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You know that feeling when you walk into a meeting and immediately realize you are under dressed? Or the eye roll you give your co-worker when an intern walks in looking like she drank a little too much last night and your biggest account is coming in for a meeting? It’s that feeling of utter embarrassment and concern that maybe you lost credibility at that meeting or your company lost its edge when the hungover intern answered the door. That utter embarrassment and wonder of “so what are they thinking about me? Surely they will laugh about this back at the office…”

The truth is, public image does affect your company. It is a public relations issue. If you are selling high end watches, yet your store is painted with primary colors, consumers won’t take you seriously. First impressions are tough, but there are a few things to do to improve your image.

Phone manners
Think of how your grandmother instructed you to answer the phone. I’ve had interns answer the phone and immediately start saying things like “What? Who is this?” And I was mortified. You don’t want the client to always remember your company as rude because of a simple phone call. Introduce your company, introduce yourself and ask if you can be of assistance to the caller.

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Unclutter the desk
Clean off those coffee stains. Your coworkers and visitors are judging you. According to staffing firm Adecco, 57 percent of Americans admit they judge coworkers on the cleanliness of their workspace. Many associate a messy desk to laziness. However, chances are your desk is messy because you are busy. Set aside one day each week to clean off you desk. Organize papers, throw away trash and, for everything that is good and holy, wash your crusty coffee mug. (Friday before I leave work is when I clean my desk. This provides a fresh and clean aura for Monday morning.)

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Disinfect your space
Germs travel quickly in the office. From wiping our noses then touching another’s keyboard to sneezing right into the conference phone, it’s easy to infect your coworkers or clients. It will make your coworkers and visitors appreciative, plus it will help the office smell fresh.

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Pick up after yourself
When you walk into a meeting, you don’t want to trip over paper boxes, gym bags or anything else that could be in the middle of the floor. A clean floor will lighten up and eliminate clutter. Try sticking bags inside your desk or on hooks in a closet.

 

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Mind your manners
Dust off your etiquette book to really make an impression. Things like being on time, preparing for meetings and using simple “please and thank you” go a long way. Always be respectful to co-workers, clients, investors or interns. This will also show you have great integrity.

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Respect the situation
It’s important to always look professional while being sensitive to your client. For example, if you are headed to a corporate meeting, you should probably grab your suit or pencil skirt. However, if your client is more casual, you can dress down to make them feel more comfortable. It’s important to appear put together. Practice good hygiene and wear clothes that fit properly do you don’t send the wrong message.

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You can have the best public relations or marketing plan in the world, but the buck starts and stops with you. Take a look in the mirror, and make sure you’re putting your best foot forward.

Step up your marketing.

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