PEOPLE have different notions of professionalism. While this term has distinctive concepts based on scenarios, situations and circumstances, people at work need to be informed of how it must be manifested. The definition of professionalism by Merriam-Webster as ‘the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterized or mark a profession or a professional person’ is helpful as it truly defines the ‘attitude’ of people in the corporate world. Yes, I meant it as ‘attitude’.

Professionalism at work is evident in three ways. This is a kind of characteristic where management and staff manifest it in (1) the way they present themselves (IMAGE), (2) the way they communicate (WORDS). And (3) the way they engage their business (ACTIONS).

IMAGE. This is the physical representation of oneself. It is how they are dressed up for the office and represent the establish-ment when dealing with clients. Are you dressed smartly enough to face customers? While most business establishments have uni-forms for the staff, this must be worn with dignity. In fact, it is a total package which includes appropriate footwear, neat hairstyle, well-shaved for men, a little bit of make up for ladies and good posture and bearing.

Para naman sa establishments na ‘di nag re-require ng uniforms, mayroon tayong tinatawag na ‘business attire’. Dito mapa-pansin ang pananamit na ‘smart-casual’.  This kind of clothing shows a relaxed and stylish yet intelligent look. Business establish-ments deal with clients or customers to sell either their products or services; and, in order to do sales, the client must perceive credi-bility or trustworthiness in the company’s representative. The image that they project has a lot to do with their productivity.

WORDS. The manner of communica­ting with customers is equally important too. Verbal communication is a means to build rapport with clients who must eventually like you and earn your respect before you can even sell anything to them. Creating a friendly environment, choosing the most appropriate words, being careful with grammar, diction and voice tonality, and speaking with confidence and courtesy, are notable features of good verbal communication.

While engaging in communication, you must also be cautious of your non-verbal signs as well.  This includes body language, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact and personal space. As example, business people must be cautious of their facial expres-sions. Iwasan itaas ang kilay, ikunot ang noo, sumimangot o kumindat. Ito ay mga halimbawa ng hindi tamang facial expressions ‘pag nakikipagusap sa mga customers.

ACTIONS. Practicing business etiquette is significant in the corporate world. No matter who you are and what you do, your manners will have a direct impact on your professional success. Actions show attitude of professionalism when workers are friend-ly, punctual, competent and skilled in their jobs; when they possess integrity, they work well under pressure, they remain courteous and polite to customers even if they are venting their complaints. Therefore, it is important to learn as much business etiquettes be-fore engaging in business.

Professionalism at the workplace must be evident in all these three aspects—image, words and actions. People at work who manifest this attitude are real assets to the company. They are normally the ones who are considered for promotions and are general-ly successful in their careers.

Source: Verzosa, RF., English for Hospitality and Tourism, 2014

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