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Early Lessons

Francis Wade

Last week I wrote the first in the two part series on the 10 Working Basics that a young professional needs to learn when they first come into the workforce.

(For last week’s article, point your browser to

The first 5 Working Basics are:

#1 – How Business Works
#2 – The Employee Contract
#3 – The Role of Customers
#4 – Customer Service
#5 – Feedback Conversations

Here are the remaining 5 Working Basics. They are the kind of skills that are used over and over in the workplace, but they happen to be mostly ignored in the training received in high school.

Basic #6: Public Speaking and Presenting

There are many ways to get over the shyness that many feel about public speaking, but they all have one thing in common – continuous real-time practice. There is simply no other way. Also, becoming proficient at Power Point is a must, as slides are increasingly being used to add punch to presentations, and in the most modern approaches they forego bullet points entirely.

Basic #7: Facilitating

Facilitating involves the management of a team or group to accomplish an important goal. This is another skill that improves with ongoing practice, and is much easier to develop by following the skilled example of others. Young professionals who confuse “facilitation” with “teaching” often end up making a hash of things, through no fault of their own, as they fail to realize that facilitation is about bringing forth the knowledge of others, rather than displaying their own.

Basic #8: Being Internet Savvy

As more and more applications and information are becoming available on the internet, it is becoming more and more costly to fall behind. Luckily, most new professionals come in with an advantage in this regard, but they must keep up their learning to prevent their skills from becoming obsolete.

Basic #9: Writing

The kind of writing that is needed in the internet age is quite different from the old style taught in “business writing” classes of old. The rules for writing an article such as this for JobSmart are different, with a requirement for more white space on the screen, and language that is much more informal and readable. The use of graphics, videos and hyperlinks are all critically important in getting the point across and probably well beyond the capabilities of most high school and college tutors.

Basic #10: Self Reflection

A business-person who cannot effectively inquire into their own actions, motives and assumptions is one who is bound to be stuck at the same level for many years. Fortunately, there are many books, audios, videos and live programmes that can help a young professional to become someone who is actively growing and expanding themselves over the years.


These ten skills are among the most important that a young professional can commit himself to learning during the first few years on the job. They can all be used to assist him in using a single critical skill that all 10 Basic Skills feed into – Personal Brand Management.

The ability to manage one’s Personal Brand is no basic skill. It pulls on the 10 Basic Skills plus the knowledge that they have an image that must be managed. In today’s world, reaching one’s full potential requires a professional to be cognizant of their image. “Not caring less” has ceased to be an option – simply Google yourself and you may find that an image is already being created in cyberspace, without your active participation.

Professionals who manage their Brand effectively understand the need to always be honing and refining their 10 Basic Skills as they provide a foundation that allows a successful career to be built.

To discuss the 10 Working Basics, or ask a question, point your browser to

The author is the owner of Framework Consulting, a firm specializing in conducting high stake interventions for Caribbean companies, and the author of FirstCuts monthly e-zine.
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