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MCYL, student program, social skills, professional ettiquette
Setting a table is just one of the skills covered in student leadership program.

Wed, Dec 13, 2017 at 09:00 PM

Professional etiquette? Students learn life skills in leadership program

From setting a table to social media behavior, local students learn importance of basic life skills.

There’s more to leadership than managing employees in the workplace. Effective leaders also need to know how to use proper manners at the table and to practice professionalism. That’s what Marshall County Youth Leadership students learned as they folded napkins, arranged a proper place setting and took a professional-looking photo with a mobile phone. 

MCYL is sponsored by Marshall Medical, along with the Marshall County Leadership Challenge Alumni and Citizen’s Bank & Trust. 

Kaydee Burchell of Kaydee Photography, warned students that they will be judged by everything they put on the Internet. 

“You have to consider the way you present yourself to the world,” she said. “You are making a choice to be branded by those things, whether it’s religion, politics or Alabama and Auburn.”

The 34 students from nine high schools in Marshall County applied for the program and were interviewed for selection. They meet monthly throughout the school year to learn out about their home county, as well as to practice the qualities of a leader. 

Good photos and social media skills make a difference

Burchell also walked the juniors through the steps to taking a professional photo with their phones. By turning off overhead lights and using natural light, students were able to create some nice looking shots. 

Rhonda Springfield, MCLC board member, discussed proper behavior on social media. 

• Don’t post inappropriate pictures
• Use correct grammar 
• Don’t rant about your employer
• Don’t be offensive
• Don’t spend work time on social media

“It’s an ethical situation,” she said. 

Netiquette – or etiquette on the net – also requires professionalism, she said. For emails, proofread three times, use salutations and signatures, always take time to send a reply and never, ever use all caps (no one likes to be yelled at!)

Students spent their afternoon practicing handshakes and ‘soft skills,’ also known as people skills.

“It’s more who you are than who you know,” advised Teresa Walker, director of workforce development at Snead State.