Professionalism Starts with “You Guys”

One comment we frequently hear from employers is that recent graduates don’t seem as polished in the professionalism department as they could be. Texting instead of calling, using emojis in emails, and answering the phone with a “Hey, what’s up?” instead of a “hello” are all signs of a lack of professional communication skills. In some workplaces, this may be ok, but as the Culture and Manners Institute points out, it’s always better to “err on the side of formality.” Here’s some wonderful advice from their Tip of the Week:

“Hey guys! It’s time to talk about informal language.

That means not starting an email salutation with “Hey” or using “guys” to refer to everyone.

If someone says, “Thank you,” our response should be, “You’re (or You are) welcome” and not “No problem” or “No worries.”

Why should we care? Because other people care about this… a lot (or a great deal.) They tell me about it all the time.

Don’t freak out. That doesn’t mean they are old fashioned, uncaring, unfeeling stiffs. You might be surprised to learn they are people who are pulling for you, professionally and personally. (If you argue that you don’t want to be judged because of your informality, that train track runs both ways, Honey Bun.)

The whole idea of etiquette is to make the people around us more comfortable. Some think being informal makes people more comfortable. But sometimes, informality creates discomfort.

Err on the side of formality – in emails, snail mails and the spoken word, especially with people who are new to us. And even with people familiar to us with whom we have a businesslike relationship.

Instead of “Yeah” and “Nope,” kick it up a notch to “Yes” and “No.”

Not to say we should look unkindly upon the informals, if their intentions were honorable. Personally, it doesn’t bother me when people say, “No worries,” because I know they meant well. I have been known to let slip a “Yeah” or a “No problem” myself. Chillax! I’m working on it.

But I never say, “My bad” in place of “Excuse me,” or “I’m sorry.” That’s really irritating.

Err on the side of formality.

Glad we could have this talk. Love ya’ gobs.”

To find out more about professionalism, etiquette, and manners, we recommend checking out the Culture and Manners Institute at www.cultureandmanners.com.

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