Life after Bluffton

03/17/2016

Seniors practice professional manners

With graduation just a few weeks away, many seniors are on the hunt for a job, but the process can be intimidating. So, the alumni engagement office held a two day event for students to learn and practice their professional manners.

“These activities were absolutely helpful because we’re heading out into the workplace, and we learned that an interview during a meal is increasingly common,” said Meg Short ’16, a public relations major from Archbold, Ohio.

On the first day of the event, 16 seniors took part in the Professional Manners 101 Etiquette Workshop given by Reeves Etiquette and Image Consulting which is based in Toledo.

During the workshop image consultant Robin Reeves provided tips on topics including non-verbal communication (gestures, posture and facial expression), table manners (napkin and utensil use) and small talk (conversation starters and preparation).

The students honed their newly acquired skills on the first night by practicing handshakes, eating spaghetti and introducing themselves.

Short learned a few lessons in body language. “I didn’t know you should keep your hands on the table. It shows that you’re not hiding anything.”

Reeves has been an image consultant for the last six years. Most of her workshops are for college students. She says employers are looking for stand-out applicants who already have soft skills.

“Employers can train people in their hard skills, but they need employees with soft skills to garner clients and to build relationships and to grow the company,” said Reeves.

On the second night, students practiced what they learned during a business dinner with 12 alumni participants at Jeanne’s Kitchen in Bluffton. The meal also gave the students a chance to network.

“I’m hoping the alumni help the students feel more comfortable and confident in their soft skills and possibly even make some concrete connections for employment,” said Julia Szabo, director of alumni engagement.

Alumni were chosen because they have jobs in the career fields the participating seniors are entering.

“One of the most helpful things was talking to recent graduates and hearing about how many career changes they’ve already made,” said Short. “That’s encouraging because it seems like everybody is asking me to make a decision on what I want to do with the rest of my life right now.” 

The event was sponsored by the Alumni Association. The association raises funds for events like this during their annual May Day Run.

-B-

Meg Short and Devante Thomas-Wright practice shaking hands
During the workshop image consultant Robin Reeves provided tips on topics including non-verbal communication (gestures, posture and facial expression), table manners (napkin and utensil use) and small talk (conversation starters and preparation).
Top