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How to Carry Yourself Professionally at Work

by Audra Bianca

You can derive many positive benefits from building a successful career, including economic benefits for your family and feelings of achievement and personal fulfillment. On the other hand, carrying yourself poorly in the professional world can negatively impact your life by diminishing your self-esteem and making it harder to provide for your economic needs. Since people often make judgments about who to trust and work with based on their perceptions, it's important to give attention to your professional demeanor. You want your professional life to help you accomplish your goals for your personal life.

Observing Etiquette

Even if you pay attention to things like dressing professionally and smiling often, you can still make other mistakes when it comes to carrying yourself as a professional. Mistakes can lead to co-workers, bosses and clients having less-than-stellar impressions of your character. For example, give a person your undivided attention when he speaks to you. Lean slightly forward and copy the position of a person's shoulders, especially in a job interview.

Avoiding Distractions

Minimize personal habits that make you appear to be emotionally or mentally uninvolved with work. Don't fiddle with a notebook or briefcase or check your email or text messages when someone is speaking. Multitasking during meetings can be rude, signifying you don't care much about the speaker's ideas. Schedule your time so you can give full attention to meetings, trainings and other interactions. This applies to times away from the office. If you are at a conference or visiting clients in their homes, it is crucial to avoid distractions and show attentiveness.

Maintaining Posture

A slumped body could mean many things, from being tired, weak, or afraid to lacking in self-confidence or otherwise not being suited to a task. If you stand up straight and sit erect, you will convey confidence and professionalism. Firm posture can also help you stand out as a leader. Avoid creating doubt in people observing you. Let them see that your body language matches your words.

Caring for Your Appearance

It's also essential to pay attention to how you dress for work, groom yourself and maintain a healthy appearance. Keep up with regular haircuts, manicures and pedicures, skincare appointments and other personal care routines. Eat healthy and exercise, because being overweight or obese leads people to conclude the wrong things about you. According to a Forbes.com article, Deborah Rhode wrote in "Beauty Bias" that several studies have shown a connection between excess weight and "negative stereotypes like low self-confidence, lack of discipline and emotional volatility."

About the Author

Audra Bianca has been writing professionally since 2007, with her work covering a variety of subjects and appearing on various websites. Her favorite audiences to write for are small-business owners and job searchers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and a Master of Public Administration from a Florida public university.

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