The life of a media seller or manager is very challenging. You have to juggle so many different tasks, goals, products and projects with demands from management, clients, family, and all your other obligations. What is the mantra that helps you stay on track, stay fired up, and perhaps most importantly, helps you maintain your professionalism at the core of everything you do?
I've seen a number of these "best practices" posted in cubicles and offices in my years in media, and you may have heard of these or used them yourself. Check this list out and keep it nearby. Post one, maybe two at a time, so you can focus on the area that will benefit you the most.
- Do what you say you will do. This isn’t an easy one, but boy is it important! I think a good number of folks take this for granted, but this is where your credibility can be made or destroyed. Many of us in media are people pleasers. We want to help, we want to say yes and we often do whatever we can do accommodate those around us. So, if you commit to something, write it down, put it on a list, plan to give yourself time, and then get it done when (or before) you say you’ll get it done. Do you want to be seen as reliable and dependable? If you do, follow-through is essential.
- Under promise and over deliver. First and foremost, this is not about sandbagging, which is purposefully misleading someone. This is about taking the unknown into account in order to ensure that you can reliably deliver what you promised. Leaving a little margin of error is a responsible approach to managing expectations, and it should be based on your best intelligence about the project or proposal. If you’re not comfortable committing to a deliverable, don’t commit until you have sufficient information and know you can deliver. Once you promise, you just do what ever it takes to get it done. Then it’s all on you, and your ability to deliver will shape how your colleagues and managers see you in terms of dependability.
- Do it now. This one is nice and simple but a real challenge! Don’t procrastinate! I know there are tons of things to do and you’re constantly being pulled in different directions. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the minutia (even if it’s important minutia). Prioritizing is critical, and you have to be able to decide what things have to be done now and what can wait. A to-do list really helps here. Keep re-writing and re-prioritizing it so you can stay on track.
- I don’t do late. Getting to work or to meetings on time is critical, and often simply comes down to making a decision to stop doing something else so you can get to your meeting. Resist the temptation to start that last “quick” project when you should really be heading out the door. You may end up arriving 15 minutes early, so just have a good book with you or check some email on your phone. Being early sends a much stronger message than arriving one minute late or even right on time. Being late shows disrespect and a lack of concern for other peoples’ time. Refuse to be late!
- KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid). This is an important message to keep in mind as you create presentations and communicate throughout your day. When you present ideas and concepts to clients, you’re essentially teaching. Putting simple thoughts and ideas down in a few words or as bullet points can help you communicate more effectively and clearly. Graphics and images often help convey ideas and may be a helpful way to present your message. Your ability to sell and get things done depends on your ability to convey your message in a way that people will understand it. Always think about “KISS” as you work and you’ll be more impactful and successful.
- Perception is reality. This is one message that seems unfair, but is a critical part of the work environment and your future. Despite how you see yourself and how hard you work, your performance, and how reliable and effective you might be, if you don’t consider how others in your office perceive you, your career and future my be in jeopardy. In your reviews or one-on-ones, make sure to ask your manager what his or her perception is of you and your work and take it seriously. It’s tempting to ignore what you may think are false perceptions of others in your office, but not being concerned with what others think of you, your work, and your willingness to be a member of the team will directly impact your ability to grow and thrive at your company.
These are some of my favorite business messages and I hope they help you. What are some of your favorite business philosophies that have motivated you and helped keep you on track in your media sales career?
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