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What Does It Mean To Be Professional In Business?

– Contributed content –

Man holding business card


22 August 2018. We hear so much about being professional in business, but what does it actually mean? The answer is a long one, and there is more to say than we have space for here, but let’s cover the basics.

For starters, it is about looking professional. You won’t be taken seriously if you turn up to a formal business meeting in a pair of jeans and a loose-buttoned shirt. It’s about making a good impression, instilling confidence in the people you introduce yourself to, by dressing smartly to convey that professional image. You turn up to meetings in the appropriate attire, you take time to clean yourself up to get that great first impression, and you ensure you get to where you need to be on time so you don’t rush in looking disheveled.

Going beyond looks, it is the way you act around others. It’s how you speak to your clients and customers, and it’s the way you respond when faced with questions or queries. If somebody says something you don’t like, it would be unprofessional to rant and rave, throwing your proverbial dummy out of the pram. You need to be respectful at all times, showing self-regulation in the way you behave, proving your worth in business by being accountable for your words and actions.

It’s about being honest, showing integrity in the way you carry out your business. You don’t break promises to your customers. You don’t over inflate yourself in front of your peers. And you don’t commit to practices that are going to get you sued. You’re not perfect, and you will make mistakes, but if you purposefully behave in any way that can damage your reputation, then people will consider you unprofessional, and that will affect the way they do business with you in the future. If that is, they do business with you at all.

Being professional extends to all facets of your business. It’s about your website, having something that is professionally produced, and not something that looks like it was slapped together within minutes. It’s about your business cards, handing over your contact details on something that looks and feels good, and not something that has been photocopied with cheap materials. And it’s about your staff; the people who work with you need to convey an air of professionalism as they go about their work with clients and customers, as they will impinge upon your professional image if they look or behave in any way that could be considered unprofessional.

Finally, it’s about being able to talk the talk and not just walk the walk. You may look the part, but if you don’t have the competency to match your dress sense, then people will have doubts about your credibility. To be professional, you need to work on your skills, gaining knowledge so when you open your mouth to speak to others, you are conveying information that proves your worth in business. Qualifications will help, but at the very least do your research before walking into a meeting or speaking at a public event.

By doing all of these things, you will look and play the part of somebody who can be considered professional in business. So, to build your professionalism, consider each aspect. You will earn both trust and respect if you do.

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