Tips to Impress Any Professional

Eller PDC Coordinator Student Stories

With the Executive of the Year luncheon coming up this week, it’s difficult not to fantasize about the amazing experience of being the leader of a major corporation.

Take a moment and consider your dream career path. Do your thoughts include “Future CEO,” Future Creative Director,” or “Future Managing Partner,” at the most incredible organization you can think of?

If so, amazing! But remember, you’re probably not alone – millions of business students across the world are dreaming of the same thing – to be considered successful, in a position of power & responsibility, and looked up to by many. What a lot of students don’t remember, however, is that it’s a long journey to the top, and impressions you make upon your peers & mentors along the way is highly crucial to your success and can be what sets you apart.

Here are a few tips to keep you sharp and prepared for any encounter you may have with a professional who you may want to impress:

  1. Life = Your Personal Business:
    1. First & foremost – think of your daily life as a career path in itself. People are always watching to see the way you interact with peers, or how you treat others. There is a saying that, “Character is how you treat someone who can do nothing for you.” Whether those you are interacting with can make a life-changing decision for your career or they are just merely a stranger on the street, being kind and thoughtful to all you encounter speaks volumes about your personal brand.
  2. The Company You Keep:
    1. Every person has a spectrum of types of friends they maintain – some are to study for that final exam, others are to have fun on the weekend. No matter where your relationships fall, be cognizant of how they are perceived by others. Whether it be through social media, in-person interactions, language you use, or guilt by association, it matters who you portray as an important part of your life in the professional setting. Focus on speaking on relationships that have brought you growth as a professional and a human – to most, perception is often reality.
  3. Please & Thank You’s are Wonderful Things:
    1. This seems pretty basic, but sometimes we forget a genuine “Thank You,” after a meeting or conversation with someone does wonders. If someone compliments you for your incredible work on your latest project, take pride and say “Thank you!” If your mentor gives you tough but constructive criticism to become even better, say “Thank you!” Don’t forget to also show your appreciation for those who go out of their way to help you. Remember not only to say it, but to mean it.
  4. Emails Are Essential:
    1. Little things make huge impressions. When it comes to writing an email, make sure you greet your audience, use a pleasant tone, and for the love of business, spell your recipient’s name correctly! An attention to detail shows that you are not only a professional in the business, but that you know how to interact with all audiences. Use all the skills you’ve been learning throughout your Eller Experience to constantly grow in this aspect of your personal brand.
  5. Mind Your Manners:
    1. With our generation being so digitally-driven, it’s very easy to disregard basic etiquette skills when interacting in your professional relationships. Don’t want to feel embarrassed about not knowing which fork to use for which course at a business dinner? What about forgetting to open the door for others? Assuming makes us all look unprofessional – just because your customs seem commonplace does not mean that other cultures and groups interact the exact same way. Don’t just stick to your instincts about what seems to you as “proper” – a Google search will save you from embarrassment when a casual and fun conversation may become serious. Here’s a few links to help you hone your manners before your next major interaction:

Business Insider: Tips on Office Etiquette

American Express Open Forum: 15 Vital Business Etiquette Rules

TEDx: Welcome to the New Etiquette – Susan Callender

Remember, at the end of the day, we all make mistakes. If you came too casual to an event, make sure you hold the door for some else. If you arrived late, stay a little longer to help clean up. There is always a way to redeem yourself from your manners-mistakes by constantly trying to grow to the changing audiences you will be interacting with in your future.