Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Workers distinguish themselves with enthusiasm

What is the best way to communicate professionalism?
Jo-Ellan Dimitrius has what she calls "Magic Pills" that do the job for you. They are: eye contact, smiling, handshakes and greetings, posture and enthusiasm.

I rely on Dimitrius' judgment because of her outstanding record of evaluating appearance and behavior for trial lawyers when they are picking juries. Her book Put Your Best Foot Forward isn't new, but it is a gem.

All of us know that eye contact is important, although many people in highly technical or isolated working environments feel uncomfortable making eye contact. Get over it.

It is the fastest way to establish a connection. It matters, just as smiling creates a sense of warmth and openness. As for a good handshake, remember to shake someone's hand web-to-web without regard to gender. As you know, business is genderless. And good posture instantly tells another person how proud you are of yourself and what you do.

But enthusiasm is the classic trait that truly sets a person apart on a daily basis. The very fact that you are on information overload and always pressed for time can easily sap you of your enthusiasm, although a professional never lets that happen.

All of us have issues with workloads and time constraints, and if you let yourself fall into the trap of believing that yours are greater than anyone else's you'll soon find yourself acting out the role of the victim you believe yourself to be.

Don't assume victimhood

Herein lies the rub: If you see yourself as the victim of too much work or not enough time, others can easily assume you can't be the candidate for a prime assignment or a promotion.

Why would someone choose you for a task that can boost your career, if you look like you may not have the energy to make it through the day?

The old adage "Fake it till you make it" is the watchword for attitude. Believe it or not, everyone needs more time and less work, so don't become the poster child for workplace burnout.

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