From the first day at your new job, your boss and coworkers will immediately look for signs that they made the right decision in hiring you. They’ll start to gauge how well you fit into the office and how well you interact with other employees.
Are you outgoing and friendly?
Are you confident and decisive?
Do you represent the company in a professional manner?
Unless you’ve had some type of business etiquette training, you may not realise how important these soft skills are for your future inside the company. I don’t want you to make the wrong impression at your new job, so I’m going to share with you a list of 4 business etiquette mistakes that you should avoid if you want to impress at work:
1) Wearing revealing or unprofessional clothing:
Skirts that are too short, tops that are too low, and clothing that is dirty, torn or just old-looking won’t help you to give a positive impression in the office. Everything you wear to work needs to say that you’re serious about your job, and this includes your shoes! Before you start your new job, go through your wardrobe and make sure you have one week’s worth of suitable clothing for the office. Try your shirts on to make sure they’re not too tight or too low. Try your suit on to make sure that you can move comfortably and confidently in it. And if your shoes are scuffed or the heels are worn, take them to the cobbler for a repair.
Remember: your outfit is the very first thing others will notice about you and it creates a filter through which they will make opinions about you. You have control over this filter. What do you want it to say?
2) Using insecure body language:
Your body language is the second filter through which others will form an opinion about you. If you’re used to slouching, not looking others in the eye, or squeezing to the side of the elevator so you don’t take up too much space, your coworkers and boss probably won’t see you as somebody who is confident and self-assured. They may question your ability to take on larger assignments or client meetings.
In the professional world, confidence is key. It’s the one quality that will get you from “where you are now” to “where you want to be”. And although there are a range of body language gestures you can focus on, it really does all start with your posture. Keep your shoulders back, lift your ribcage up and raise the level of your gaze just a little.
3) Not speaking up in meetings:
The meeting room is your chance to shine. It’s the perfect opportunity to showcase your expertise, your capability and your confidence. Many shy away from speaking up at the weekly business meeting. But from my experience, those who don’t speak up, don’t look like they’re part of a team. Talk about the projects you’ve most recently been working on, or the client meetings you’ve been taking.
And if you don’t have a new project to talk about, don’t worry. I want to share with you a fabulous solution that is sure to make you stand out: take to the meeting a thought-provoking article that’s related to your industry and tell your coworkers about it. The fact that you’ve taken an extra step and have found industry-related information for them and have the confidence to talk about it will really make you look proactive.
READ MORE: How to Not Suck at Meetings
4) Avoiding networking events:
Avoiding networking events can be really tempting, especially for those who are more introverted. But attending networking events is so important for your career. It gives you a chance to be present, and to get to know others in your industry.
As a business etiquette expert, I’ve found the main reason people don’t like going to networking events is because they don’t know who to talk to. So I want to share with you my strategy for choosing the right group to talk to at a networking event: look for a group of three or more people who display open body language. Are their feet and shoulders pointed directly to the centre of the group or are they angled outward inviting others to join? Is there a gap in between people where you can break into the group easier? Once you’ve mastered this strategy for choosing the right group to talk with, networking events will no longer be daunting.
Author: Kara Ronin is an international business etiquette expert and founder of executive-impressions.com. Drawing from 10 years of living an international life, she started the Executive Impressions blog to guide, inspire, and elevate ambitious professionals and entrepreneurs toward an international mindset and an amazing career. Connect with Kara on Twitter @execimpressions.