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When you go to work tomorrow, think of your 'Working Image'.
It can help you achieve more.

Orion PR/Oriel's Study on corporate grooming throws up interesting insights on being 'Professional'

Walk into an office and you will not miss noticing desks decked with funny ornaments and amusing slogans. Well, what does it convey about the professional behind the desk?

Going by the study on corporate grooming and etiquette, decking up the desk is unprofessional and projects a negative working image which can even mar an otherwise good career prospect.

There are hundreds of such tidbits, gestures and behavioral traits that could make a significant difference to how others see you in your professional arena and could impact your level of success.

In a study conducted by Orion PR, a reputation management firm and Oriel, a corporate grooming outfit and headed by Khalid Jamal, its Principal Consultant and CEO, interesting highlights have come
to the fore.

The study is based on a survey conducted amongst senior level professionals such as CEOs and functional heads of HR/Marketing/Finance who have at least five people reporting to them. The sample size was 250 representing industries such as Finance and Banking, Healthcare, Information Technology, Media, Services, MNCs and large Indian corporates based at Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. The survey was conducted over two months period (Jan - Feb '07).

Here is a snapshot of the findings on what makes or doesn't make for a good and professional working image:

What is Working Image?

The respondents were asked to define what they would mean by 'A working Image'. Here is the definition based on the feedback:

"While at work, conducting oneself in a business-like way in every aspect related to work, in terms of both approach and mindset. Thereby, projecting a personal image of professionalism and effectiveness. The sum total of this personal image of individual professionals leads to the projection of professionalism on the part of corporate."

How 'Working Image' helps

All respondents agree that a good personal 'Working Image' results in:

  1. Creating a feel-good factor, essential for personal effectiveness.
  2. Projecting a good corporate image

'Is it essential to have a good
'Working Image'

87% of the respondents say it's very essential, can't do without it. 8% say good if you have one or work on one but it can't be the sole measure for your professionalism. 5% say they don't attach importance to it.

What are the elements of a good
'Working Image'?

(The respondents were asked to list down the elements in descending order, in terms of importance.)

  1. Positive Personal Outlook.
  2. Communication Skills.
  3. Verbal such as good command over Business English (Reasonable command over written English as well), Non-Verbal communication such as body language.
  4. Personal grooming and appropriate attire.
  5. Behaviour and Temperament.
  6. Interactive and social skills.

Common positive and negative traits that could make a difference to 'Working Image'

The respondents were asked to identify positive and negative traits that could make or undermine one's positive image at workplace. Here are some of those traits:

What makes for a good working image What doesn't make for a good working image
Tidy desk Turning up late
Neat appearance. Neither power dressed nor very high fashion & casual
Interrupting others
Switching off or putting the mobile in silent mode during meeting Talking Loudly, Chewing gum or any other stuff
Being punctual and courteous Putting phone down when one dialed the wrong no. instead of apologizing
Sending reports etc on time. Prompt in communication Picking up papers/folders before meeting has finished. Leaving meeting room in mess
Possessing good body language and communication skills Moaning, yawning, gossiping and shouting across the office
Speaking in language that everyone around understands Eating on the desk and letting the empty cups around
Taking initiatives Making personal phone calls. Not returning work-related phone calls
Not gossiping or talking ill about colleagues/organization/customers Abrupt emails without greetings
Offering alternatives rather then saying 'no' Doing , undoing or playing with ornaments
Carrying documents to one side rather than clutched to chest Yawning, cracking knuckles
Not signing in anyone's computer without seeking permission. Not pulling anyone's empty chair without permission Flapping hands / spectacles around as one talks
Not reading novels / newspaper during peak hour Cleaning ears or nails
Looking interested Wiping face
Politeness  

So how does one take care of individual aberrations at workplace in order to develop a good 'Working Image? "At an individual level, one should be conscious, take feedback from friendly colleagues and make a self-image development programme. The first step should be to consciously avoid those traits which are negatives and then work on building aspects such as ideal personal behaviour, grooming and etiquette in order to project a professional working image", suggests Khalid Jamal.

"Today, as corporates face intense competition they are looking at gaining competitive advantage of having well-groomed professionals. And therefore professional conduct and behaviour on the part of individual professionals is more a need now than ever before, especially in service sector. In fact, a large numbers of corporates have already started coaching in corporate grooming for their employees", says Khalid Jamal.

About Oriel

Oriel Specialise in Corporate Grooming, Personal Image Training, Soft Skills, Business Communication and Media Skills. Clients for whom we have conducted programmes include American Express Bank, Unit Trust of India, Tata Teleservices, Bhatia Hospital ,D-Link ,Morgan Stanley ,Reuters etc to name a few.

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