It is important to present yourself and your company in a very professional manner. You are trying to communicate to your clients and customers that you have something compelling to offer—something that solves a problem they have or meets a need in a truly unique way. So you will want to be professional in the way that you deliver your message to your target audience.

Professionalism is conveyed in many different ways, both “internally” and “externally.” You should take some time to think about both.

Internal professionalism communicates to your customers that you have the knowledge, expertise or background to deliver for them. Think about what skills your customer would expect you to be strong in, and then find ways to subtly convey that professionalism to them. Are there educational milestones or certifications that would be meaningful to your clients? Have you or your company won any awards that would impress them? Put these on your company letterhead or include them in your proposals.

External professionalism involves communicating through some sort of outward expression the qualities that you would like to put across. A professional looking brochure, a polished presentation - even polished shoes – can make a lasting impression. Conveying professionalism externally involves paying attention to the little things. Pay attention to details. Take the time to decide what little cues you can give to express the qualities you want to convey. If you are dealing with upscale clients, you will want to match them by wearing rich fabrics and stylish designs. People may not overtly notice these details, but it will still make a lasting impression.

So what does professionalism mean to you…or more importantly, to your customer? Take some time to think about what qualities you want to convey and how you can communicate a sense of professionalism in subtle (and not so subtle) ways.

Rahna Barthelmess is a branding strategist and author of the soon-to-be released personal branding bible Turbo-Charge Your Career. You can find out more about branding and personal branding at

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One Comment

  1. smartin
    Posted August 26, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for your insight, Rahna. I think that throughout our busy, hectic, deadline driven days that we sometimes forget how we are portraying ourselves, and ultimately our businesses. From the way we dress, to the way we answer the phone, we need to always take stock of how we affect our customers’ perceptions. And when it comes to printed communications, take a minute to “dress it up.” Use the “good stuff.” Paper with cotton content and a watermark sends a very clear message that the document is important, worth being read. It carries more weight, in more ways than one. Try it and see.

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