Over the past few years, I've met many people who have given me good (and bad) examples of how to be (and not be) professional. I've also had the pleasure to read many books related to this subject (as well as etiquette in general). I remember a few months in particular during sophomore year at Stanford that were quite formative for me in this regard. Every single day during that period, I would eat lunch with my friends and then proceed alone to the Rare Books Collection in the library. I would don gloves and carefully read the University's only copy of The Courte of Civill Courtesie, a book written in the 16th century about etiquette. Here's its abstract for those who are curious and can decipher it:
"Fitly furnished with a pleasant porte of stately phrases and pithie precepts, assembled in the behalfe of all younge gentlemen and others that are desirous to frame their behaviour according to their estates at all times and in all companies, therby to purchase worthy prayse of their inferiours and estimation and credite amonge theyr betters."
Through this blog series, my aim is not really to educate or tell others how to behave, as I will forever consider myself a student in this regard. It is simply to vent about some frustrations I have when others are not professional and propose some methods and conventions that I adhere to and which hopefully others can adhere to a little bit more as well. I don't believe any of my thoughts along these lines are unique, but for those of my readers who don't have the time or interest to read 16th century literature or stacks of professionalism and self-help books, I hope I can distill some of the main lessons and strategies I've learned that I believe help me be more respectful and professional with everyone I encounter.
Here is a preview of some of the topics I will be covering. If anyone has suggestions or questions, I will be happy to respond to them in the comments.
- Punctuality and respect
- Email etiquette and techniques for effective and responsible communication
- Phone etiquette and politeness
- Networking etiquette and respectful curiosity
- Following up and doing what you promise
- Staying up to date and the art of consistency
- Being an expert and amateur at the same time
- Language, grammar, and why it matters
I leave you with some food for thought:
"Manners maketh man." --William of Wykeham (1324 - 1404)