Professional Communication

Meeting and Greeting

Meeting new people and building strong relationships is an important component of professional development. It is expected that you will meet and interact with new people (faculty, staff, fellow students, alumni, employers, etc.) on an almost daily basis throughout your time at Temple. Whether you are a shy, quiet individual or an outgoing, people-person, meeting new colleagues and clients can be intimidating. It is important that upon meeting new people, you always exude the same professional demeanor. People will be more willing and likely to want to help you and work with you if you are able to make a lasting positive impression on them. The following are some helpful hints to implement when meeting new people:

  • Cell phones should be on silent/ turned off and out of sight. When you are meeting with someone, your full attention should be on them!
  • Introduce yourself "first and last name" and thank them for meeting with you. Do not assume that they know who you are. Let them know who you are and your purpose for the visit. For example, "Hello Mr. Smith, I am Jane Doe, a senior from Temple University. Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me today. I am interested in applying to your master’s program in developmental psychology, and I am excited to learn more about this program.”
  • Always extend a firm handshake. Handshakes that are too limp or too strong can give off the wrong impression. A firm handshake will promote a confident, positive demeanor.
  • Maintain proper posture and eye contact with individuals you meet.
  • Do not forget to SMILE!
  • Repeating the name of the person with whom you were just introduced will help you to remember it.
  • Never speak negatively to or about someone else.
Telephone

When possible, it is always best that you meet with someone in person to create a more lasting impression and allow for a stronger connection. However, there are times that faculty, staff, and employers may prefer to speak with you over the phone due to scheduling conflicts. When speaking with a professional on the telephone, it is important that you maintain proper phone presence. Think about how you view someone on the other end of your phone conversations-oftentimes you can tell if they are giving you full attention, you can hear if they are typing or completing another task, you may even be able to tell if they are in a good or bad mood. Remember that people can tell the same information about you! The following are some guidelines to help you participate in courteous phone conversations:

  • When using a cell phone, make sure that you are in a location with strong service so your call does not drop.
  • Your voicemail messages should be professional, as well. If you are giving out your phone number, you never know when someone is going to call. State your name so that they know they have reached the right person. You should also consider removing any ring back tones that you have.
  • If you have arranged a telephone conference, be sure to call at the precise time scheduled. If the call is coming in to you, make sure that you are prepared and answer the telephone on the first ring. It is impolite to let the phone continue to ring.
  • Answer with a welcomed greeting. For example, "Hello, this is Joe Smith.”
  • Smile! Believe it or not, people on the other end of the line can tell if you are smiling. By smiling, you are sending off positive signals and promoting a confident demeanor, which will make others more comfortable talking with you.
  • Stand up, or maintain good posture while speaking on the phone. Again, this exudes confidence and a positive presence.
  • Avoid distractions and surrounding noises. It is important that both you and the person(s) on the other line can clearly hear and understand what is being said.
  • Do not eat, type, or participate in any other activities while on a phone call. Offer the individual your complete attention.
  • Do not mumble or speak too fast. Talk slowly and clearly to ensure that you are being understood.
  • Remain professional at all times. Even if you are feeling relaxed and comfortable with the person on the other line, it is important to remember that this is a professional conversation. Be careful not to reveal personal details.
Email and Internet Usage

Contacting people via email has become one of the most common forms of communication. While it is certainly acceptable to connect with faculty, staff, and employers through email, it is important that all of your communication is professional. People may not take you seriously if you are not able to communicate in a professional manner, thus, they may not even consider meeting with you or helping you. It is important to follow several guidelines when sending emails to ensure your professional reputation:

  • Make sure you are using a professional email address. Your Temple email is appropriate, but you may want to change it from tua55555@temple.edu to jane.smith@temple.edu. By using your name, you are making it easier for someone to contact you and your email will stand out more in their Inbox.
  • You may be accustomed to sending text messages and emailing your friends using shorthand abbreviations such as "lol", "yo", "u", ":)", etc. It is important to remember that you are communicating with professionals, and all types of shorthand and symbols should be avoided.
  • It is also important to use proper grammar and professional language in your emails. Instead of saying "you guys" say "your program". Instead of saying "we're" say "we are". Avoid using any type of slang, contractions, and inappropriate language.
  • Make sure that you check all spelling and punctuation to avoid errors.
  • You always want to be as conservative as possible with professional emails. Follow business letter formats by including a salutation, body separated by paragraphs, closing, and signature (typed).
  • It is also important to watch the use of bold, italics, capitalizations, etc. when writing emails. Some people will perceive writing in a completely different way than intended. Be careful as to what you are writing and try to understand how another person may interpret it.
  • Never put into writing anything negative that could be used against you. Once you have emailed something, it is available for anyone to use against you. You must use caution and be considerate as to what you are sharing with others.
Social Media Etiquette

91% of hiring managers and job recruiters surveyed use social networking sites to screen prospective employees.

69% of job recruiters say they rejected a candidate based on what they saw about them on a social networking site.
- Mashable Survey

Follow these tips to enhance your online image:

Social media is becoming increasingly more popular among students and professionals alike. The use of FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. allow for interaction among friends, family, faculty, and staff. While social media outlets can be extremely beneficial to your networking abilities, they can also be detrimental to your professional reputation if they are not used in the correct manner. While some social media outlets may be considered for more personal use (i.e. Facebook), it is important to note that faculty, staff, and employers may search for you on these sites. Therefore, if you decide to participate in the various forms of social media, it is essential that you put your best foot forward at all times and continue to present yourself professionally. Following are some guidelines that you should follow to ensure that your social media usage is helping—not hurting—you:

LinkedIn
  • Ask trusted managers, supervisors, professors, etc. for recommendations after you’ve been connected to them. It’s an easy way to manage sources for references and build your credibility.
  • You can post a “What are you doing..?” status on LinkedIn similarly to Facebook and Twitter. This is a great way to inform professional business contacts of your professional accomplishments.
  • There’s no limit to how much information you put on your LinkedIn profile. Give details about specific job descriptions, titles you’ve held, and your specific responsibilities.
Facebook
  • Keep private conversations private. Do not use wall posts or comments to share personal stories, emotions, relationships, etc.
  • Do not have yourself tagged in inappropriate pictures, and do the same for your friends. Avoid tagging your friends in pictures that could get them in trouble (remember, once you post it, someone can always find it).
  • Not everyone wants to be your ‘friend’. Some consider Facebook to be a strictly friendship based networking site. If you’re looking to build a professional rapport, consider approaching someone through LinkedIn or Twitter.
Twitter
  • Twitter is a great resource for tracking specific companies and industries. Try looking at www.wefollow.com to find companies or people to keep an eye on.
  • Don’t be afraid to promote yourself (humbly). If you get a promotion, find a job, or were delegated a task at work share it with others. Remember they’re following you as well.
Social Media Resources
LinkedIn
Facebook
Twitter

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