What is Professionalism Anyway?

While leadership is often the face of the organization, every team member within it is important in building the relationships between clients and the company. Each and every interaction is critical because they define the company’s reputation. How we carry ourselves in person, on the phone, and via email is the first and most crucial piece to kicking off a successful relationship.

When thinking of “a professional”, we often think of one who carries themselves with confidence, one who has a deep understanding of their field, and one who takes care in their appearance to show up in a way to represent the company in a professional and appropriate manner. However, it truly goes even deeper than that.

Merriam Webster defines professionalism as “the standing, practice, or methods of a professional, as distinguished from an amateur.” When we show up, especially to our first customer-facing meeting, we need to look the part. Research finds that we have seven seconds to make a first impression and in those seven seconds many aspects of who we are are determined. This article from Forbes.com discusses how to improve your first impressions in customer-facing meetings stating, “Within the first seven seconds of meeting, people will have a solid first impression of who you are – and some research suggests a tenth of a second is all it takes to start determining traits like trustworthiness.” The first tip discusses appearance stating that small things, such as doing your hair and makeup, can make you look more influential and “smiling is shown to be a psychological signal of altruism.” The second tip is to speak slowly which allows the client time to fully digest what you’re saying. Finally, maintain good posture to feel and exude confidence. (Forbes.com, You and Your Business Have 7 Seconds to Make a First Impression: Here’s How to Succeed by Serenity Gibbons, June 19, 2018) Forbes.com -You have 7 Seconds to Make a Good Impression

The article below from Nation1099.com states, “Professionalism is about meeting deadlines, returning emails and phone calls promptly, being polite, and doing the job right the first time.” These essential aspects of professionalism are important for demonstrating accountability and building relationships with clients over the long term. 6 Essential Client Facing Skills

One of the final aspects of professionalism that I want to mention, is authenticity. The article from INC.com below states that authenticity means being “authentic about who you are and to approach the customer with a sense of curiosity.” Showing that we as individuals and trusted representatives of our companies care about our clients and customers allows opportunities for trust to grow. This shows our fiduciary responsibility to taking care of our customers and their issues in the most effective and efficient way rather than being in the relationship primarily for ourselves; a demonstration of integrity. Rules for Face to Face Meetings.

How we show up as professionals, no matter the internal team we’re on, is a direct reflection of the company we represent. We want to be remembered in the most positive light and show that as both a company and an individual we will go above and beyond for our clients. Each team member has this gifted responsibility in building the continuing reputation and image of ourselves and our company.


By: Maile Janssen,

Iowa – Healthcare Technology Account Manager