CAN PEOPLE COUNT ON YOU? by Sandy Allgeier

In addition to the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, my own personal and business blogs, the recommended reading list, and information on my consulting business, I would like to share some of the writings of various thought leaders.

CAN PEOPLE COUNT ON YOU? by Sandy Allgeier

If people don’t trust you, they won’t hire you, do business with you or spend time with you. Most of us try to be true to our word, but it’s easy to make accidental, seemingly minor missteps that cause others to have doubts about our reliability. Among the most common…

* Breaking appointments or arriving late. Some people see nothing wrong with rescheduling appointments or arriving 20 minutes late. But this form of not keeping promises makes others doubt whether we can be trusted.

Example: You tell a friend that you are looking forward to seeing him — then reschedule the meeting three times. Or whenever you meet your friend, you’re late. Even if your reasons are valid, the friend might wonder whether you truly value the relationship.

Strategy:
If you are chronically late, allow more time in your schedule for the activities that tend to take longer than you expect. If you are chronically rescheduling appointments because of “emergencies,” reevaluate what constitutes an emergency or incorporate open time into your schedule so that you can cope with emergencies without canceling other commitments.

* Being messy or disorganized. Some disorganized people chronically fail to live up to their responsibilities simply because they lack a system for keeping track of them. Others manage to get things done despite their cluttered desks or homes — but people who aren’t messy often assume that messiness is a sign of unreliability.

Example: If your tidy boss knows that your work space is disorganized, he’s more likely to view any small error in your work as a sign that your job performance is messy and unreliable, too.

Strategy: Keep your work space neat, particularly if you have a tidy boss, colleague or client who has access to it.

* Allowing personal matters to intrude on work time. If friends or family members call or e-mail you regularly during your workday, your bosses, colleagues and clients might question your commitment to work.

Example: Your boss notices that you often make long personal phone calls and concludes that you can’t be trusted to work hard without close supervision.

Strategy: Ask friends and family members to contact you only on your personal cell phone. Check your cell-phone messages at lunch and during breaks.

* Failing to follow through on “minor” promises. Most of us have more trouble living up to our minor promises than our major ones. We mean to live up to all of our promises, but small ones are easily forgotten. Though our memories, not our morals, are to blame, those around us still might question whether we can be trusted.

Example: Borrow $10,000 from a friend, and you’ll certainly remember to pay back the loan. Borrow $10, and the debt might slip your mind.

Strategy: If minor matters often slip your mind, jot down your promises, commitments and debts on a calendar or planner as soon as you make them.

* Keeping people in the dark about a decision-making process. People tend to feel deceived or ignored when others make decisions that seem to go against what has been promised.

Example: A construction company allows its employees to purchase leftover building materials at low prices after projects are completed. One time, surplus materials could not be made available because a client requested the surplus. The employees were not told this and assumed that the boss had gone back on his word.

Strategy: Let those affected by your decisions know why you are making those decisions, even when you have every right to make the decisions without letting them know.

* Exhibiting body language that doesn’t match your words. People don’t hear only what we say — they also subconsciously monitor our facial expressions and gestures. When our words don’t match our body language, they sense that we can’t be trusted.

Example: You tell a friend that you are excited about her business idea, but you’re tired and distracted and your body language conveys disinterest.

Strategy: Your body language will match your words if you always pay complete attention during conversations — and if you’re being honest when you speak.

* Thinking out loud when others think you’re making decisions. You might be talking yourself through the options, but those listening could mistake your musings for decisions — then question your honesty when you later choose a different path.

Example: You chat with a friend about taking a vacation together. The friend mistakes this preliminary chat for a firm commitment.

Strategy: Preface your thinking out loud with phrases such as, “I’m just talking through ideas here,” or “I need to confirm that this is feasible.”

– Sandy Allgeier

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session, for more information, please refer to my Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email me at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. I welcome your comments below. Thank you.

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