9 Common Sense Tips on Professionalism That Aren’t so Common


Everyone has heard the adage that common sense isn’t so common. It’s true. Especially in business and office politics.

Here are 9 common sense tips on professionalism that aren’t so common:

1) Show up on time

I’m amazed at how many people show up for meetings late. Plan to be there 5 minutes early so you can prepare.

2) Don’t check your phone during meetings

This is the worst. What’s so important that you can’t wait to finish a meeting before checking your phone. Even worse is when you take a call during a meeting. It can wait.

3) Be prepared

Have your notes, reports and presentation ready to go. Not a half hour before a meeting but well ahead of time. Stay late or come in early but be prepared.

4) Don’t interrupt people

The most infuriating thing for many people is being interrupted in a conversation. Be a good listener and let people finish. It’s tempting to jump in to their conversation but letting them finish shows them that you are listening and are considering what they are saying.

5) Don’t cancel meetings

Things come up during the day that are sometimes unavoidable. But consider how your colleague/client/boss feels when you cancel on them last minute or worse kick them out of your office during the meeting if something comes up. People need to feel like their time is valued. If you frequently cancel meetings at the last minute, the message you are sending is that you don’t care about their time.

6) Micromanagement

Nobody likes to be micromanaged. The constant back and forth slows things down and eventually results in late deadlines and bad employee moral.

7) Follow Through

If you’ve agreed to do something, follow through. Don’t make excuses. Don’t go back on your word. Just do it.

8) Be Decisive

Don’t waffle over decisions. Gather the information you need and make a decision. Once it’s done, stick with it.

9) Optics matter

The office is a political war zone. Optics are important. So if your actions differ from your words then people will notice. Make sure to communicate and be honest about your intentions. Nobody likes to be caught off guard.

What other tips would you add to this list?

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One comment

  1. I would add to this, “Respect other people’s time in meetings”. Stay on task for the whole meeting, pay attention so you don’t ask questions which have already been answered, and end on time. If you aren’t done by the end of the meeting, schedule a followup, don’t just keep going.

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