Setting aside cultural differences for a minute, there are some basic behaviors that are considered to be just good professional manners if you are doing business in the United States. It’s interesting that those same behaviors have come up over and over in studies on customer loyalty, service and believe it or not employee engagement with and loyalty to their leadership.
It seems pretty basic, people like to do business with people who are friendly, flexible and easy to engage. Think about your favorite places you do business with today, your favorite restaurant, your cleaners, maybe the gym you haven’t been going to because you are procrastinating? Don’t you like to work for people who show those same qualities? Wouldn’t you love it if everyone on your team displayed the following all the time;
Smiling- Science has shown it takes more energy/muscles to frown than just smile.
Shaking Hands -Sorry germophobs but this is considered a professional courtesy and sign of respect in the U.S.
Using a person’s name – First or last depends on the relationship(a customer would always be by last name)
Eye Contact – and body language show you are paying attention, show engagement and subtle confidence.
Attentive Listening– to understand the other person, not hearing to just respond.
Positive Attitude – Showing sincere empathy, being solutions oriented doesn’t have to result in being pulled into a drama.
Enthusiasm – Having a ‘relaxed hustle’, fun. People like to be around people with energy.
And yes, it can be easier said than done to commit these behaviors to your professional character 100% of the time. The question is, how many of these do you display today, right now? How often? How much more effective as a professional could you be by adding just one into your own style? Professional mastery doesn’t mean you must change who you are, but simply create some momentum, some gravity, some professional evolution. Could it hurt to try just one?