Your Professional Identity

Office

Unless you started work yesterday, you donít see your office the way new customers will. Contact some people who have never been there before and ask them to come by for a self-guided tour. Then, ask them the following questions.

Exterior
- Was the office easy to find?
- Was the Extension sign visible?
- Are the grounds and landscaping orderly and well-maintained?

Interior
- Is the entry area neat and clean?
- Did someone greet you when you entered?
- Are restrooms, offices and meeting rooms easy to find?

Ask yourself:
Are publications and other materials up-to-date and neatly arranged?
Are staff awards, media recognition and other positive news visible?

Service

Ask yourself:
For counties that loan out materials like videos:
Are loan-out materials easy to access?
In clean and working order?
Are materials for pickup close at hand and labeled?

Ask a variety of people to visit. People with disabilities, young visitors and elderly persons often have different needs.

Make sure publications and other materials are up-to-date and neatly arranged. Display the Extension logo, staff awards, media recognition and other positive news prominently. Keep loan-out materials accessible, clean and in working order. Have pickup materials close at hand and clearly labeled.

Attire

Wear professional attire that is neat, clean and appropriate for your job. Wear the necessary gear for fieldwork, and change your clothing once fieldwork is completed. Wear your nametag.

Telephone

Main Line

Greet callers with the words "Cooperative Extension, Adams County Center." Following these words with your name or an offer to help makes for a warm and personal greeting.

If callers request an absent staff member, let them know when the staff member will return. Do not offer personal information or speculate as to the staff member's location or reason for absence. Offer to send calls to the absent staff member's voicemail, or suggest someone who can handle the call immediately. Stay on the line to ensure the transferred call goes through as intended.

Night/Holiday/Inclement Weather Greetings

If your phone system supports it, use a pre-recorded greeting after hours, on holidays or when bad weather causes the office to be closed. Ensure the correct greetings are used. Learn if the system can be updated remotely, and assign a staff member to this duty should bad weather strike overnight.

Individual Lines

Callers should be greeted with the words "Cooperative Extension, X County Center, this is (your name)." Do not assume all calls are internal transfers. Say Extension’s name so callers know whom they have reached. Answer calls within the first three rings.

Handling Irate Callers

Listen carefully to be sure you understand the caller's purpose and reason for being upset. Remain calm, and do not take the comments personally. Avoid interrupting; hear the caller out. Do not become defensive. Contact your supervisor if the caller is abusive or profane. Address the problem without placing blame. Do all that you can to resolve the problem, and follow through on any agreements or commitments. If you cannot resolve the issue, refer the caller to someone who can.

Voicemail

Update your voicemail greeting regularly and accurately. Tell callers when you will be away from the office, whether it is for a few hours of fieldwork or a planned vacation. Do not use the message stating that you are on the line or away from your desk unless that is true. If you are out and callers get this greeting, they expect a call back within the day. Your absence message should state when you plan to return and include the name of someone who can handle questions or emergencies in your absence. If your system allows it, let callers know if they can reach an operator by entering 0 on their touch-tone phone.

Email

Return email promptly. If time does not allow for a full reply, indicate you received the mail and will be in touch later.

Use the vacation reply mode when you are absent. The message should include your name, when you will return to the office and a referral to someone who can assist the sender in your absence.

Don't use the signature file for anything besides contact data. Personal quotations or other personal statements in signature blocks are not permitted. Supervisors are responsible for enforcement of this provision. Learn more.

The followingthe tag line that has been approved by N.C. State's Office of General Counsel as a recommended addition to email signatures. This is not a requirement, but employees may desire to use this tag line to inform third parties of the public nature of university business, particularly email communications.

  • "All electronic mail messages in connection with state business which are sent to or received by this account are subject to the N.C. Public Records Law and may be disclosed to third parties.”

Further information regarding public records can be found on the Office of General Counsel's website.

Public Records and You

According to North Carolina General Statutes 121 and 132, every document, paper, letter, map, book, photograph, film, sound recording, magnetic or other tape, electronic data processing record, artifact, or other documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristic, made or received in connection with the transaction of public business by any state, county, municipal agency, or other political subdivision of government is considered a public record. Many public employees are surprised to learn that the word "document" also applies to email sent and received. Some choose to make note of this public status in their email. Learn more.

Phone Listing

Because the county pays for county center phones, the county gets to choose the words and location of your phone listing. If you are consulted on this text, suggest the words "Cooperative Extension X County Center." If your office chooses to pay the one time set-up and monthly fee for a separate, white page listing, the suggested text is "N.C. Cooperative Extension Ė X County Center."

University Letterhead, Envelopes and Business Cards

All Cooperative Extension employees, even those based in counties, use letterhead, envelopes and business cards that correspond to their affiliated university. These materials can be ordered directly through each university. Examples of business materials are shown here, along with information on ordering each item.

NC State University

More information on the university's brand can be found at the following link:
http://www.ncsu.edu/brand

LETTERHEAD - Ordering: The order form is available on the web from CALS Communications Resources page. The order form should be printed off, filled in and faxed to Communication Services, 919-515-6938.

Extension letterhead for county centers and Extension departments on campus is printed with the N.C. State graphic image and the name, "North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service" at the top of the page. Counties and departments add their own mailing address, according to the following directions:
- Spacing: The county or department beneath the top red line and aligns under the word "Cooperative." (Note: Center name begins 2 inches from right paper edge and 1.25 inches from the top paper edge.)
- Typeface: Arial is preferred typeface. May be used in 8-point type.
- Address: Information should be listed in this order:

  • Name of center or department, in bold type
  • Mailing address, with city, state, zip
  • Blank line
  • Phone number (use periods to separate: xxx.xxx.xxxx)
  • Fax number, followed by (fax)
  • County or departmental URL

BUSINESS CARDS - Cards with the N.C. State graphic identity can be ordered through WolfExpress. Order forms are available at:
http://www.fis.ncsu.edu/ncsubookstores/pdf/business_card_form.pdf

Size: 3 1/2 x 2 inches
- Name and title: Listed above the word "University"
- Name on first line, bold
- Basic title, second line: "Extension Agent" or "Program Assistant"
- Agricultural agents: Third line should include area of specialization; "Agriculture - Livestock; Agriculture - Field Crops"
- FCS and 4-H agents: Third line includes subject matter area, either "4-H Youth Development" or "Family and Consumer Sciences."
- Do not use the Extension logo or other unit-specific logos on business cards.

ENVELOPES - Extension centers are notified when it is time to order envelopes, and address changes may be made when placing a quarterly order. The envelope order form is available on the CALS Communciations Resources page.

County envelopes must include the return mailing address for your county center. Envelopes of various sizes are available for order through CALS Communications on a quarterly basis.

NC A&T State University

Information on the university's brand can be found at: http://fac.ncat.edu/pr/sm.pdf

LETTERHEAD, BUSINESS CARDS AND ENVELOPES
All university departments will follow the guidelines outlined for stationery
materials to be ordered through the Purchasing Office. The templates for
university letterhead, envelopes and business cards are available in the
Purchasing Office (provided on 3.5 floppy disk, Macintosh version) and on
the university's homepage with an access code. Please consult with the
director or assistant director of purchasing at 336-334-7555.

The letterhead will be printed on 24-pound Capitol Bond paper with 24
percent cotton, white or paper of equal or greater quality. Ink colors are
PMS 288 blue and a flat PMS 873 gold. The template describes the exact
location of the seal, the university’s name, and the name of the individual
department or department head at the top of the letterhead. The bottom of
the letterhead will include the land-grant status, the association with the

UNC System, the department's address, telephone number, and fax number.
Email addresses at the bottom are optional. In the case of letterheads with
joint names or an external agency or funding source, please consult the
Office of University Relations regarding appropriate place of the symbols.
Blank letterhead for page 2 and beyond will be consistent with the official
letterhead on 24-pound Capitol Bond paper with 24 percent cotton, white
or paper of equal or greater quality.

The #10 envelopes will be printed on 24-pound Capitol Bond paper with 24
percent cotton, white or paper of equal or greater quality. Ink colors are
PMS 288 blue and a flat PMS 873 gold. The template describes the exact
location of the seal, the university’s name, the name of the individual
department or department head, and the department's address. In the case
of joint names or an external agency or funding source, please consult the
Office of University Relations regarding appropriate place of the symbols.

The business cards will be printed on Mohawk Superfine Smooth White,
Cover or paper of equal or greater quality. Ink colors are PMS 288 blue and
a flat 873 PMS gold. The template describes the exact location of the seal,
the university’s name, the name of the individual department or department
head, the department's address, and telephone number. Email addresses at
the bottom are optional. In the case of joint names or an external agency or
funding source, please consult the Office of University Relations regarding
appropriate place of the symbols.

Stationery will be designed according to the university style manual for
university organizations such as the Board of Trustees, Student Government
Association, Staff Senate and Faculty Senate.

Questions concerning the A&T Style Manual and use of symbols should
be directed to the assistant vice chancellor for university relations at
336-334-7861 or email: proffice@ncat.edu.