The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to evaluate what you have done, what you are doing, and what you want to do moving forward. Perhaps most importantly, it’s a great time to consider what are you willing to do differently and see if it actually makes a difference.
I love lists. They keep me organized and on track, and I’ll admit it – I get HUGE satisfaction from crossing something off my list. But I think sometimes items on our lists are so big or vague that it is hard to accomplish them – it’s overwhelming. I’ve developed a list of four fairly simple things you can easily accomplish while helping to elevate your brand, expand your network and refine your communication. If you are consistent and committed, these small changes will change how people perceive you.
- Learn to take a compliment. Many of us have a tough time accepting a compliment or taking credit. It is incredibly powerful to simply and graciously say “thank you” when someone recognizes your efforts, talent or accomplishments – or even your haircut! Practice smiling, making eye contact and just saying “thank you” in a proud, confident way. Deflecting compliments or refusing to take credit actually weakens your brand.
- Reconnect with someone face-to-face once a week. We all have good intentions about reconnecting with our network. We also all have at least one slot open in our calendar each week for coffee, lunch or cocktails. Use LinkedIn to find those people you’ve been meaning to reconnect with and PROACTIVELY SCHEDULE them in those slots. That’s about 50 opportunities in 2019 you are creating for yourself!
- Fix one really bad communication habit. I’m guessing you know what your worst habit is. Interrupting? Slow response to email? Rambling on and on for way too long? Failing to speak up in meetings? Dominating conversations? First, identify what your bad habit is and then think about how it is affecting the people you interact with – acknowledge honestly how it might be impacting your relationships and your brand. Second, figure out a way you can recognize this habit when are doing it, and specifically how you can improve. If you truly commit to fixing it, you’ll quickly start to notice yourself doing it and that will make it easier to stop.
- Invite yourself when you want to be included. Too many people (women especially) wait for an invitation and then are frustrated by being excluded. This could be an invitation to go to lunch, attend a meeting, speak at a conference, participate on a client call, lead a project or be considered for a promotion. Stop waiting! The next time there is an opportunity you want to be included in, ask! In many cases you are not being included simply because others don’t know you want to be.