I want to focus here on how to come across to the market. Which version of you are we going to see and what impact will that have on others.
I’ve felt for a long time we all have these little masks that we wear depending on where we are. I know I have a work one and a personal-life one and it can be awkward mixing the two.
At work I prefer to be professionally spoken, modest, direct and positive. In my personal live I’m much more rakish, far less modest (possibly a show off), passive, but still positive. There are probably 2-3 other Masks I’m using for example how I am around my parents is different to how I am around my friends.
I feel the reason is that I consider all the time how I’m making others around me feel and what my impact is on them. This isn’t as touchy-feely as it sounds, I’ve learned that I will get nowhere in business showing off and being negative. So while I may feel like doing so, I wouldn’t. This becomes a ‘mask’ because it is the projection that I make onto others to allow for me to not get in the way of myself if I’m actually feeling negative.
An example of this is if I’m ever inconvenienced by someone at work. I’ve learned to just outwardly politely say thank you for their time, wish well, and insist if asked that it was no inconvenience at all before moving on. I may be frustrated, possibly angry/affronted but would never now show that.
This leaves that person feeling important to me and while I may be perfectly entitled to make it clearly-known what a pain the experience has been, I would never do this.
You never know when paths may cross again and as the saying goes “a hundred friends isn’t enough, a single enemy is too many”. Put simply, no point burning bridges.
Further I’ve always felt it communicates a strong message of value in them, in so far as – “I value our potential future working relationship beyond this immediate issue”.
Equally I remember when I graduated it was pointed out I had a voicemail helpfully telling callers I was “In the pub” my email wasn’t professional; I would never check voicemails and sometimes not return calls at all.
I got away with some of this because back then the phone wasn’t as ubiquitous as it is nowadays. A ‘missed call’ was acceptable in fact you could even turn it off!! (imagine!)
In 2021 the average person is checking their phone every few minutes. Therefore not acting on attempted communication is now ignorance and comes over as rude. This is the price we all pay as a society for having smartphones. The days of sneaking off to that pub I refered to in my old voicemail, where nobody knew where I was for a few hours are long gone.... Sigh.
Email is an expected fairly-rapid communication means and it’s expected that you have a conservative sounding email address. Voicemail intro’s should be polished and simple (don’t make my mistake!).
This leads me to the central point of this article.
Given the communication means we have, it is easy and sometimes necessary to ignore people and easy for others to feel ignored. As I type this I’ve had to take off my smartwatch and put my phone in the other room as the WhatsApp groups are all going mad. You don’t want this person to be the boss you are trying to impress.
It isn’t necessarily your fault when this happens (people feel unimportant to you) however if you switch onto this it’s easy to keep on top of and difficult for them to feel that way.
Remember, you wrote your CV. “You called us” as the saying goes so what “We” (the Market) asks in response is your attention. How do you engineer it, so we know we have this and you can worry about this less? I have the following tips:
1)Return emails ASAP, within 48 hours maximum any longer comes over as churlish
2)Check junk items daily. As much as it’s a pain when emails go into junk, you do assign a part of that blame onto the receiver for not thinking to check it. I found a 5-figure business opportunity in mine 2 months ago (joke would have been on me if I’d not checked!).
3)Return calls as quickly as possible, if you aren’t free within that same morning or afternoon a short text saying as much works absolute wonders.
4)If you can’t be somewhere, give good notice certainly enough to not inconvenience someone.
5)Write emails personally. If you are sending a cover letter and have time for nothing else – just make it specifically to that individual using a ‘to’ address and their name.
6)If you are going to be unavailable for any reason, clearly explain this. We all take holidays and time off however in these times you can make someone feel ignored by not saying in advance you were unavailable. Your personal email has an out-of-office function in its settings, and you can record a voicemail to the same effect.
7)Try and avoid ‘stock’ information. Nobody likes the ‘stock’ response (we all know what this is “Thank you for your enquiry… we value your input… Dear Sir/Madam”) instead try and sprinkle some elements that are specific to that communication (“I saw your ad for job X on date Y, Mr Smith and I would like to send my CV for consideration by company Z”)
Finally, remember this.
People will forget what you said. They will forget what you did. They will remember how you made them feel.
All view my own.