With social and digital media taking over so much of our lives it effects many things. Like professionalism, so it begs the question, How To Be Professional In the Digital Age? I know for me, as a business owner and straddling the world of fashion and business is tricky. While doing the day to day in the fashion world, it’s very old school. Many of my vendors don’t even have instagram accounts, email and one doesn’t even have a computer. It’s very old school and traditional, and your word still means something in this world; albeit dying quickly.
In contrast the business people I meet are super into technology, on top of everything and never miss a beat. They’re adding you to their mailing list before you ever leave their sight, and following up for coffee dates an hour later. So which is right if either and how is someone professional in any situation?
While the digital age may have definitely changed the way we do business, at it’s core the soft skills are still the same. Here are a few that you can never go wrong if you follow them.
Be it being on time, or replying to messages/emails/texts in a timely fashion, it’s good manners. In my line of work with things moving so quickly, replying late to a message often means a missed opportunity. Missed opportunities mean missing out on exposure or money in most instances. Both of which are not ideal. So reply back, show up and be on time.
It sounds crazy that this is even listed, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met business people with piss poor manners calling themselves “business people”. In this digital age where we connect more on line instead of irl, it’s even more important to have simple pleasantries mastered so you stand out. I’ve gotten opportunities solely based on my manners and politeness. This applies to how you react to situations, how you work with people in those situations, and how you end situations.
Works Well With Others
We’e all had that class mate or colleague that was just awful to work with. They didn’t pull their weight, didn’t know anything, were lazy, or sloppy and was just awful to work with. Don’t be that poor sap. Think about how much you probably complained to your friends off line on how horrible it was to work with this person and how you couldn’t wait to be done with the project. It does nothing to your reputation when you are this person. Further more, it does nothing for your reputation when you complain about this person. Take it all on the chin, do your part and trust me when I say the people that matter already know your partner sucks, no need to lack class about the situation.
Leave Politics at Home
It’s a volatile time in our society right now. I have tons of opinions on all sorts of things. Talking to a prospective client or investor about my opinion isn’t the time nor the place to express those comments. There are exceptions to this, and you’ll have to use your best judgement to know when to say something and when not to. But as a general rule, err on the side of caution and leave the political talk at home. I was raised not to discuss money, religion, or politics with strangers. Like I said, I don’t always follow that rule, but I do have discretion.
Put Your Phone Away
It sounds like common sense, but we know that common sense, isn’t common. If someone is talking to you, give them your attention and put the phone away. At a lunch or dinner meeting, put your phone away. If you have to take a call or message, excuse yourself, get up and handle your business. Return to the situation in a timely fashion, and apologize again for having to disrupt the meeting. It’s just rude to ignore the person in front of you. Without saying it, you’re telling them that they’re not worth your time-even if that’s not what you want to convey.
Don’t be that girl. Put your phone away.
There are many more things that can bring old school professionalism to a digital situation and they will be welcomed. At the end of the day, just remember these soft skills are so heavily desired by most companies and people, and they do pay for them and hire because of it, mostly because so many people don’t have them anymore.
How do you show professionalism? Comment below or follow the conversation on the gram @tiesidesandscoops or on Twitter @nichyl
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