Keep it “professional”

Dec 11, 2017

There’s something to be said for looking and acting the part if you want to be recognized as a professional. I think sometimes people in our business forget that. Here are some examples:

  • Vehicles. If the company owns or leases them, they should be branded. That means consistent colors and graphics on every single one of them. They should also be kept clean. And they should be appropriate for the clients you serve. Government clients, for example, don’t like to see your people in what they consider to be excessively-flashy vehicles.
  • Attire. I always say dress appropriately. And the fact is, that varies by client. If your clients wear jeans and golf shirts, you should not wear a suit. Conversely, if your clients always wear suits and dress formally and you go in jeans, that may not be right. Ditto with ties. Don’t show up wearing a tie in a company where none of the male employees do so. And women, cocktail dresses are never appropriate for work. “Appropriate” is the word when it comes to dress.
  • Email. Return them, promptly, and with no spelling errors. Your people have got to have the idea that if someone responds to their request they should say “thank you.” An email response should not get dead air. And use “we” versus “I” in most cases. We all work for companies. That’s one of my pet peeves.
  • Office space. Keep it clean. Keep the lights on. Keep the bathrooms and kitchens clean. Keep the trashcans from overflowing. Keep the magazines in the lobby fresh. Don’t let stuff pile up on the reception counter. Don’t let your conference room turn into a lunch room. Have some art on the walls. Keep the place well-painted. Don’t let anyone make their individual work space a dump.
  • Music. If you have music playing in the building, make it appropriate. Rap? Heavy Metal? NO!
  • Entertaining. Most of your clients or employment candidates don’t want to go to Olive Garden. It sucks. You will look bad if you take them there. Ditto for Applebee’s. It is terrible. Take them somewhere nice, or somewhere local in flavor with some character.
  • Website. Get someone with some graphic design talent to look at it. If it needs to look better, make it so. Everyone goes to your website to learn more about you. Look like a “real” business.

Any other hints on looking more professional you’d like to share with your fellow readers? Send them my way. And meanwhile, have a great week!

Mark Zweig is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at

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About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.