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Transferable skills and habits of mind for apprentices, graduates and those who are new to the workplace

Are you sure this is a real Millenial?

HOW NOT to conform to YOUR generational stereotype

Video Arts Employability Essentials cover transferable skills and habits of mind for apprentices, graduates and those who are new to the workplace. The micro-learning videos include a curation of the best of The Essentials with some new content, especially for millennials.

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Email Etiquette:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: emails

Turn off your mail alert and schedule specific times to check mail. Don’t leave everything in your in-box. Use subject lines properly to say what the message is about. Use  the out-of-office function so people don’t think you’re ignoring them.


Structuring A Report:

Nice and long - good

List the objectives. Organise key points. Structure the document.


Formatting A Report:

Short, sweet, persuasive

Use plain English. Make it look readable. Package it attractively.


Phone Greetings:

Faking the hold music

Put a smile in your voice. Introduce yourself. Is it convenient for the person to take the call?


Phone Skills:

A chickenless head

Control the call. Get caller’s name and use it. Make them feel connected. Ask open questions. Use active listening. Record and repeat information.


Closing A Phone Call:

Hatching a plan

Agree next actions and follow up on them. Volunteer useful information. Establish what happens next.

Body language

Body Language:

This is my giant desk castle

DON’T: adopt ‘status’ positions behind desks; give aggressive eye contact; fold arms defensively; use closed hand gestures.

DO: use round tables; use postural ‘echo’; lean forward and nod; maintain friendly eye contact; use open hand gestures.


Preparing To Present:

But I hate talking to people!

Know who you’re talking to, and what you want to say.


Presentation Tips:

Now drink five espressos

Tailor the presentation to the needs of your audience.


Structuring A Presentation:

POP-ping your pants

Structure the presentation: Position, Options, Proposal.

Unleashing your creativity

Unleashing Your Creativity:

All the thinking has clogged up my brain pipe

Let your subconscious go to work – time pressure stifles creativity, which needs an incubation period. Be ready for ideas to flow at any time – always have a recording device or pen and paper with you, including during the night.

Keep Learning:

Learning shmerning

Find ways to learn and develop yourself, from workplace training to learning a language. Build on your existing strengths, and follow your natural curiosity – it’s a better motivator than ‘what will help my career?’


Tony to baggage reclaim

Consider why colleagues are behaving in a way that annoys you. Try stepping into their shoes and seeing things from their perspective. Beliefs, not events, cause distress – figure out which beliefs are making you upset. Recall when you have behaved badly and remember your reasons.

Don’t Believe The Myths…:

Are you sure this is a real Millenial?

Don’t expect everyone to conform to their generational stereotypes. Just because you’re a digital native, it doesn’t mean you’ll be fast to adopt new technology, and vice versa. Most people want the same things from work, regardless of their age.

How To Be A Colleague:

What can I say? I'm a multi-platform communicator.

Don’t be a millennial stereotype. Be present in meetings, and spend face to face time with colleagues it’s the original social networking!

How To Support Your Apprentice:

Let me tell you something, embryo - this town's gonna eat you alive

Even ‘ignorant’ interns possess useful knowledge, it’s your job to find it. Today’s junior employee is tomorrow’s senior employee – they will remember who helped them to get there. Set their expectations, be approachable and interested, help them learn, and learn from them.

Targeted Acts Of Kindness:

We can’t all just drop what we’re doing and be kind – we’re on the clock here!

Being helpful or kind to a colleague will make you feel good: targeted, not random acts of kindness. Focus on where kindness is needed, not just on “being a nice person”. Don’t cut kindness out of your life when you feel time’s at a premium – it’ll make stress worse.


Julia thinks we’re an idiot!

If you think people have negative views of you it’s easy to find “evidence” of that. Don’t let a lack of confidence lead you to read things the wrong way. Ask for feedback regularly.

Everyone's a teacher and everyone's a learner

Everyone’s A Teacher And Everyone’s A Learner:

We don't really have a mentoring culture down here

Encourage your team to share their expertise. Be open to reverse mentoring, and identify good potential partners for mentoring… encourage them to establish clear goals and expectations.

Learn from every success and difficulty

Learn From Every Success And Difficulty:

Why don't we just sign off on this and go and have a martini?

Encourage debriefs after every success. Mistakes are fine, as long as you learn from them. Look at the reasons for difficulties and plan to avoid them in the future.

Fire Your Inner Critic:

A sloppy and haphazard staging of weak material

We all have an inner critic, but we don’t have to follow its instructions, or believe what it says. Treat your inner critic like a toddler, not a boss you must obey. Personify you inner critic, by giving him or her a name, so it won’t be a god-like voice of truth anymore.

Learner Engagement

Controlling Quality:

I told you punching it would work

Define it. Control it. Communicate it (listening as well as telling).

Embracing Failure:

Go to your room with all the other stuff I’m ashamed of!

Choose to see failure as a sign of you reaching the edge of your comfort zone. Fight against perfectionism, which just makes you miserable. Try deliberate imperfection. You could actively seek out low-risk experiences of failure – try new skills where it won’t matter it you fail.


All of the world’s libraries and emporiums in a single magnificent volume!

It’s all too easy to get acclimatised to the good things in life, and focus only on the bad things. Think about what you’re grateful for – you can even try writing them down. Don’t forget the tiny things!

The Four Stages Of Change:

Colours are a fad...they won't catch on

The four stages of reaction to change: Negation – Self-justification – Exploration – Resolution

Don’t Compare Your Insides To Other People’s Outsides:

Try and look cool everybody!

We only have access to our own inner monologue of worry and self-criticism but nobody else’s. Resist comparing your insides with other people’s outsides – remember that social media is an edited highlights reel, not reality.

Keep A Sense Of Perspective:

We’ll be roaming the streets, shouting at the pigeons!

We catastrophise: if something goes slightly wrong, we assume everything’s gone terribly wrong. We project disasters in our future. Try to keep perspective and recall previous occasions when you catastrophized, remembering that a catastrophe didn’t follow. Ask yourself how you will feel about it one day, one month or one year from now.

The Worst-Case Scenario:

I think your positive policy may be having a negative effect on us all, Captain

Instead of ‘looking on the bright side’, it can be useful to ask ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’ In considering the worst outcomes, you realize that you could cope with most of them.

Be Kind To Yourself:

I am an unreliable, foot-dragging, moronic dunce

We often treat ourselves in ways we’d never treat even our least favourite colleague – yelling internally at ourselves, setting expectations we can’t meet, berating ourselves for less-than-perfect work. Catch yourself in the act of self-criticism, it is not self-indulgent to treat yourself well.

Just Don’t Think About It! (The Backfire Effect):

Suppress that thought, crew, that’s an order!

You can’t push thoughts out of your head – in fact, trying to do so will generally make them louder. If you are friendlier toward them the more stressful ones will often float away of their own accord.

Don’t Confuse Effort With Results:

I love the smell of emails in the morning

You are not a machine, and a tiring day does not mean a good day. Focus on results: define the most important three results for your day, and do them in the times you are naturally most productive. The rest of the day is for lesser tasks. Take regular breaks, especially in stressful periods.

The only way is ethics

The Only Way Is Ethics:

But it's not against the law, technically?

Ethics are for everyday. Talk frequently about ethical values. Explain how these apply to the work of your team, and explain that being ethical means doing the right thing, even when you’re not required to.

You Are Not Your Emotions:

Sunshine and positivity right up till midday

Understand that your emotions are not you, even though it’s easy to assume they are. Your feelings about certain things will come and go, like the weather. If you label your negative emotions as they arise, they’ll fly away faster…

Don’t Spread The Anxiety Virus:

We’re talking mass redundancies! Aaaaagh!

Emotions are contagious, anxiety especially. Anxiety will get in the way of productivity, so communicate urgency calmly, and be careful not to spread anxiety.


Stress And Exercise:

Beat stress with burgers?

Take exercise and allow yourself time for relaxation.

Get Physical:

Captain, we seem to be infected with some kind of lethargy virus

When dealing with a stressful or overwhelming challenge, don’t chain yourself to your desk. Sometimes the solution isn’t in your head. Try changing your physical situation as a refresher. Time in nature is priceless – even five minutes in the park has been shown to help.

Get Everything Out Of Your Head:

Was it buckgrass or wheatbuck salad?

The human mind is a marvel, but it’s a terrible device for storing lists of information. If you don’t write lists, you’ll be stressed by what you might be forgetting. So make lists – they bring immediate relief from stress, even before you tackle the tasks.

The Bias Toward Action:

Don’t you EVER put Science in inverted commas!

If you’re facing a fork in the road… take it. Be Bold. You regret the things you don’t do, not the things you do. Inaction means you can berate yourself forever about what might have been. Once you’ve taken the plunge, by contrast, you’ll find a way to feel good about what you’ve done.

You Don’t Have To ‘Feel Like It’ (Motivation Follows Action):

Harness the amazing benefits of my unique seven step Productivity Power Play Package!

We tell ourselves that we need to be in the right mindset to work, but actually that makes it harder. Focus instead on taking some physical actions – and the ‘motivated’ mindset will usually follow.

Assertiveness Tips

Assertiveness Tips:

I'm just being honest!

Be Assertive. Be honest. Stick to the bottom line. Negotiate as equals.

Assertive versus aggressive

Assertive Versus Aggressive:

You WILL listen to me!

Know the three types of behaviour: aggressive, submissive, assertive.


Meetings, Show You Understand:

Are you listening?

Listen actively. Show empathy.


Meetings, Work To A Joint Solution:

I've got a great idea, My Idea!

Listen to everyone. Especially the quieter voices.

Forming and storming

Forming And Storming:

Ok. Call me when this gets a bit more strategic.

When forming a team, take a strong role in directing them. Establish objectives and responsibilities, and build good relationships. Storming will mean you must resolve conflicts, provide support and remain firm in the face of challenges.

Norming and performing

Norming And Performing:

Sorry - I get annoying when I'm nervous.

In the Norming stage, take a step back and help team members to take further responsibility. Share controversial views and address difficult issues.

During the Performing stage, give the team space to make decisions for themselves. Recognise contributions and award credit where due.


No more soggy stains and ugly socks

Multi-tasking isn’t a thing. It just means failing to do any one thing properly. Switching between tasks has an interruption cost, it takes longer to get back to focus. Focus on one task at a time, until it is complete, or you will struggle to make progress.

The Power Of Ritual:

Children of the 6th Realm! Let the Power guide us!

Rituals can help with work and happiness. If you enjoy a specific moment at work, resolve to do it at the same time each day. Use a ‘shut down routine’ so you can leave work feeling good.

The First Hour Of The Day:

If I get my claws into you now, your day is screwed

How you spend the first hour in the office will determine your momentum for the rest of the day. Use it to work on a challenging project, before checking email or voicemail, rather than plunging into distraction right away.


Prioritising Your Time:

Train time is game time

Plan your day. Set realistic deadlines. Anticipate problems.


Time Management And Interruptions:

Distracting Dennis

Deal with people. Deal with interruptions decisively. Act assertively. Limit phone time. See others as a source of support.


Time Management Tips:

When wearable office organisers go wrong

Organise your work. Do difficult things first. Cut the clutter. Complete one task before moving to the next.

The Perils Of Over-Planning:

Abort Mission!

Planning seems like a good thing, and in moderation it is, but it can also be a sneaky form of procrastination and a way of avoiding the fear of actually starting. Make the most basic plan you need in order to take action, then act, and revise the plan as you go.

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