Topic outline

  • Course Introduction

    What images come to mind when you think of the term professional? Do you picture an executive in a fancy suit strutting into a boardroom? Or, perhaps you envision a supervisor walking among cubicles and issuing orders to employees. While it is true that professionalism encompasses how we present ourselves outwardly, the meaning of the term goes far beyond appearances. Professionalism also encompasses inward characteristics and attitudes that affect how others in the workplace perceive us. The professional world can be full of challenging situations, including conflicting personalities, miscommunication, and cultural differences. In this course, you will learn about typical workplace etiquette protocols, communication standards, and cultural awareness strategies in order to navigate these common obstacles as smoothly as possible.

    By this point in Saylor's Job Search Skills courses in the Professional Development Program, you have started the process of honing your professional image by producing a tailored résumé and cultivating important interviewing skills. This course will guide you through additional strategies for establishing and maintaining your professional image in the workplace. Whether you are working on a construction site or in a medical facility, practicing professional etiquette will help ensure that your occupational environment is a positive and productive one. You will focus on integrating internal attitudes with external behaviors so that your personal attributes work together to enhance your professional image.

    You will begin this course with an introduction to professional manners and common courtesy. Then, you will learn how to communicate effectively and courteously via common workplace communication modes - verbal communication, nonverbal communication, and virtual communication - paying particular attention to how technology affects these forms of workplace communication. In the last unit of this course, you will investigate the topic of workplace diversity in order to gain an awareness of differences and how to respond to and respect them.

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  • Unit 1: Workplace Courtesy

    Everyday courteous behaviors such as holding the door for the person behind you, saying "please” and "thank you” at the dinner table, and smiling when you catch the eye of someone walking by you may be optional responses to situations outside the workplace. However, such courtesies are not optional in the workplace. Exercising proper courtesy in any workplace situation is important, and neglecting to do so may lead to unfavorable results, such as miscommunication. To help you understand the standards of appropriate workplace attitudes and behaviors, the first unit of this course introduces you to basic workplace manners and the positive behavioral qualities an employer typically looks for in an employee. By studying these concepts, you will learn the appropriate way to handle yourself in many job-related situations.

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  • Unit 2: Workplace Communication

    Have you ever worked for an organization where there was little to no communication about important tasks? Employees are expected to interpret information correctly and to communicate with their colleagues and superiors on a regular basis. Effective communication can foster increased motivation and a more positive work environment, yet one of the leading causes of conflict in the workplace is a lack of adequate or clear communication. Miscommunication can arise from a number of sources, including employees' poor listening skills, the misinterpretation of verbal messages or physical gestures, and other issues. These potential pitfalls can be avoided with some extra effort on your behalf. In the second unit of this course, you will explore the three main types of workplace communication: verbal, nonverbal, and virtual. You will discover how to use these forms of communication appropriately and how to employ active listening in order to decrease the likelihood of workplace miscommunication. Finally, you will evaluate how workplace technology can affect the communication process.

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  • Unit 3: Diversity in the Workplace

    The workplace is made up of unique individuals who embody various cultures, attitudes, and philosophies. You may have heard the phrase, "two heads are better than one," and diversity can indeed add value to a company due to the benefits gained from additional perspectives and talents. In recent years, diversity in the workplace has grown to be an important and valued issue within corporate culture. However, diversity is not without its challenges, because the relationship between individual values and workplace culture can be complex. Miscommunication and insensitivity may occur when employees are unaware of colleagues' or clients' customs. Mastering professional etiquette includes gaining an understanding of the various cultural norms in your own work environment. In the third and final unit of this course, you will discover the impact of diversity in the workplace and study the importance of practicing cultural awareness. You also will identify resources for learning about different cultural practices and taboos in order to avoid any insensitivity.

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  • Optional Course Evaluation Survey

    Please take a few moments to provide some feedback about this course at the link below. Consider completing the survey whether you have completed the course, you are nearly at that point, or you have just come to study one unit or a few units of this course.

    Link: Optional Course Evaluation Survey (HTML)

    Your feedback will focus our efforts to continually improve our course design, content, technology, and general ease-of-use. Additionally, your input will be considered alongside our consulting professors' evaluation of the course during its next round of peer review. As always, please report urgent course experience concerns to and/or our Discourse forums.

  • Final Exam

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