In January, our President gave us his vision for our company’s #1 goal for this year…Professionalism. Academically defined as “the conduct, aims or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person” (Webster’s Dictionary 2018), professionalism, to me, speaks more to the merits of first impressions, communication skills, and positivity in the workplace. In any workplace environment, what are the “conducts, aims and qualities” that a person needs in order to show professionalism? Here are some examples of what I find important when wanting to show professionalism in the workplace and receive professionalism from clients and coworkers alike:
- First Impressions – The Harvard Study of Communications says it takes only seven seconds to make a first impression and once that first impression is made, it is very hard to change someone’s mind. Make those seven seconds count by smiling, making eye contact, standing up straight, dressing neatly, and having a good, solid handshake. I feel it is most impactful when, upon first meeting someone new, they have a genuine smile and keep eye-contact with me throughout the initial introductions and interaction. You will never get a second chance to make a good first impression!
- Communication skills – Having strong verbal and written communication skills is key to communicating professionally with your team and clients. When writing documents or emails, write sentences that are clear, concise, and easy to read. Give specific details so there is no ambiguity and do not forget to use spellcheck. When speaking with co-workers and clients on the phone or in person, be an active listener. Hold your thoughts until the person speaking has finished and then give your thoughts on the subject matter. Do not interrupt or speak over someone that is already speaking.3
- Positive attitudes – Having a positive attitude in the workplace not only motivates employees, it also enables them to build strong working relationships and function better as a team. A positive team dynamic ensures a higher quality of work and productivity because it engenders communication which allows for better decision making. Personally, I think a positive attitude permits people to take risks they would not otherwise as they are not afraid of a negative consequence. Taking risks can turn into excellent opportunities for growth and leadership.
Professionalism in the workplace is important at every level. When clients perceive your company to be professional, they know you will do what it takes to get the job done on time, on budget, and with excellent quality.
Professionalism in the workplace helps build confidence, provides encouragement, and promotes respect.
Article By Sandy Rowan / Project Administration