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Tips for Impressing Your Boss or Professor

Female employee presenting data to her boss on an iPad.

Tue, 11/10/2015 - 12:21pm

Whether you’re a college student or it’s your first day on the job, impressing those who wield the leverage of authority over your grades or your paycheck is as easy, or as hard in some cases, as showing up on time. Besides punctuality, there are a number of ways to impress your superior in your academic life, professional life, or both.

Promises, promises
If you can’t stick with commitments or deliver on promises, whether it’s a term paper or a budget report, a manager can’t count on you and you can’t count on your professor to deliver a good grade on your paper. Keep your commitments and academic and professional accolades will follow.

Mind your manners
Common courtesies like responding to emails and thank-you phone calls (or emails) add up to a happy ending at promotion time. If you’re in a classroom environment, this can improve your relationship with a professor who might not have otherwise been amenable to offering you an extension on a project or that chance for extra credit.

Police your grammar: verbally and in writing
One universal currency of good relations is great communication skills. If you can’t write or speak well, life is hard, both in the classroom and in the workspace. Without being able to articulate your thoughts aloud or quietly on paper, not only will you not be fully heard, you might not be taken as seriously by a boss or a professor.

Focus, focus, focus
Whether you’re trying to stay awake during a staff meeting or trying not to tweet during a history lecture, distractions can add up to a bad reputation in the lecture hall or the office. Not only will you potentially miss out on hearing important information, but your boss and your professor will take your lack of interest in what they are saying as a sign of disrespect.

Be open and willing
Whether it’s a new chapter in a textbook or a new process implemented at the office, embracing change positively and with a good attitude will not only help you successfully cross transitional bridges like these, but you will impress those who count on you to bear the change well. Employing sincerity is the most important strategy that trickles down to all the other offensive moves you can make to win a positive impression from those who hold your life cards in their hands. If your efforts to impress are superficial or fake they will fall flat, if not today, then tomorrow. Impressing someone doesn’t mean becoming someone else. It means becoming your best self.

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