There are many people looking to monopolize your time and attention.
How do you decide in whom to invest?
This decision is as important, if not more important than a financial investment.
Time is all you have. You can spend it with your family and friends. You can spend it with a business associate, making money. You can spend it unwinding and recharging your personal batteries.
How you choose to spend your time is up to you and it is the single factor that differentiates those business leaders who are successful from those who flounder.
In business, I invest my time with serious people.
This does not mean they are all devoid of a sense of humor. Quite the contrary. Most of the people I work with have a sharp wit.
But all are serious about one thing – the respect they have for others.
Why is this important?
It’s important because all good relationships are built on a foundation of mutual respect. You must first respect someone before you can trust him.
Over the years I have developed some cues that help me evaluate a person’s business intent. I use these at the outset of a relationship to determine if I will invest my time, my attention and my expertise in someone seeking my assistance.
Here are five of those cues:
Dress Like a Pro
Serious businesspeople look the part.
If you are a lifeguard, shorts, a tee shirt and flip-flops are appropriate. Everyone else needs to look like they are worthy of an investment of money – but more importantly – an investment of time and attention.
Dress up for a first meeting. You may occasionally feel foolish wearing a business suit but you can always take off the tie and jacket if you are clearly overdressed.
Speak Like a Trusted Advisor
Your goal is to provide useful information, help people make decisions, and motivate them to take action.
Make complicated concepts seem simple and don’t use jargon. Making people comfortable with you is the first step in earning their trust. Do this by treating EVERYONE as a peer.
Keep the language family friendly. Intelligent people can come up with alternatives to profanity – even when they are emotional.
Organize your Writing
The way you write is the way you think.
If your writing follows a logical pattern, your thoughts follow a logical pattern. Everything you write matters. Make sure you review your email before you send it.
Keep an Open Mind
One of the hallmarks of a serious businessperson is his willingness to listen to opposing points of view. Strong, self-assured leaders can listen to people with whom they disagree and, in some cases, compromise.
The world is full of stubborn people who think they know everything. Be unique. Welcome opposing points of view.
Keep your appointments. Arrive on time. Stick to the agenda. Finish as scheduled. I can learn more about you from the way you manage your schedule than I can from interviewing twenty of your closest friends.
If you do not respect your own time, you certainly will not respect my time.
You may not agree with me on some of these points. In fact, you may not agree with me on any of them. That’s up to you. But for me, these five factors are nonnegotiable.
What do you think? Should I take you seriously?
Here are some other resources you should review:
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