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10 Tips for Behaving as a Grown-Up Professional

Poor impressions are seldom created deliberately. Reflecting on how others see us makes a good impression a certainty.
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When you are embarking on a new career or venture, it is a good time for some introspection on your professional foundation. The employee handbook won't dispense all of the protocol needed to ensure you build sound impressions in your new relationships and environment. 

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Office Email Etiquette

What you say, and how you conduct yourself, can trump your work-ethic and innovative ideas. It is frustrating when you feel you are doing everything right on the job but are still unsure where you stand with leaders or clients. Are you viewed as “the total package” or someone with just a few good features? 

Use these plays to help solidify your professional relationships and personal brand in the launch of your career transition.

1. Show enthusiasm in what you do but do not over-promise results

2. Ditch the colloquialisms and slang. You want to be professionally mature, not college cool.

3. Stay away from political or religious conversations. You may want to even avoid voicing your position on current events.

4. Before you decorate your cubicle or office ask: how could this be interpreted by a peer, boss or client?

5. Recognize when someone's day is upside down. A business meeting delayed until next week will be more productive than a rushed and distracted meeting today. 

Related: Office Etiquette: The Rules of Saying Thank You

6. Don't show up empty-handed when invited to someone's house.

7. No triangle conversations. Don't speak for other people. In conflict, make sure all parties are present when discussing.

8. When upset, detach from emotion before you speak or make a decision. If you are not “wired” this way, discipline yourself. Start training your self-restraint muscle.

9. If someone is good at what they do or has helped you in some way, tell them. We don’t have to wait until the eulogy. 

10. Handwritten thank you notes go a long way when someone has helped you.

Before executing your plan to quickly climb the career wall, take a minute to ensure you are fortifying your professional footing. Self awareness is the first step in professionally growing up.

Related: The Rules for Eating Lunch at Your Desk