I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Sure, hard work and a smile will get you far in the PR world, but there are plenty of easy tricks for young pros to make a good impression at work. This business is built on the little things and ensuring those around us are happy… use those innate skills to your advantage!

What’s annoying and what’s helpful?

When I started out, I was terrified of annoying my manager or much more experienced coworkers. These four tips will help, if you’re feeling a little nervous too:

  • Offering solutions and conducting research before making that phone call or sending that email is quite literally the most helpful thing you can do. Asking for help is fine, but packaging that request with a proposed solution is even better. Asking questions is fine, but if your manager has to use Google to find the answer, you could have done that without bothering them. Prove your worth and value, and ask Jeeves before asking your boss.
  • Letting your team know you have capacity to jump in is helpful. It’s proactive and proves you’re thinking ahead.
  • Though easy, grumbling about your workload is annoying and doesn’t get you anywhere. Speaking with your manager to find a mutually beneficial solution is a sign of maturity and professionalism. Asking for help is not a weakness.
  • Speaking up is helpful. Clients, managers and colleagues can’t hear your good ideas if you don’t take a chance and say something. Instead of being glassy eyed or surreptitiously checking emails, you proved you’re paying attention, even if your idea isn’t used.

And now, a few specific tips:

How to: Get in touch

  • Call someone if you need an answer immediately (or just want to hear a human voice!).
  • Email someone if you don’t need an answer right away.
  • Instant message someone if you need something that the person can answer off the top of their head.

How to: Email the right people

  • Send an email to someone if you require a response.
  • CC someone if they need to see it or require the email for their records.
  • BCC someone only after warning them you’ll be doing so.

How to: Prioritize face-to-face time

  • If it takes longer than ten minutes to write an email, you need to schedule a meeting. If you’re having trouble writing it, your recipient will have trouble understanding it.
  • If a meeting with multiple people takes longer than half an hour, it’s time to break out an agenda.
  • 1-1 meetings are precious: Let conversation flow freely. If it goes longer than your set time, there’s a good reason.

Have any other useful tips that I missed?

Ryan Collins is Social Media Specialist at AKHIA.