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Fashion & Finance: Manners matter

By Emily Burns Perryman
December 14, 2012

When we discuss one’s style in the workplace, it’s not just about your prevailing mode of expression through clothing, shoes, accessories, or your physical appearance, but about the way you conduct yourself in the business space.

There are things you can do and actions you can take to be more successful than others. There are also actions that will hold you back. So today, we’re reviewing some helpful etiquette pointers to refresh your memory on what will keep your overall work style successful.

First, check out this helpful article: Business Etiquette: 5 Rules That Matter Now. I believe these are all great reminders to follow while at work, and I especially love No. 1, to send a thank you note. We receive so many electronic communications these days (and don’t get me wrong, I absolutely live on the web and through email!), but a handwritten note takes time and thought, and I really enjoy receiving them from people. It makes me believe that they value our business relationship.

Next, remember that it’s how you present yourself to others that allow people the chance to form those critical first impressions. It is crucial that you are prepared to present yourself as a professional at all times, so here are some helpful reminders.

Arrive early, but not too early! It’s never good to be late to an important business meeting, as people’s time is very valuable. But on that same note, it’s also frustrating to me when people arrive to my office too early, and I feel pressured to drop what I am doing and meet with them ahead of schedule when we had an agreed upon time to meet. I also cannot stand when vendors show up unannounced on a casual “drop by.” Consider always making an appointment in advance by finding a convenient time for both parties to meet.

Be alert and well-rested. Try and get a good night’s rest the night before you have something important like a big presentation or client proposal meeting. Pay attention to those who are speaking to you or the group and join in on the conversation when engaged.

The Golden Rule! Remember that kindness and courtesy go a long way, and the way you treat others will dictate how they treat you. Coworkers of all levels should be treated with respect and remember that a well-liked employee can go far within an organization!

Polished and professional. Scuffed shoes, wrinkled shirts and unmatched socks, belts or ties do not help build credibility. Take the extra time to plan out your outfits in advance and make sure they fit correctly and are clean and well cared for. Dirty or messy apparel or accessories will create the wrong image.

A firm handshake. Ever receive the “limp fish?” Those handshakes are the WORST! When meeting someone for the first time, be sure to shake hands with a gentle firmness and make good eye contact.

I hope these easy pointers were some good reminder to brush up on. Have any of your own to share? Make sure to comment on this post on Accounting Today’s Facebook wall to get the conversation going!

Emily Burns Perryman is a State University of New York Fashion Institute of Technology graduate and started her career in New York City working for companies including Giorgio Armani Le Collezioni, Christian Dior and Jones Apparel Group. She is now e-Marketing Communications Specialist for Freed Maxick CPAs in Buffalo, N.Y., and was named the Association for Accounting Marketing's 2011 "Rookie of the Year." Follow her on Twitter @FreedMaxickCPAs or email her at



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