also made a generous donation to the Foundation to support a scholarship in honor of Robert. The scholarship will be awarded in the amount of $1,800 annually through 2019 to an eligible court reporting student. The first scholarship was awarded by NCRF in October 2015.

 

Facebook will start automatically captioning video ads

According to an article posted Feb. 10, by Advertising Age, Facebook plans to begin automatically putting captions in video ads running in its news feed, which play automatically with the sound off by default. Facebook will roll out the automatic video ad captioning first in the U.S. and Canada for ads in English.

Read more.

Thirty ways to give back to the profession

10 ways Infographic_logo_2015Giving back to the profession does not require a significant investment of time or money. You might pen a simple post to your Facebook page telling the world what you love about your job or make a short presentation at your child’s school on career day. Take the opportunity where it presents itself. A friendly chat with a neighbor over the backyard fence or at a cocktail party could showcase our unique profession and perhaps become a life-altering encounter for a man or woman whose curiosity you’ve piqued.

Here are thirty ways that anyone can do to give back to the profession. Acting on just one or two is bound to create a lasting impression that will benefit our profession and all of us in it.

  1. Tell someone new what you do for a living. Be enthusiastic! Court reporters, captioners, and legal videographers do interesting stuff. It’s great cocktail party conversation.
  2. Point out the TV captions in a public place, say at your gym, a bar, a hotel lobby. Ask your friends, do you know how those captions get there? They won’t know – but they’ll be curious to find out!
  3. Write to your city council or town government, thanking them for having transcripts of public meetings. (And if they don’t provide that public service, ask them why not.)
  4. Tell the attorney you’re working with why a court reporter’s impartiality matters. It’s part of what makes us special.
  5. While you’re at it, tell the nice attorney how realtime services can help him or her.
  6. Sponsor a student member in your state or national association.
  7. Give a Career Day presentation at your local high school. Bring your steno machine and write to an iPad.
  8. Mentor a court reporting student.
  9. Offer to talk to a court reporting class about what life after school looks like. Give them good advice. Alert them to some just-out-of-school pitfalls to avoid. Be encouraging.
  10. Thank your Congressional representatives for supporting legislation that supports realtime, court reporting, and captioning.
  11. Talk to a class of law school students about the nuts and bolts of making the record. (Nobody else is going to tell them!) NCRF has materials to help you with this outreach.
  12. Thank the attorneys for hiring you, a certified court reporter, and tell them why certification matters, for court reporters as well as legal videographers. Certified means professional.
  13. Team up with a court reporter friend or two and put together a short primer of do’s and don’ts of making the record. Your local bar association will be grateful to you for the educational opportunity. Maybe your favorite law firm would like you to come in and address their young associates. Get bonus points for offering CLEs!
  14. Transcribe an interview with a veteran for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. You can earn PDCs. And it is a very satisfying thing to do.
  15. Host a Veterans History Project event for veterans in your area. Do it at a court reporting firm or court reporting school. Get your community involved! People like to honor our veterans.
  16. Get involved with students on the NCRA Student Facebook page or other student networking sites. They’ll love it! An excellent way to motivate students.
  17. Sponsor a student’s attendance at an NCRA event.
  18. Write an article for the local ABA newsletter about what to look for in a court reporter. Or write a letter to a local community organization about the importance of accessibility for all citizens, especially our fellow citizens who are deaf and hard of hearing.
  19. Pass along your experience. Write an article for your state association newsletter or the JCR about a valuable lesson learned. Your readers will appreciate the heads up.
  20. Volunteer your services (or find volunteers) for your neighbors who are deaf or hard of hearing. They might love to have CART for church or local meetings.
  21. Volunteer for a state association or NCRA committee. A great way to meet people!
  22. Attend a TRAIN event, upgrade your realtime skills — and then help others do the same.
  23. Share your expertise with your peers; put on a seminar at a court reporting event. Sound scary? Okay, sign up to learn something new yourself!
  24. Send NCRA membership forms to court reporters you know who are not members, and tell them why they should be. Size matters. There’s power in numbers!
  25. Send a testimonial (written or video) to NCRA to support NCRA’s efforts to inform people about the benefits of court reporting as a career.
  26. Write an op-ed for your local newspaper advocating for the use of stenographic court reporters in the courts; explain the value of captioning at community events.
  27. Become involved with your state CSR board. They need your expertise. And you’ll be surprised how much you will learn!
  28. Pay it forward. Remember to thank the people who’ve helped you along the way.
  29. Donate to the National Court Reporters Foundation, which will put your money to good use.
  30. Social media — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn — are great venues to tell people what you love about your job. No need to vent about rush transcripts and fast-talking lawyers. Create some positive buzz! Celebrate your profession, your career, the unique job you do where you are the expert. Be proud of your role as a court reporter, legal videographer, captioner, or CART provider. You are part of a long and proud history of service to the bench, the bar, and the public at large.

Tapping into the network

Networking at an eventNetworking can be intimidating, and for some people, it can be easier to think of it in terms of joining the conversation. Luckily, everyone already has a network at their disposal; the trick is to take advantage of that network.

Shy people may find it easier to talk to established friends at professional and social events, and those friends and colleagues can often be the best method of expanding your own network. “Oftentimes when I’m with colleagues and friends, I get to meet their acquaintances,” said Linda Fifield, a firm owner from Boston, Mass. “If I find we’re of like minds, I often ask for a business card.” One of the added benefits to networking among mutual acquaintances is that a friend or colleague can provide some background information. “It’s also important to ask my colleagues what they know about this person and if they’re reputable,” said Fifield. “Just because someone knows someone does not make them a good business partner.”

Since so much networking now happens online, it’s also important to have an established online presence. This can take many forms – Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all commonly used social media platforms for professional reasons. Keeping a regular blog can also function as a networking tool.

Chase Frazier, RPR, CRR, a CART captioner from Murietta, Calif., and Mirabai Knight, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, a CART captioner from New York, N.Y., both use Twitter to share when they are providing CART for an event using the event’s official hashtag. Knight also added: “I started out using Twitter 100 percent for business, but over the years it’s gotten to be about 60 percent personal, 40 percent business. I follow plenty of non-steno people, but I mostly post things relating to steno, captioning, and accessibility. I occasionally try to mix it up and post a few personal things now and then, though, just so I don’t bore all my followers to tears.”

Most platforms suggest potential connections based on mutual friends. Consider asking one of those mutual friends to introduce you electronically or if it’s okay to name them as a mutual acquaintance when reaching out. When on the receiving end of a request, it’s a good idea to still use a filter system to build a strong network. “I have a mental rule that a friend request needs to have at least ten mutual friends before I accept it, if I don’t know them personally,” said Frazier.

Once you’ve cultivated an online network, social media can be a good place to do a bit of self-promotion. Self-promotion can also come in the form of showing others that there’s a real person behind that steno machine. “I post bigger accomplishments in the Facebook groups, such as what certifications I passed,” said Frazier. “And on my wall I post little accomplishments or general posts about my job that will make people laugh or at least smile.” It’s also good to keep in mind that good social media etiquette recommends helping to promote others as well as yourself. Feel free to share and celebrate your colleagues’ accomplishments as well.

Knight has also found success using a blog as a networking tool. She shares new blog posts on social media, which gets her some viewership. “But it’s also really useful to have articles on my blog that I can link to specifically, either when making a case to clients or to colleagues,” she added. “So if we’re having a conversation via email or Twitter and something comes up that I’ve already written a post on, I can link it directly and not have to rewrite everything from scratch each time.” If you’re interested in starting a blog but not sure what to write, think about past conversations you’ve had with colleagues and write about those topics. Others have used blogs to write about a specific experience or goal. Find other blogs you admire and see what kind of content they share as inspiration.

Despite all the interacting that happens online nowadays, the human connection is still important, and opportunities to expand a network can appear in even the most mundane places. “I take the commuter rail to work,” said Fifield. “It’s amazing how many people I meet on a day-to-day basis. Oftentimes people ask me what I do. It’s not unusual to meet someone who needs a court reporter or knows someone who could use our services.” Don’t forget – court reporting and captioning are interesting fields! Take advantage of having a unique job as a conversation starter.

Finally, the next time you are at a conference or other networking event, make a point to introduce yourself in person to people who you’ve interacted with through email or online. “If I bump into someone with whom I’ve networked with in the past,” said Fifield, “I thank them for the referral and/or thank them for taking care of my client. That way, they can put a face to our agency.”