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What Are Professional Manners?

By Nelli Tokleh, Account Coordinator

The term “Professional Manners” is thrown around a lot in office culture, but many people overlook every day taboos that are anything but professional. Employers strive to set a good example of professionalism for their staff, but how can one position these traits? Sarah Doyle Lynch, corporate coach and consultant, visited our office recently to share some concrete guidelines for establishing a professional atmosphere. Here are some tips she shared with us that could work for any office environment:

  • Be social. Have lunch with a co-worker to get to know the other person better and perhaps learn some new insight. Instead of sitting at your desk scratching your head, speak up and ask for help on assignments. It’s also important to provide continual updates to your boss and other team members.
  • Stay positive. Monday mornings may be a drag, but check your negative attitude at the office door. Keep up a positive attitude. Who knows: If you find ways to stay happy at work, others might just follow your lead! Also, keep office gossip and ranting out of your conversations with clients and bosses.
  • Personal versus professional relationships. Sometimes we have a tendency to get too buddy-buddy with our co-workers. How can you not overstep the professional boundary? Set the rules. You want to be there for your team at all times when it comes to business, but don’t feel obligated if you pass up a happy hour invite with them.
  • Think before you speak. If you have something serious to tell someone, ask them to come into your office to talk privately. Keep those comments out of the social scene where others may accidentally eavesdrop.
  • Consider your hygiene and personal appearance. Like it or not, your appearance at work will be judged by others in the office. There’s no such thing as being too professionally dressed. Consider small factors such as neatly pressed clothes, clean shoes and clothing that fits your body type. Your personal health should not be overlooked either. If you are truly sick and contagious, stay home. No one wants to catch your cold.
  • Be respectful. Whether you are talking to an intern or the CEO, they all deserve the same level respect.

What does professionalism mean to you?