The only universals seem to be:
- All professionals don’t follow all professional advice.
- Professionals going about their day-to-day work like to interact with nice people who treat them well.
- Professionals going about their day-to-day work life don’t like to interact with jerks who treat them poorly.
Sounds obvious, but that’s a lot to work with—it can be difficult to treat people well when you are rushed and frustrated about a service. Everyone has a bad day now and then.
When I make my students prepare their presentations in a certain way, for example demanding that they practice, not read or recite, and time themselves, I do this knowing they will go to professional presentations and witness actual professionals winging it, reading from PowerPoint slides, and going over their time limits.
In class, students ask, “but if everyone else is presenting one way, why do we have to do it differently?”
In the context of Spanish for the Professions, we are preparing students to be the best in their professions. In some cases–and I would argue that professional presentations are one such case–that means doing little things that might only be tangentially related to a specific profession better than they are already done.
University study is always about theory, the ideal–whether it’s pedagogy, medical procedures, or case law. Then, as anyone who’s ever witnessed their profession in practice knows, the application rarely aligns perfectly with theory. The same is true of professional presentations and workplace interactions.
What can we do? Our best, especially on those tangential things that run across all professions, such as presentations (both formal and informal) and our interactions with the professionals we see everyday as we go about our business.