It never ceases to amaze me how some business people behave in non-business settings, and sometimes, even in business situations.
You are your walking, talking face of your brand, as are your workforce. It can take years to create a relationship and just seconds to ruin it. Being the highly forgiving person that I am, I will give you a fair number of chances to redeem yourself, depending on the nature of your mistakes and what they really say about you. Not everyone will do the same, though.
Now sometimes it’s a simple misunderstanding that can ruin a relationship or naivety on your part or the fact that you rushed to respond to someone’s email and subsequently, damaged the effort you’d put in to nurturing that relationship. You live and learn. It’s served its purpose. However, some people seem inept at portraying the right image. I’m not suggesting you present a facade but you need to be thoughtful about which side of you is on display. We all have different sides to our personality, at the very least, our business side and our personal side.
Now I am an absolute advocate of letting people get an indication of who you are deep down because it draws them closer to you (if they like what they see), so it is good to blend a bit of the non-business you with the business you. What is baffling is when people fail to honour basic courtesies, or insult people, or patronise people, or show they are unreliable or unmotivated, or try to assert their dominance when it isn’t necessary, or whatever negative ways of alienating people they employ.
People are always watching you and your behaviour and your professionalism from afar. Is it that important to you to vent your anger or act arrogantly to show your importance or are you really that busy to respond to someone with a thank you or to honour your appointment time?
In case you didn’t know it, not only are people quietly watching you from the sidelines, they might also be talking about you to other people, especially if they are negative people themselves.
You’ve heard these types of stats before: happy customers tell about 4 people about their experience whilst unhappy customers tell about 10. The stats vary massively but the point is always the same; unhappy people talk about their negative experience more. Not to forget people have even farther reaching connections now with social media and a myriad of review sites.
So be thoughtful about how you present yourself and, thus, your brand. If you were a celebrity you’d perhaps be more mindful of your demeanour. Well guess what? All of us are in the spotlight, even more so now with technological advances, not just celebs. If you have a Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn profile, you are in the spotlight. If you network face-to-face, you are in the spotlight. If you ever meet other human beings, you are in the spotlight. Even Mr Hermit is in the spotlight, because his website and other company communications put him in the spotlight. Make sure your audience don’t leave their seats early.