We exist in a world where everyone has different taste and and often opposing views of what’s cultured.
This telephone booth might be bright and cheery for the business man who likes to find his way around easily and thrives on efficiency. To the environmentalist, it would be a glaring example of man’s invasion of natural beauty.
In some cultures, burping loudly after a meal is a compliment. In other cultures it is considered rude.
Writer’s and other professionals are constantly placed in positions where impressions matter.
So, how do you come off as professional, yet unique? When exactly should you pick up your slice of pizza or use your fork? In what situations should you speak your mind, or nod quietly?
Tips to finding the balance between professional culture and personality:
*Know Your Crowd. Before you plan to make an impression, consider the crowd. Look into preferences and expectations. Notice what kind of individuality is excepted and appreciated in the culture you are in. In a room full of first grade boys, being able to blow the biggest bubble is impressive. In a room full of businessmen, a great gulf score would gain admiration.
*Avoid Embarrassing Moments. Research ahead of time the type of function you are attending and what is expected of you. If you are attending a major conference, read up on editor and agent appointments. If you are attending an awards banquet, know the etiquette of the crowd.
For example: Each year at American Christian Fiction Writer’s Awards Banquet, agents and editors prefer to reserve their table for their authors. It isn’t the time to pitch, or try to get to know them better.
*The Loudest Attention Seeker Runs The Risk Of Seeming Obnoxious. You know the person no one wants to sit next to at the company party? The one who is the loudest and draws the most embarrassing attention to the group? Don’t be that guy. It might make people think you are self-involved or rude.
*Be Memorable Versus Invisible. As much as you want to avoid being obnoxious, you don’t want to be invisible. If you are shy, take some time to think ahead of time about some things you might be able to share that would interest the group. Make a point of commenting a few times, or run the risk of being forgettable.
*Know the Content. In Proverbs the Bible says, “Fools are known for their much speaking.” It is only too true. If you are in a professional situation, study the content of the material that is likely to be discussed. If you don’t know about a topic, you can’t make intelligent comments so keep your thoughts to yourself. Prepare ahead to look sharp.
*Dress The Part. If you want to fit in at a basketball practice, wear a team jersey. If you want to fit in at black tie affair, dress classy. If you want to add a bit of personal flair, here is one place you could do that. No, don’t wear a striped neon blouse with a red plaid skirt. Hats, jewelry or a unique classy outfit may help create a memory.
*Be Yourself. Sometimes people try to hard to be the person they think everyone else is expecting them to be and in the process come off as insincere. You can only be yourself in the truest form. Polished up a bit? Yes. Transformed into your opposite? No.
*Help Someone Else Who Is Socially Drowning. Most importantly, remember there are other’s in the room who are feeling awkward and unsure of themselves. Helping them feel at home, often gets our focus off of ourselves and brings out the best in everyone.
What do you do to help you navigate the social pressures of business or family culture?