The Importance of a Top-Notch Tone

By Scott Signore

Having worked at a number of PR agencies before Matter – and proudly sharing that I had a great experience at each stop! – I can credibly comment on the kind of in-office behavior that helps keep an environment professional even when tension with clients and colleagues arises. It’s important for staff at all levels to operate in a way that supports professionalism in the office, and here are a few recommended ways to keep a top-notch tone:

First, keep the foul language out of the office. You may be comfortable letting a few choice words fly, but your colleagues may view such behavior differently. In addition to setting a poor tone, foul language demonstrates a meager vocabulary, as if you have so little to say that you need to emphasize your content with brash demonstratives. Don’t devalue your smarts or offend your colleagues, and save any foul language for another venue.

Second, do the right thing and dress respectfully – if not for you, for your colleagues. If you give minimal thought to your appearance, you’re sending the message that you give minimal thought to your work, too. Perhaps you dress more casually once in a while, but keep in mind that those with whom you interact will form an opinion based not just on how you act, but also on how you look.

Third, don’t punch the clock – you didn’t sign-up for that type of gig. A career in PR and social media requires you to embrace early mornings and late(r) evenings, and you need to be attentive to activities happening off hours. And, please don’t ignore what you see on your phone or in your inbox – that’s far from the “team player” message that you want to send to your colleagues and clients.

Fourth, be a self-starter and get things done on your own. If this isn’t clear, I suggest you look around and consider the workloads of your colleagues and support staff. They, too, have things to be done, so spare all of them silly requests and ridiculous inquiries, and get it done on your own. Knowing when to ask for help is a key attribute of good agency leaders, and don’t you want to be perceived this way?

And, finally, good PR and social media agencies have channels for sharing feedback regarding client activities or agency happenings. Take the smart high road and maintain a supportive and encouraging vibe – particularly during challenging situations. You have to be practical, sure, but be level-headed in your reaction and your suggested route to success. My experience strongly suggests that professional growth – and business growth! – is stymied by taking any other approach.

Any other common sense attributes of a professional environment?