Polish and User Experience up their value
Fresh into the job market? New-hires from graduate school? It doesn’t matter where they’ve entered the workforce.
Face it. Young professionals carry with them a new set of skills. They are resilient and know how to access information in more ways than ever before. The information generation learns and works in ways that many seasoned professionals have heard about — but don’t really have an in-depth understanding.
When working with senior colleagues, there are gaps. Professionals from all walks have been around and know the ins and outs of dealing with people. There are nuances in dealing with clients and important people. These are not always apparent. We can learn them.
I’m talking about etiquette and manners.
They do not teach professional etiquette in business schools during the modern age. We can no longer assume students and up-and-coming generations are learning these skills at home.
Times have changed. The once-coveted social manners and etiquette are no longer taught universally. Why? The traditional nuclear family is fading from our landscape.
Mothers are working full-time jobs (at the least), while the fathers are out of the picture or working too. Once upon a time, there were tea parties and mothers teaching their little girls how to have a prim and proper tea party. They played and exercised these manners while interacting with their own friends.
Mothers used to reinforce societal expectations and normal behavior to their sons. Fathers were also role models and set the standard for how men were supposed to act.
I had forgotten how much these were universal truths (mostly) until watching an episode of Leave It To Beaver the other day. Both parents worked to teach manners and etiquette to their children. They set the example.
Times have changed. We must change with them.
All is not lost
You can learn these skills. It takes reading, practice, and patience — but it can be done! I have forgotten many of the manners once beat into my being by well-meaning parents and my grandparents.
I discovered there are books on dining. Books on manners and etiquette are also available online and in libraries.
Dinners are the easiest:
- Don’t talk with your mouth full.
- Keep your elbows off the table.
- Place your napkin on your lap.
- Sit up straight while eating. Your plate is not a pig trough.
- Chew your food.
- Don’t slurp your soup.
- Keep your hands off your face.
That’s a good start. There are many others. If you’re dealing with multiple dishes and more than a fork and spoon, just start with the silverware (cutlery) on the outside and work your way in.
The major problem I see these days? People do not know how to dress for work. They’ve lived in school for too long and could dress for comfort.
Companies have an image. They want to convey this image to their clients and customers. It is an image of competence, professionalism, and dependability.
We can’t make a user experience fit the corporate persona when our professionals are wearing jeans and sneakers. It does not matter if the jeans are designer brands and the shoes are in-style.
When you go to a doctor, you expect a clean white lab coat worn with dress pants, a dress shirt, and tie. If you see a pair of khaki’s and a golf shirt under a lab coat — you expect to be dealing with a physical therapist of some sort.
When you visit your bank to see a banker or your brokerage to check on your stocks or other investments, you expect to see someone in a suit. How would you feel if you wanted to invest $1000 in a company’s stock and went to a stockbroker who was wearing shorts and sandals? They do not really instill confidence in their abilities. They would not appear to be taking their job seriously. Even if it was not the case, first impressions count.
Do not try and dress trendy unless your business is fashion. Dress conservative with classic themes.