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Building a Professional Brand – Starting Your Work Day
How you start your days is a very important aspect of your professional brand. The beginning of each day offers a form of mini first impression. How your co-workers perceive you during these first few moments of the day will affect their long-term perception of you. As such, you should begin planning a routine for how you deal with others. You should also develop a routine that will demonstrate your values and professionalism.
Some of our recommendations are as follows:
- Be On Time for Work – A professional is considered reliable. Part of this means showing up on time for our appointments. While arriving on time for the start of the work day is less strict for many than a planned meeting, it still reflects upon your professional brand. We naturally resent others who do not have to bear the same burdens that we bear. Getting to work on time with all of our necessary parts can be highly difficult for some – especially for individuals who are managing family obligations. Others who do not have the same obligations or who do not have difficulty in arriving to work on time will resent you for not showing up on time as well. Further, those who have these difficulties, but are able to show up on time, will resent you if you are routinely late.
- Stay Informed (Listen to the News) – You need to be genereally aware of what is going on in the world. These are the topics of conversation that are likely to come up in routine conversation throughout the day.
- First Daily Contact with Others – Be cordial in the morning. Make certain to smile and say good morning when you come into contact with someone for the first time that day. Always be inviting, but be careful about engaging in conversations too early. On Monday mornings, it is courteous to ask others if they had a good weekend. This opens the door if they wish to converse with you; but, it also allows them to avoid conversation with a short and simple answer. Note: The other person will likely reciprocate by asking you about your weekend. If you sense that they are not interested in a full conversation, give them an anecdote about the weekend and tell them that you will tell them about it later. If you do engage in conversation with any co-workers, make certain it is low-volume and non-intrusive to others. The early morning can be a hectic time for individuals, as they are trying to plan their activities for the day. Disruptions during this time can be particularly bothersome.
- Small Acts of Community Kindness – We already discussed starting your day by saying hello and being cordial to others. You should seek to identify other things that you can do to start the day that present yourself as thoughtful and a team player. For example, you may turn on the lights, make the coffee (and clean up the grounds), adjust the room temperature, warm up the copy machine, occasionally bring in bagels or donuts, prep the space for an early meeting, etc. All of these things can do wonders to build your personal brand. Don’t forget – demonstrating cultural fit with your superiors is more important for getting promoted than any other factor – including higher levels of performance.
- Start by Organizing your Day – At the beginning of the day, it may be tempting to jump on whatever task is most appealing. A better practice, however, is to take some time to first organize your day. This will generally mean setting your daily agenda, reviewing your emails, and developing a to-do list. Make certain to organize your to-do items in order of priority (not ease of completion). When going through your emails, provide some level of acknowledgment to senders who need something from you. Try to set their expectations as to when you will be able to get around to their requests. If these individuals require an in-person meeting, this is a good time to propose a meeting and to add them to your calendar. Developing a reputation for punctuality in responding to emails (or other forms of message) is a highly-respected professional attribute.