Reputation is important, especially in the workplace. I guarantee you can list at least three people you work with who you either don’t take seriously or don’t respect. On the other hand, I’m sure you can also name those individuals that the organization couldn’t live without. It’s easy to compile this list from your own viewpoint and experiences, but –
Have you ever wondered what your coworkers think of you?
Inc. recently compiled a list of ways to positively influence change in the eyes of others regarding your image in the workplace. Below are my top choices as well as some tips to help you start implementing change in your day-to-day interactions.
1.) Keep your word.
If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Write your to-do list at the beginning of each day. Then, make sure to update it as the day goes on. Have it handy while you take notes during a meeting. Any action items called out should be immediately transferred to your to-do list.
TIP: I like to add “completion dates” next to certain tasks so I can prioritize them. In sales, the biggest part of our job is follow-up. We go on all these meetings, make a ton of promises, and if we don’t do proper follow-up – we lose the opportunity (or even worse, the customer).
2.) Be responsive.
If you miss a call, make sure to call back in a timely manner. Do not make the person have to follow-up with you again. It’s better to send a quick response setting an expectation for when they can expect a real response, then not to respond at all.
TIP: Here are a few of my usual responses: “Saw you called. In back to back meetings all afternoon, can I give you a shout back around 5:00p.m.?”, “I’m swamped with end-of-quarter deadlines, can I call you back on Friday?”, “I will look into this, but it’ll probably be tomorrow morning before I have an answer, is that okay?”
TIP #2: Set a reminder on your calendar to call or e-mail someone back. I do this all the time and it’s a lifesaver. You can also use the “follow-up” flag on the actual e-mail to add it to your task list in outlook.
3.) Be prepared.
Lack of preparation not only shows immaturity, but it also shows a lack of respect for the person you’re meeting with and the organization you’re representing. This is by far my biggest pet peeve. I say that only because I learned harshly from my own experiences early on in my career. Being in sales, there’s nothing more frustrating than setting up a meeting with one of my customers as a favor to a vendor or internal resource and they show up unprepared.
TIP: Schedule prep time on your calendar for the meeting. If you are presenting to a customer, schedule an internal prep call to review and get on the same page. Even if it’s a ten minute call, this will help you look like a rock star in front of the customer.
4.) Dress to impress.
You’ve heard the term. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. If you have a great job already, dress the part. The way you dress says a lot about how you view yourself. If you want to be taken seriously, don’t show up with an untamed beard, dirty jeans, and a polo.
TIP: In sales, you dress for the customer. If the customer’s culture is suit and tie, you wear a suit and tie. If it’s jeans and a polo, you dress business casual.
TIP #2: For women, professional dress is very subjective. I always look to Ann Taylor and Banana Republic to help keep me in line with what’s in style but also classy and professional. Unless your job is in fashion ot the arts, I don’t recommend wearing the latest trends especially if they are loud or could be considered unprofessional.
5.) Always be on time.
There may be ten thousand excuses in the book, but none of them matter. Your coworkers don’t care and neither do your customers. It’s disrespectful, period. It shows the people you work with that their time isn’t as important as yours.
TIP: Wake up three hours before you have to officially start your day. Plan and prepare accordingly including traffic delays.
One last thing. Constructive criticism has helped me more than anything else in my career. If someone offers it, take it. Don’t take it as an insult. Take it as a special tool that’s being offered to you and use it to better yourself. The feedback from my mentors has drastically helped change my image at work over the past six months.
If you have any tips or feedback, please share them below. You can also shop this look on my shop page and check out some of my favorite professional styles for work here. Thanks for reading and remember, you and coffee can do anything!
Photos by Karen Lao.