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5 Tips all NFL Rookies should know before they start their NFL careers (Or principles to apply in YO

This is an article that I wrote on the eve of the NFL Draft. I believe these tips are just as important for anyone in business no matter what you do for a career.

As we approach the NFL draft, and after witnessing (along with the rest of America) some of the atrocious behaviors of some veteran NFL players recently, here are 5 tips for NFL Rookies before they sign that contract with their new employers. (These same tips can be applied to anyone during their professional career.)

First, congratulations to these rookies (new employees) for getting the opportunity to hopefully be drafted or signed by a team (company). I know it is their dream to have a chance to play professional football! They are going to be a part of one of the most recognizable and powerful brands in the world…the NFL. And now, how they act, behave, dine, drink, tweet, post, etc. will be observed for everyone to see.

Their brand will now be a combination of their name and of the team (company) for which they will be playing (working). They will be branded as a part of this new team.

So before they sign that contract, here are five things that they should know about their new business careers… (because it really is a business, after all)

Your Reputation

You have worked hard over the last 4-8 years (or maybe longer) on your game (education) and your reputation. But in 5 minutes, or 1 tweet, post, or maybe one regrettable action, your reputation could be shot. We live in a world now where everything we do can be videotaped, photographed or audiotaped for everyone to view INSTANTLY. Your reputation (and brand) is priceless; don’t tarnish it. In fact, protect it with all your might. Don’t let one silly night or action damage you for the rest of your career.

Know the 4 C’s

Know how to make a positive first impression wherever you go. You can do this by what we call the “4 C’s of Business Etiquette”…

Confidence *** Class *** Character *** Conduct

I’ll add one more “C” that is just as important make them all Consistent.

Dine as a Professional

You will be able to wine and dine in some of the fanciest restaurants, hotels and country clubs in the country. Do you know how to “dine?” Do you know the proper table manners that are more important at this dinner than what you are eating? Do you understand the protocol of business dining? If not, find yourself a personal coach that can teach you. These will be skills that you will have with you the rest of your life. You don’t want to embarrass yourself and your team because you don’t know how to dine.

Actions speak louder than words.

Your actions and behaviors are just as important (if not more) “off the field,” as they are “on the field.” Companies don’t tolerate someone whose actions make it look bad. If you start hearing phrases in the locker room (office or break room) from your teammates (co-workers) about other teammates like “he’s a bad apple” or “be careful if you hang around him” or “he needs to be held accountable for his actions” or “his actions are going to need to speak louder than his words,” RUN, don’t just walk away from those people.

Know your brand.

We hope that your career is long and prosperous in the NFL (the company you work for). But, this much I know…The NFL (the company) and its brand will survive without you. It has for a long time and will continue to do so in the future. The question is, what will be the future of your brand? If your personal brand is solid, you will more than likely be known as an upstanding and honest professional. So, find a role model in the locker room (office) who you believe carries himself (or herself) the right way and has those “4 C’s” that I wrote about earlier. Stick to that person, like “Stick-um.” Model your behavior and actions after him (or find a business professional that can do the same thing for you) and you will succeed with the rest of your career.

Whether you are an NFL Rookie, a business executive or a recent college graduate looking to make a presence in the work force, I believe all five of these tips apply to you in any industry or profession. Remember, people want to do business with people they like, trust and respect. Make yourself one of these people.

Bob Pacanovsky

Bob Pacanovsky is a Keynote,Conference, and Corporate Speaker and Trainer who works with companies and organizations to develop the Black Tie Experience—creating an impression that LASTS through leadership, service, actions, and behaviors.

To learn more, contact Bob Pacanovsky: Call (330) 352-6084 or email

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