I have given many presentations, speeches, and talks over the years. My favorite audiences are always students, both graduate, and undergraduate. My topics often revolve around entrepreneurship, since I’ve got a neat story that’s fun to tell, especially considering all the ups and downs. I like to end these talks with what I call my “Always 12 – A dozen things you should always do.” And, as I prepared my relevant, final slide for an upcoming presentation, I thought it would make an interesting blog post for you today. So, here goes.
- …walk into a room like you own it. Offer a firm handshake, make eye contact, and say your name when you introduce yourself. Most of all, don’t forget to smile. At the least, look approachable.
- …introduce others when someone new joins a conversation. You know how it feels to awkwardly walk up to a group mid-conversation. Most people avoid it at all costs. Be known as the person who temporarily stops the conversation to introduce the new person to the rest of the group. You’ll soon see that people view you as a friendly face and they’ll gravitate towards you.
- …know your audience in advance. Don’t even think about going into a room to give a presentation or offer an opinion, without knowing who is sitting in that room (or zoom – whatever.) If you don’t, you’ll stick your foot in your mouth eventually, and it could be a doozy. Trust me.
- …get out of your comfort zone at every chance. This one is hard, I know, but it is important. The more you make yourself feel uncomfortable, the harder it will be for someone else to make you uncomfortable. My father always likes to tell me (in Greek, so this is translated) the saying “I’ve been through many horrible times in my life – and most of them never happened.” Basically, it means we, as humans, tend to imagine the worst-case scenario for everything and it is rarely the case. So, put yourself out there. It might be fun.
- …be worldly; travel, read up on other cultures, learn as many languages as you can, and taste as many new foods as you can. If you can’t travel to experience other cultures, read about them. Watch videos. As for languages, you can’t know too many. One thing for sure, one isn’t enough. And by the way, the Duolingo app is awesome. And don’t even tell me you don’t have the time. Less TV, more Duolingo. I liked to think my English, Greek, and Spanish were good enough, but then I realized my sister speaks two *more* languages than I do. More is better. I’m working on German now. Danke mein guter Freund Duolingo!
- …be indispensable – always. Be the person who does it all and does it well. When times get tough, people fight to keep indispensable people around. Complainers are the first to go (and then they complain about it – go figure.)
- …have a “can-do” attitude. Let’s face it, we all know someone who always responds with some reason why something can’t be done or why something is too difficult, etc. Strive to be the person who offers solutions to problems. Problem solvers are great to have around.
- …accept a cup of coffee when it’s offered. Some of my closest relationships started with a cup of coffee. I always say “You never know who’ll you get to know.”
- …work on networking and improving your online reputation. Google yourself. What do you see? If you don’t come up, that’s a problem. At the very least, your LinkedIn profile should come up. Reserve your name in a domain name, then start a blog. Get involved in charities. Be a voracious reader. Do things and learn about things which will make for good posts. Show people who you are. This way, when someone else Googles you, they’ll see what you want them to see.
- …under-promise, over-deliver, and out-behave. Trust is critical. If you want to be successful, people have to trust you. If you under-promise and over-deliver, that’s a very good thing. I also like to add “out-behave” because if you over-deliver, but you did it by being a jackass, that negates everything. So out-behave; be kind, honest, friendly, and helpful.
- …run the numbers yourself. Twice. I don’t ever like to hear “numbers aren’t my thing.” Basic numbers should be everyone’s thing. Know your way around a basic spreadsheet because if you ever have to present numbers, you’d better know what’s behind them. This is especially true if you’re presenting someone else’s numbers.
- …help others when they reach out for advice or assistance. You’re going to need help one day yourself, and you’ll need to reach out to people. There’s nothing worse than someone who only calls when they need something, so be the person helps when someone needs it. Do this enough, and you’ll have a virtual army at your disposal when you need it. Plus, it’s the right thing to do.
I’ve got another hundred of these that pop on and off the list. Do you have any critical ones in your view? Let me know in the comments. Oh, and if we’re not connected on LinkedIn or if you’re not following my blog, let’s fix that right now.
#DozenThings #MyAlways12 #lifeandbusiness