How not to look like a fool in your professional life


We all have felt embarrassed at some moment in our lives but what if you feel like a fool every now and then or people make you feel like you are a fool at your work place?

You are at the right place,  you are going to know some insights that can help you improve yourself and maintain a smart image at your work place.  But before that you need to keep in your mind that you can’t be seem smart always , sometimes there might be a genuine reason of not knowing something or some uncontrollable situations which may make you feel embarrassed but sometimes it’s totally fine and you must accept it all.

There are  things you need to look into-

1• Be Punctual

2• Keep yourself updated

3• Maintain grooming standards

4• Be attentive in meetings and briefings

5• Try to learn other than your primary task

6• Finish on time

7• Think before you speak

8• Know your hierarchy

9• Try remembering important contact numbers or mail id’s

10• Have a good communication skill

11• Don’t express too much about yourself

12• Don’t try to prove a point

Let’s understand each point below-

1• Be Punctual-

Now you must be thinking how being Punctual will help you look smarter or not a fool? It’s obvious that when you reach somewhere on time or in time you already feel confident,  it makes you feel complete and if you are late you feel like you have missed something or you end up feeling under confident. Punctuality makes a huge difference and add productivity in your life. When you are Punctual you will always be calm , you will not make any blunders in hurry or hotchpotch will never be around you. You will always have a choice to settle yourself first and then jump into any of the tasks. But what if you are always late? In case if you are late or not Punctual sooner or later you will be noticed somehow and won’t have a good image because someone who is always late can’t be trusted for some important meetings or tasks. Also you will make mistakes because you are under confident and this is how you will be called a fool. Also remember once someone have your image on their mind already its very hard to change it. Hence you must practice being on time from now itself.  Also remember being Punctual simply doesn’t mean you have to be on time only at your workplace,  you literally need to live it wherever you are. This is how you will start respecting yourself and also will respect other’s time.

2• Keep yourself updated-

Yes, keeping yourself updated will make you look smarter and also you will gain your confidence in facing your seniors and Co workers. There are many ways to keep yourself updated like going through the emails, reading internal magazines or newsletters or checking notice board time to time and being attentive in meetings and briefings. Also you must have a rough idea of overall industry you are working in, for that you can just go through daily news paper or you may watch any news channel. Imagine, one day in a meeting there is something being asked about which was already circulated by the email within the team and you are pointed out for that particular matter than what if you didn’t go through the emails, won’t you look like a fool? Yes of course you would. So this is why you need to keep yourself updated all the time and for this you don’t have to stress yourself hard. Just involve it in your routine,  the first thing you do while entering in the office,  as long as you punched in for attendance,  immediately after it have a look on notice board,  check out for the internal magazines on the common table, log into the system,  go through the emails and newsletters.  This may seem lengthy but once you start doing it , it will be easier for you. Start it from now.

3• Maintain grooming standards-

Every organisation have their own grooming standards and each employee must follow it strictly. Grooming standards may consist of basic hygiene and clothing. 

To comply with it you must do following each day without fail-

• Taking bath

• Brushing your teeth

• Shaving everyday

• Wearing clean and ironed clothes

• Shoes must be polished

• Use a decent deodorant or perfume

• Keep your hair tidy

• Use mouth freshener

• Keep your nails trimmed and clean always

• Use hair colour as per company grooming standards

• Wear a formal wrist watch

• keep a handkerchief

• keep a comb always with you

You must be wondering how maintaining grooming standards will help you not look like a fool? Well it will. When you start Maintaining proper grooming standards you feel confident while interacting with your co workers and seniors.  You feel presentable and you don’t have to prepare yourself in case any auditor or employee of other departments walks into your work premises.  You can immediately greet them confidently and also can benefit yourself of rapport building.  This attitude will not only make you look smarter for the outsiders but your seniors will also have confidence in you and may offer you future responsibilities.

BUT what if you are not tidy and properly groomed? Imagine if in this case someone from the other department arrives in the office, you will not feel confident facing them. Even if they try to approach,  you may try to sneak,  what if you are caught some how,  now you have to face this situation. Now the real battle starts,  as you are not properly groomed ( may be you didn’t take bath or you may have bad breath or your shoes are not polished or your clothes are not ironed or your nails are dirty) you will feel embarrassed and you will end up making some blunders.  You may speak something wrong or you may look blank or you may seem like someone is lack of knowledge.  These things will make you look like a fool. It will not be unnoticed by your co workers and seniors too.

After such incident you will loose your confidence in everything.  You won’t even be able to face your colleagues.  Try having good grooming standards,  initially you may feel burdened but gradually you will enjoy it. Once you are habitual of cleanliness you can’t live without it and believe me its the best thing you can do to your body.

4• Be attentive in meetings and briefings –

Being attentive in meetings and briefings will always help you because if you are attentive you will be prompt to anything being asked and it will also make your seniors to remember you by name and face. This way you may have  a different image of someone who is smart, confident, talented and active.

5• Try to learn other than your primary task-

When we work , we are usually being assigned a certain task or assignment but there are many tasks or things we can learn in the office once we are finished with our primary task.

What happens when you learn other task- when you try to learn other tasks the first thing happens within yourself is you feel confident, smart, knowledgeable, skillful and talented.  The second thing happens is others notice you and you are being called the initiative taker.

What will happen when you learn other task- In case of any emergency or someone who does a certain task is not available for some reason and you are being asked to do it, you won’t have any problems doing it because you have already learnt it. But what if you didn’t learn, again you will look like a fool for not doing a simple task. Hence you must try to learn some simple and small tasks without being asked and given.

6• Finish on time-

Human brain is made like , we don’t finish anything untill we are being asked or do in most of the cases. In case if you are being assigned for a certain task try to finish it on time without fail.

When you do this you seem to be a responsible employee and person. Also you give others confidence to trust you for future.  Never wait for any of the tasks to finish untill someone pokes you about it, if you do so people will call you lazy, irresponsible and gradually you will be called a fool. Also if you don’t finish anything on time it will keep irritating you unconsciously and it will affect your other tasks too. You also may start feeling irritated by people around you and it may lead to some tensions between you and your co workers. In stress you may speak or behave strange or rude or blank,  which will also make you unattractive for others.

7• Think before you speak-

Are you someone who just speaks out whatever is on your mind? If yes then you must not skip it and read carefully.

It is always said that we are judged by our appearance and that’s true but what next?

The very second thing we are judged by is how we speak and what we speak,  hence its extremely important to think before you speak.

It’s always better to keep quiet than speaking something which is un appropriate or funny or awkward or out of the current discussion.

A few things to keep on mind to improve in this term-

•Let the other person finish

•Listen carefully

•Have a normal voice pitch

•Have same voice pitch during the entire conversation or discussion

•Don’t speak irrelevant

•Don’t answer or speak immediately,  have a small pause

•Be firm when needed

•Don’t laugh or smile unnecessarily

•Be respectful during the entire conversation or discussion

•Don’t use slang or jargon

•Speak in official language

When you think carefully about all the above points you will come to a conclusion that speaking is very sensitive and one must be aware about it all. If you miss even one of the above it will affect you and the entire conversation.

For example there is a meeting between your and the other department and during the discussion you are keep using jargons which the other department’s employees are not able to understand and its affecting entire conversation and this is what making you look like a fool.

Imagine you are keep interrupting others before they finish, it shows you are not a good listener or not professional or you are impatient or you don’t respect others. This way also you may be seen as fool person.

So better you wait for the other person to finish. To conclude you must be extremely careful while you speak. Initially it may seem very much unnatural but soon you will enjoy it and it will add quality in your personal and professional life.

8• Know your hierarchy-

There are times when you may not have any idea about who the COO is of your company or how the CEO looks like And this is what you need to know.

There may be a situation that your CEO walks into your office or in the office premises and you end up not even greeting him/her however they will not react to it but your co workers may wonder and you may be seem like someone who is least bothered about knowing anything and anyone.  Also it may lead them to think that you are a fool after a few incidents like this. Hence its very important to know who is who and how they look like.

9• Try remembering important contact numbers and mail id’s-

It’s always good to remember important contact numbers and mail id’s because it will help you making your work easier and smooth.

In case if you can’t memorise them note it down in a pocket diary.

Imagine there is phone call from your higher management and they ask you about a contact number and you don’t have it handy,  you get panic, you ask others and you end up making hotchpotch. Won’t you look like a fool?

On the other hand what if you remember it or you keep it handy, as long as they ask  you about it, you are all set to nail it down. Now how would it look like, won’t it look smarter?

Yes of course.  That’s why you need to make some efforts in this regard. 

10• Have a good communication skill-

It is very obvious that we are what we speak.  Hence you must have a good communication skill. But what if you don’t have a good communication skill? Have a look on this example- Suppose you are in a meeting and there something you need to speak out and for that you are knowledgeable enough but you can’t communicate properly and you end up looking like a fool. Without having a good communication skill all your other skills and talent seems nothing when it comes to express them verbally. For this you may have difficulty speaking a certain language or expressing yourself or simply you are under confident.  To overcome this you can start practicing by yourself or you can join some classes online or off line. There is no particular time or age to improve yourself.  Never hasitate just because you feel it’s too late to learn something.  It’s never too late when it comes  to improve yourself.  By learning expressing yourself or once you gain some confidence to face people you not only look smarter but you start growing personally and professionally.

11• Don’t express too much about yourself –

Sometimes you may be a real fool but you can hide that or minimise the foolish incidents just by not speaking too much or not expressing too much about yourself or not being too emotional every now and then. When you express too much about yourself there are chances you might say something that shows that your a dumb or its easy to make you fool or you are a fool. Even people may use you by knowing about you and once people start making you fool obviously you will look like a fool. On the other hand in case if you are emotional fool but untill now only you know that , guess what, once you start expressing about yourself people will catch that you are an emotional fool and they might try to use you by making you fool, and of course you will look like a fool again. Another thing is when you speak too much,  the very first thing will happen is people will start getting irritated by you, they might think that you don’t want others to speak however that’s not true. They also might think that you are an attention seeker , also while speaking too much you may end up expressing your emotions everytime that will create an image of someone who is an easy catch to fool. Hence you need to minimise expressing yourself and talking too much.

12• Don’t try to prove a point-

There may be times in your personal or professional life  when you have some discussions where you might feel that you are loosing control over the conversation or the discussion is no more in your control, which is totally fine because in the discussion everything and everyone can’t be fully right and fully wrong. And if someday you are wrong you must accept it. Suppose you are in a position where you feel like you are going wrong and which is a fact, you must accept it as soon as possible and stop arguing or proving your point forcefully.

When you start proving a point there are chances that you may face below-

• You may feel that everybody is against you that might take you in a wrong direction.

• You may feel angry and that can lead you to speak unnecessary things.

• You may take things personally, if someone cross questions your statement that may lead you fighting with that person.

• You may feel irritated if you can’t prove your point that can make you speak something irrelevant or out of the topic.

When you make all these mistakes or behave in this manner definitely noone can stop thinking that you are a fool.