Knowing four keys to becoming more professional can add serious percentage points to the likelihood of your success in whatever line of work you enter. Whether you are putting your energy into working as a teacher, a cab driver, a real estate agent or a stay at home parent, your professionalism on the job will be noted by those for whom you work and can most definitely affect their evaluation of you and the services you perform. Being skilled is a big part of becoming a success in any field but the way in which you deliver or present your skills can often tip the scale for or against your success. These four keys to becoming more professional are essential to enhancing your delivery or presentation of the skills you possess.
Punctuality Does it really matter if you are 15 minutes, or even a half hour late? Well maybe not to your friends, but frequent lateness in almost any line of work is not usually appreciated. To the contrary many employers would agree that of the four keys to becoming more professional, punctuality ranks high on the list. While family and friends may adapt themselves to your lack of punctuality,those who employ you aren’t likely to be so accommodating.
Lack of punctuality and frequent tardiness give a negative message . Those who are left waiting may well decide that you are not serious about your work and that you have little respect for them or their time constraints. The steps you take to make yourself more punctual, from setting your clock ahead to booking yourself a half hour early in your own book for appointments, are less important than that you actually do begin to make some real and consistent effort to show up for client meetings, staff gatherings, picking up your kids and all other time sensitive functions respectfully on time. In fact punctuality is so important that it could really be considered part of the second key to becoming more professional : courtesy.
Courtesy. There is so much rudeness in the world today that people really do sit up and take notice when someone acts courteously to others as a norm. Courtesy includes the basics you were taught as a child like saying please and thank you but it goes lots further. Courtesy will add to your professional conduct when it includes communicating with others, in spoken or written form, in a kindly manner. Brusque, snippy, sarcastic ways of communicating are like giant flags going up indicating to the person on the receiving end that they are dealing with someone who is not a professional.
Often times clients, when addressed in such a way, will immediately ask to speak to someone who is the speaker’s superior. What the client is really saying is that he or she does not chose to deal with a person who lacks basic professional etiquette. Learning how to speak to those with whom and for whom you work may begin with learning how to speak more politely to those in your family and among your friends. Wherever it begins, polishing up your way of speaking to others in a respectful and courteous manner can be key to helping you become more professional in all you do.
Taking a Personal Approach. Whether you deal with numerous children in your family or you have a long client list in your work, failing to take a personal approach in your dealings will quickly mark you as someone who is both uncaring and unprofessional. Certainly you may have the same list of responsibilities that you carry out with regards to each client but that does not mean you need to take a totally impersonal attitude towards your encounters. You may have said the same thing over and over again to different clients but you are saying it new to each one and they expect to hear it that way from you.
Sounding bored, far removed, or impersonal in any conversation will usually mean that the person on the listening end will become bored, remove himself or herself from your influence and be just as impersonal in responding. This is not the basis for a solid professional relationship. You don’t need to be every client’s best friend, but it is possible, if you are working as a professional, to treat each person with enough warmth and informality to indicate you see them as individuals worthy of friendship.
Even the best presentation suffers when it is offered in a cold, dry, disengaged tone. To be more professional requires you to allow a certain amount of humanity into your manner towards others.
Neatness. The old expression “neatness counts” still retains its original veracity. Certainly in the present millennium the dress code, at least in the U. S. , has altered to include relaxed, laid back attire. But for those wishing to become professional, relaxed does not translate to sloppy, unkempt or slovenly. You may no longer need a suit to look professional in all occupations or work situations. But clothing that is clean, unwrinkled and matched to the occasion indicates that the wearer knows how to move as a professional in a work environment.
It’s often said that if your work is extraordinary then what you wear is of little consequence. That may well be true. However getting the opportunity to display your work may first require that you get the attention of those in positions of authority in your field. To do that is likely to require you have a handle on the four keys to becoming more professional: being punctual, courteous, personal in your approach and, yes, even neat.