5 Simple ways to Project a Professional Image
Looking and acting professionally in the workplace is more important than you think. Studies have shown that how you look and act can greatly influence your career. Others will judge you in only a matter of seconds. Like it or not, first impressions count. You don’t have a second chance to create another first impression. Once negative impressions are formed, it takes lots of effort to change people’s perception. If you’re planning to join the workforce or have been in it for quite a while, you might want to check the image that you are projecting.
1. Dress Like A Pro
If you’re trying to leave a good impression, it’s important to dress professionally. You don’t need to have the trendiest outfit or be overly corporate. You simply need to dress according to your company’s standards and the industry norms. Keep everything (eg. hair, nails, shoes, etc) clean, neat and tidy. Wear appropriate make-up throughout the day to look good. You don’t have to pick the trendiest colourscheme. Opt for natural colours that could enhance your features. If you have subconsciously relaxed the grooming standards over the years, it will be a good idea to get back on track.
2. Act Like A Pro
Make it a habit to have good posture while sitting and standing. Good posture tells a lot about a person’s attitude towards work and life. For example, standing up straight exudes confidence. When speaking with someone, it’s also ideal to avoid unnecessary actions such as nail-biting, hair-twirling or even looking at your mobile phone while speaking with someone. You want to give the impression that you are confident, alert and engaged. Action speaks louder than words. Ensure that your body language sends the right message.
3. Speak Like A Pro
What you say and how you say it affects the way people perceive you and determine if they want to work with you. A simple statement such as “this is not my job” may potentially spark a heated conversation between people. Instead, it is important to watch the language. You could inject warmth with statements like “I would love to do that for you.” Instead of giving instructions like an order, it would be good to turn the order into an appeal by saying “Could you help me complete the form by Monday?”
4. Listen Like A Pro
When speaking with someone, it’s very easy to just nod and agree with him so that you can end the conversation and carry on with your tasks. You might find yourself in such situations when your brain only picks out what you think is important, and the rest fades into the background. This is what we call “selective listening” and is usually the reason for miscommunication. Instead of “listening selectively”, it is important to listen actively. Active listening requires you to listen to every single word and feeling and understand them. Most important of all, you need to show that you understand both the message and the emotional state. To do so, you could say, “I can imagine how anxious you must be right now as you need the funds to be transferred into your account. Let me see what I can do for you.”
5. Know Like A Pro
In the course of your work, there will always be customers (internal and external) coming to you for assistance. Today’s world is very fast paced, and people get impatient when they don’t get what they need fast and correctly done. So, know your stuff well. Be on top of things all the time. Keep yourself updated on new practices in the workplace or changes in company policies. Most important of all, constantly upgrade yourself through reading, attending courses or exchanging ideas with more experienced colleagues.
Maintaining a professional image is essential. Don’t take it for granted as these are elements that you can control and will help you in your workplace.
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