Monthly Archives: February 2016

“Generation Connected” to Cause Quantum Shift in Workplace…Uptalk + Vocal Fry = Incompetence, Say Employers…Yes, Even Techies Need to Know How to Write

“Generation Connected” to Cause Quantum Shift in Workplace

Generation Connected—both millennials and their younger counterparts, Generation Z—will comprise a whopping 76 percent of workers by 2025, and their background with technology will result in major changes in the ways employers conduct business.

To recruit, attract, and keep these young workers, firms are adapting to Gen C’s needs. This includes creating online training programs to appeal to Gen C’s preferred learning style. Employers will also need to establish a workplace that promotes life-work balance and flexible schedules. Consequently, the traditional 9-5 schedule will likely disappear.

Perhaps the most important shift will be the emphasis on collaboration. Gen C prefers to learn from mentors and peers. Therefore, firms not already using a “flipped” style of training—whereby learners view instructional videos on their own time and then receive in-person practice—will need to update the way their workers learn.


Uptalk + Vocal Fry = Incompetence, Say Employers

FEB2016_shutterstock_126531230The speech mannerisms so common among young women today carry negative connotations to hirers, according to a recently study. Uptalk—raising the voice at the end of a sentence that is not a question—and vocal fry—forcing the voice to a lower pitch, causing a creak—carry stigmas.

Research published in the journal PLOS ONE found that women using uptalk were considered less competent than those who did not. However, use of the vocal style also resulted in women sounding more “likeable.” Women who did not use uptalk who instead sounded authoritative were considered “arrogant,” causing a can’t-win scenario.

The study also revealed that speakers with a standard American English accent were favored for jobs over those with non-native accents.

–From Talent Management

Yes, Even Techies Need to Know How to Write

Effective writing skills are critical for tech-related jobs, and not just for day-to-day communication. Unless grand ideas can be effectively communicated, they will not be funded, experts say.

Those entering science- or tech-related fields often consider writing a nonessential skill. However, successful leaders in tech-related fields know otherwise. They explain that many tech projects require collaboration between people often working in other locations, which demands clarity in daily communication.

In addition, large tech projects require an even greater degree of writing skill. These projects are often broken into chunks for various teams to work on. Clear documentation is therefore of utmost importance.

Even coders need to write coherently. “A well-written bug report saves everyone hours of time,” says the CEO of a popular gaming company.


Speaker Freakers and Stinky Food? Test Your Office Etiquette IQ

by Mary Ellen Guffey

[Instructors: Download this exercise as a Word document at the end of this post]

New communication platforms and casual workplace environments have blurred the lines of appropriateness, and you may be left wondering how to navigate uncharted waters. The workplace becomes stressful when you’re not sure what’s appropriate. Here are 15 questions with responses to test your workplace etiquette skills.

  1. At your office desk, it’s easier to take notes from telephone calls when both hands are free. To be most efficient, you should set your phone to speaker so that your hands are always free to make notes either manually or on your computer.

ANSWER: F     Explanation: Among the most offensive people in open offices are “speaker freakers,” those who take their calls with speaker on. This practice is especially disruptive in open offices or those with cubicles. If you must have your hands free, get a headset.

  1. Shana is your “go–to” person with all the answers, but she’s on vacation. You need to know some information that you’re sure Shana could give you–if you could just reach her. Since she has a smartphone connected to work e-mail, it’s perfectly acceptable to give her a quick phone call.

ANSWER: F     Explanation: Certainly not! Everyone deserves a vacation. Get your information elsewhere. It’s also considerate to avoid sending texts or e-mail requests that demand immediate responses after working hours. If at all possible, wait until regular work time to conduct your business unless you know your receiver works 24-7.

  1. You just returned to the office from a terrific lunch. Your spicy fish dish was tasty and enough for a second meal. Because everyone uses the office fridge to store food, it’s appropriate to put it there so that you can warm it up for tomorrow’s lunch.

ANSWER: F     Explanation: Don’t make instant enemies by storing smelly food in a communal refrigerator. And certainly don’t warm it up the next day in the office microwave. If you must store something smelly in the refrigerator, double wrap it and remove it as soon as possible. On the topic of office food, if you didn’t put food in the refrigerator, don’t eat it.

  1. You’re enjoying your weekend when you receive an e-mail from your boss asking for information. It’s not urgent, so the best plan is to respond early on Monday.

ANSWER: T     Explanation: Much depends on your relationship with your boss, but generally you can observe a common e-mail rule: Respond to e-mails within 24 hours. It’s reasonable to set boundaries on your free time. If you are a boss, by the way, don’t send demanding e-mails or texts to employees on weekends or after hours.

  1. In your office cubicle, you overhear Rick, who is two cubicles away, on the phone asking when the next management council meeting is scheduled. Because you know the date, you should shout it out so that Rick learns immediately the date of this critical meeting.

ANSWER: F     Explanation: First, don’t shout to anyone over the top of cubicles. Second, don’t eavesdrop on conversations. Third, never give advice to a coworker about information you overheard on a personal call. It’s difficult working in close surroundings, but try to observe others’ privacy and personal space.

  1. Your cell phone rings while you are at your desk. You see immediately that it’s a personal call. If you think it’s going to be a short call, you should answer.

ANSWER: F      Explanation: It’s not wise to take even short personal calls at work. Go outside instead.

  1. You’re late for a meeting. The best thing to do is text a message saying, “Hey, I’m running 20 minutes late.”

ANSWER: T      Explanation: Although it’s wise to warn co-workers by texting that you will be late, it’s even better to make sure you can be on time with proper planning.

  1. You have a job interview with a company that you think has a casual dress policy. Because you’re not sure how to dress, it’s appropriate for you to call the interviewer’s office or the organization’s personnel office to ask what is appropriate.

ANSWER: T     Explanation: If you would like to be sure about what to wear, do call the interviewer’s secretary or organization’s personnel office and ask. Don’t assume that the casual dress code is appropriate for a job interview.

  1. After an employment interview, it’s acceptable to send an e-mail thank-you message.

ANSWER: T     Explanation: Be sure to send a follow-up thank-you, and e-mail is acceptable. But if you want to make a better impression, send a more formal letter or note by U.S. mail. Don’t skip sending the message!

  1. You’re talking with a co-worker when you see an incoming text. To show your efficiency, you should answer it immediately.

ANSWER: F      Explanation: The person facing you should always take precedence over an incoming text.

  1. As you are talking on your cell, you can’t hear the other person very well. The best response is to speak more loudly so that you can be heard.

ANSWER: F      Explanation: Just because you can’t hear doesn’t mean the caller can’t hear you. Always refrain from bellowing.

  1. Because none of the cubicle offices have doors, it’s ridiculous to consider knocking before entering.

ANSWER: F     Explanation: Not only is it good manners to knock before entering, it’s even better to call or e-mail in advance to ask about a good time for your visit.

  1. You know that Max is out of the office, but you just had a brilliant idea to share with him. You should call and leave a voice-mail message so that he can hear it when he returns.

ANSWER: F     Explanation: No one likes voice-mail messages. If possible, wait until he returns to talk with him in person or on the phone.

  1. It’s considered poor manners to wear your headphones in workplace elevators or in hallways.

ANSWER: T     Explanation: Wearing headphones is like hanging a “Do Not Disturb” sign around your neck. In workplace elevators or hallways, take advantage of these situations to connect socially with coworkers.

  1. Office casual means you can be comfortable and wear your Saturday clothes to work.

ANSWER: F      Explanation: Even “office casual” has its boundaries. No bare midriffs, no sloppy jeans or sweatshirts, and no flip-flops. If you are striving for promotions, try to dress one or two notches above office casual.

Test Your Workplace Etiquette (Word document for download)

The Key to Success: Staying Motivated

[Instructors: Try discussing these tips for staying motivated with your new students at the beginning of the semester, during a mid-term lull, or even toward the end of the course to stoke students’ momentum.]

 “Today is the first day of your life.”

“Just do it.”

Clichés about staying motivated abound. But the simple fact is that learning how to push through difficulties to attain a goal is critical to anyone who wants to succeed. The following tips for staying motivated come from author and personal brand manager Chris Dessi.*

  1. Take a break. You can only perform at your peak level if you are rested. One way to know it’s time to give yourself a break is if you feel you cannot take time off. That’s when you need a break the most.
  2. Be tight lipped. Sure, set goals. But don’t share them with your network—positive feedback can backfire and actually inhibit your intentions. Share the good news after you have accomplished the goal.shutterstock_296462225_Feb 2016
  3. Define your legacy early. We all have a finite amount of time. Don’t allow yourself to be caught up in mindless activities. Everything you do, even when you are young, contributes to who you are and what you become. Make whatever you do count.
  4. Celebrate wins. No matter how inconsequential the positive moment, take time to build good habits and reward yourself for a job well done.
  5. Cut your to-do list in half. A list can be overwhelming if it is not doable. Completing a realistic set of tasks, even if more modest than originally planned, will be far more rewarding.
  6. Treat yourself kindly. Don’t compare yourself to those who have accomplished more than you. Know there will always be people ahead of you and concentrate on your own goals.
  7. Focus. Distractions are everywhere, but you don’t have to pay attention to them. Turn off the phone, disengage from social media, and get to work.
  8. Admit failures. Work through your feelings about defeats instead of keeping them inside and perhaps taking them out on the wrong person. By sharing your vulnerability, you will build deeper connections with peers. You will also find it easier to move on to the next more constructive item on your to-do list.

* Dessi, C. (2015, December 17). 10 simple ways to motivate yourself every day. Retrieved from