This week we looked at the basic rules of studio etiquette giving us the opportunity to learn from others mistakes.
Some of the basic guidelines of how to operate within a studio environment were:
- Be pleasant and enthusiastic– This is not always easy so it is important to put in a conscious effort to stay upbeat and contribute where possible.
- Be on time– I personally feel that being early is always best when possible particularly as find morning hours to be the most productive.
- Dress appropriately– This will vary between studios however smart casual is usually a safe bet!
- Use headphones for music- Make sure the volume is low enough that you can still hear what’s going on around you.
- Don’t Gossip- Try not to get too casual or caught up in other people grievances
- Keep areas clean (and help out)- I think this is a really great thing to do, probably because I’m quite tidy and I notice when other’s help out in this way. A willingness to help out with tasks like these is a very clear overall demonstration of a good attitude.
- Don’t bring smelly food into work– Just be mindful.
- Offer tea/ coffee if you drink it
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions– Even dumb ones.
- Remember your colleagues are just people too
- File your work- This is so important as I may need to go back and find something after a project has been completed and I don’t want to not be able to find it. It is also important if anyone else in the company needs to find something you are working on.
- Respect your co-workers’ space- Ask before you borrow something and make an effort to greet and chat to people when appropriate.
- No two places are alike- Adapt and contribute.
I believe that following these guidelines is so important to helping employees at any stage settle into a work environment. It is basic principles such as the above that accumulate to make a great company culture.
This week we also covered some of the protocols of meetings with clients or third parties. These were as follows:
- Great them at the door.
- Introduce yourself.
- Offer tea and coffee (once they’ve been brought to the meeting room, have been given their tea/coffee and the person who they’re waiting for knows they’re there, it’s ok to leave)
- If attending the meeting be sure to pay attention and even take notes.
When attending meetings in general do the following:
- Be on time
- Come prepared (with a pen and paper, presentation, design materials etc.)
- Take notes so you don’t forget visit information.
- Be mindful of your body language. It is important to outwardly display your engagement in the conversations/ presentation taking place.
- Don’t zone out. Focus at all times
- Don’t be afraid to contribute an idea however be careful not to talk over people.
- Be natural but also professional and professional.
It is helpful to note that meetings generally start with some small talk so it can be useful to have a couple of anecdotes in mind.
Meetings are a great way to work through complex problems or to cover a lot of ground. They’re also a good way and get to know people.
While meetings can be a bit nerve-racking it’s important to work to overcome these nerves. A great quote was included in this weeks lecture by Henry Ford
“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t – you are right.”
I thought this was a great way to look at any task or element of your job that you’re unsure of. There’s always room for learning in everything we do so telling ourselves we can’t do it is not helpful. Not knowing how to do something yet and not being able to do something are two completely different things. It’s having a can-do attitude that puts you in the “not knowing how to do something yet” column.
While answering the phone may seem like common sense and something we do all the time there is also some protocol attached to this when in the workplace.
When answering the phone say the following:
“Hello/good morning/ afternoon” followed by the company name and your name e.g “Good morning, this is Rachel’s Design Lab, Rachel speaking”
It is then important to ask who’s calling, who they would like to speak to and what is it regarding. This information can then be passed to the relevant person so they can decide whether or not to take the call. If they don’t take the call or you can’t get through to them it’s important to be polite and give an appropriate reason why they can’t take the call. Be sure to take a message and record their name and contact details and send that information to the person they couldn’t reach.
I feel very fortunate as I have some experience answering phones within an office environment. I appreciate how helpful it is to know to record names, messages and take numbers as there is nothing worse than coming away from a call without contact information and having no way to get back in touch with that caller.
This week we also received some great tips on how to write an email. Some important things to consider are writing a specific and accurate subject line. choose the write tone of voice and always double draft.
By sending clear subject headers the person that has received the email will get a clear sense of what the email is about. It will also help them if they need to search for it later. Choosing the correct tone of voice is very important. Presenting a tone of voice that is polite, respectful and helpful is always a good base point from my experience no matter what the situation. Beyond this, tone can vary in terms of the position of the person you’re emailing, whether or not they’re a colleague or someone from another company and how well you know the person your email. Each of these factors will impact how formal or casual the email should be.
For me, double drafting and checking for spelling will be a must as I am dyslexic and prone to writing errors. I find running my writing through text editors such as Hemmingway or Grammarly particularly helpful. This also gives me the opportunity to listen to what I have written being read back to me via the read around browser extension I use so that I can be sure I haven’t mixed up any words.
Another helpful consideration was how to establish a report with someone via email that you haven’t spoken to before. In this instance introducing yourself by stating a mutual connection or the purpose of the email can be helpful e.g.
Hope you’re keeping well. I was in a meeting with John Spencer this morning. He mentioned you had a great resource for creating tagging taxonomies and passed your email along…”
Other important considerations include being positive and friendly, breaking up lengthy content with paragraphs/ headers and clarifying why you are requesting something. All of these considerations can go a long way in building connections with people and encouraging positive timely responses. In the event that a response is not immediate, it is advisable to hold off on following for an appropriate amount of time. It’s also good to have contact information in your signature and to double-check for attachments!
All of the above pointers and tips are incredibly helpful particularly when entering a studio environment for the first time. While I do have office experience the topics covered here are just as relevant for me as it can be easy to get stuck when writing an email on exactly what to say no matter how long you’ve been writing them. The points on meetings were another useful reminder as I’m sure we can or will find ourselves falling into the do not category when it comes to zoning out or shying away from raising a point. I will try to keep all of the above information in mind when it comes to starting my placement. I am sure that attempting to follow this guidance will be beneficial at any stage in my career.