I know the world is changing. I know people don’t talk on the phone anymore, and it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that teenagers send digital kisses to each other to save themselves the trouble of having to do the actual work of making out. And I know the way you do business is changing, too. But no matter how technologically advanced we become, there are at least four things that will always, always¸ ALWAYS help you stand out in a crowd.
Picking Up the Phone – If you text me, I can answer you when I feel like it and while I’m doing 6 other things at once. If you email me, I can ignore you. But if you call me and I’m foolish enough to answer, you will have the closest thing to my undivided attention as it’s possible to get.
Sending a Thank You Note in the Mail – I know it hurts your hand to write more than two sentences longhand. I also know your handwriting is barely legible even to you. But even a typed thank-you note that arrives in the mail is 17 times better than a thank-you email – which most people don’t bother with either, by the way. The last person I hired got the job for several reasons, but one of those reasons was because he sent us thank-you notes in the mail. Am I easily bought? Absolutely. And so are a lot of other people.
Paying Attention While Someone Else is Talking – That’s my super polite way of saying TURN OFF YOUR PHONE DURING YOUR MEETINGS!!!! Don’t turn it to vibrate, because that buzzing in your pocket (or on your wrist) will make you start to salivate the second it happens. “Who’s calling, it must be important, someone loves me I have to answer it now!!!!” If you want others to take you seriously, you might need to give them some indication that the stuff they say isn’t boring the crap out of you.
Meeting Face-to-Face – Here’s one where technology is currently failing us, since exactly every time I’ve seen someone on a conference call they’ve put it to mute and are either scrolling through Facebook or catching up on emails until they feel the need to unmute themselves, say “Totally agree,” and then hit mute and go back to not paying attention. I know that conference calls and virtual meetings are occasionally necessary, but they will never be more effective than face-to-face interaction.
Basically, if you can force yourself to put 5% more effort in than everyone around you, you’ll win respect or customers or a promotion or whatever it is you’re looking for. That will always be true. At least, until we turn ourselves into cyborgs – at which point, just so you know, I’m done with all this. I’ll find an island somewhere and farm coconuts instead. And be happy, too, until the cyborgs come for me.
For more information on business practices check out available courses from The Jeff Havens Company in the OpenSesame course catalog.
About the Author: Jeff Havens is a speaker, author, and business growth expert who has spoken to over 1,000 companies and associations across the Americas and Asia. The mission of his training company, The Jeff Havens Company, is to provide serious solutions in a seriously funny way through their video-based courses that tackle everything from industrial safety to corporate ethics to customer service, and all of them are as entertaining as they are educational. Jeff is a contributing writer to Fast Company, Entrepreneur, BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal; and has been featured on CNBC and Fox Business. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit JeffHavens.com.