All too often, great work at the office is overshadowed by an unprofessional, unpolished appearance. How you carry yourself can impact nearly every aspect of your work. Whether you’re giving a presentation or interviewing a job candidate, it’s important to have a polished presence. You won’t become a polished professional overnight, but there are a few things you can practice to become known for your professionalism around the office.
When it comes to physical appearance, we are often worried about our hair or clothes. However, you will instantly look more professional simply by standing tall. One of the first things you should work on is your posture while sitting and standing. How many times have you been in a meeting and someone is slumping over the table? Don’t let that be you. Your colleagues will take you more seriously, and you will have an air of authority. Good posture takes time to develop, especially for those who work long hours behind a desk. Try exercises that will help strengthen your back and placing a reminder on your desk to sit up straight.
You should already do this, but to look polished to your colleagues, you should remain respectful at all times. Respecting those around you will also help them respect you in return. When you are facing a coworker who is difficult or you disagree with, maintain patience. Notice if you often talk over others or bully them—these are traits no one finds professional.
Be aware of the details. If you want to be seen as polished, it needs to be a part of your personal brand. Another way of saying this—don’t be a slob. When you’re writing, check your grammar. When you send an email, don’t forget the attachments. When you follow up, always know exactly what you’re asking for. Ensure you’re greeting people at the beginning of meetings, and check that your tie is straight and you’re not wearing two different shoes. Details matter.
Don’t let twists and turns throw you off balance. How you deal with challenges displays your level of professionalism to others. Do your best to plan ahead and stay flexible. This includes jumping in to assist others when needed. Remember, no one likes the person in the office who panics at every challenge.