Monday, June 4, 2012

Professionally Polished

“Professionally Polished” by Skyler Baty

Some might call me a “spring chicken.” So call me an upstart, but here are some tips for making good impressions on prospective clients or future employers.  Female/male, young/old or CEO/intern, these etiquette tips can smooth the way to success. Yes, it’s an old-fashioned word, etiquette, but it’s newfound savvy for all business situations.

·         Business cards in a classy folder.  Never leave home without them.  Card holders keep cards from getting folded, soggy or smudged.  When you’re presented with a card, avoid sticking it straight into your purse or pocket.  Comment on the location of the office, design of the card or the person’s name.  It will make your contact feel acknowledged.  Then put their card somewhere it’s obvious you’re keeping it in a treasured spot – not stuffed into your purse or pocket in a haphazard way.

·         Thank you.  It’s simple. Yet few take the time to say it, even here in the Friendly State.  And say it twice – once verbally and once in writing.

·         Smiley faces, abbreviations and explanation points.  These are fine for text messaging, Google Chat (Gchat) or Facebook. But in the business world, create friendly messages without using symbols.

·         Promote your “Rock Star” Attitude.  For any new business, interview situations or sales jobs, it’s important to highlight your past accomplishments, volunteer work and/or leadership positions.  They show your enthusiasm, positivity and confidence quotient.

·         Dress the part.  Save the flip-flops, hats and T-shirts for the weekend.   If you don’t have a Tide to Go Pen, get one. Dressing well assists in establishing credibility with clients.

·         Smile (not just at your boss and clients, but also at customers, secretaries, vendors, janitors and contractors).  You’re not just representing yourself; you’re representing your company.  Whether it’s to someone at the bottom or the top of the corporate ladder or the ladder of life, try to always be amicable.

·         Cell phone etiquette.  Trust me, I know this one’s tough. But either turn off your phone, or put it on silent during an interview, lunch, or meeting.

·         Southern Hospitality.  Table manners, making eye-to-eye contact, shaking hands with your right hand and introducing yourself with your name said several times with a memory trigger are some common ways to build rapport.    While dining, if you think of BMW (Bread is on the left, Meal in the middle and Water on the right), this will help you navigate the landscape. And remember: elbows off the table, wait until everyone has been served to start eating, don’t put salt or pepper on your food before you’ve tasted it, and chew slowly with your mouth closed.

·         Generational gap.  For all Gen X-ers engaged to social media, please remember to make sure your Facebook page looks appropriate, don’t say anything you wouldn’t want your boss or parents to see on Twitter or your blog, and keep your iTunes speakers on low so they don’t disrupt others around you. 

·         Building Good Rapport.  It’s important to say “good morning,” use active listening skills and take an interest in the whole person, even when you don’t need someone to do something for you to sustain strong professional relationships.  When in an interview or meeting, spend the first five minutes and last five minutes on non-work related topics (even if it’s the weather).  And remember:

“All lasting business is built on friendship”

So whether you’re a spring chicken like me – or the biggest old dog in Big D – these simple tips make good business sense.  And hey, who knows?  You might find a few friends along the way, too. 

No comments:

Post a Comment