What is so unique, authentic, and different about your personal brand from a handwritten thank you in a world of email, text messages and instant messages? The answer: keep promises and come full circle, even if there is a conflict or you have no answers.
Friends and co-workers are generally surprised when you take the time to inquire. How many emails have you received saying, “Thanks for getting back to me so quickly?” or “I appreciate your follow up and your provision of this information?” You are feeling great and getting an extra surge of dopamine in your brain, right?
Take a minute and think about how well you are doing as you work through it. Take out a piece of paper and a pen for an informal “Real Deal” quiz. Rate yourself on a scale from 1 to 5 (1 is the lowest, 5 is the highest).
- How often do you do this when you commit to writing a recommendation or review on LinkedIn?
- How fast do you get it if you promise to introduce colleagues for networking purposes?
- Do you meet new people you get to know after a conference?
- How often does a team member need to remind you when they ask for information?
- How often do you reply when a salesperson sends you a cold call email?
You probably thought to yourself as you read, “Oh my god. I have room for improvement. “So no formal scoring is required!
Don’t Feel Bad We live in a world where multitasking is part of our daily survival. We balance work, family, money, household needs, friends, health and exercise, to name a few. Many of us entertain ourselves through the day saying, “Everything is great. Everything is great here. I am great. I’m great.”
Unfortunately, in solving our follow-through challenges so we don’t undermine our personal brands, there is no program management office to help us with our day-to-day follow-up. As professionals, it’s up to us to make sure we do what we say. Here are some simple tips:
- For the moment, follow: When you’re having coffee with someone who needs an introduction, stop, pull out your smartphone, and do the introduction. If you’re doing it in the moment, it’s up to the other person to kick the ball forward. It’s one of the few times that using your smartphone in a coffee shop or restaurant, or multitasking in front of someone else, isn’t rude.
- Write it down: Tasks on our to-do lists are usually not forgotten and get done.
- No thanks: It is okay to say “no thanks” or “decline a request or invitation”. Sometimes we just have to do it and not feel guilty. Imagine if the Community Bank client had said to the Executive Coach, “I’m not a big LinkedIn user and I’m sorry I can’t give you a recommendation. I would be willing to serve as a reference if someone else Customer would call. “
- Lose the temptation to ignore: When someone sends a long email request, ask the person to cut through the details and specify what they need or want. If the task is too daunting, let the person know that you are having problems and need extra time, or talk through it. If you regret making a promise to connect someone with a coworker, let them know it’s not a good time. Just don’t ignore others.
Remember, people don’t just listen to what you are saying. Your credibility, trust, and personal brand integrity depend on what you do. Imagine a game of Simon Says. If you said to your group, “Simon says, put your hands on your hips” and you put your hands on your head, what do you think would happen? More than half of the group put their hands on their heads.