1. Smile. Smile a lot. When walking into a boardroom. When meeting someone for the first time. When you’re unsure of yourself. When you need that extra boost of confidence. Just smile, it’s contagious. Don’t you love walking into a restaurant and the person at the front door is happier to see you than you are to see them? Happy people are the best to be around, always remember that.
2. Don’t hold grudges, ever. Under no circumstance hold a grudge because of what you think someone did or said. If they did something wrong confront them about it and tell them how you feel. Otherwise when you hold a grudge against someone you seem like you’re in high-school again and I don’t want to do business with high-school kids. Being upset with someone for a silly reason makes me think you’re not a very big thinker either. Forgiving someone is a very humbling thing to do. Try it.
3. Don’t offer your opinion of someones work unless they ask for it. No one likes getting impromptu feedback on something they probably could pick holes in them self. Wait till someone seeks your feedback out. Want more people to seek you out for feedback? Get smarter on your topic of interest. Stop watching (insert pop culture TV sensation of the week) and start reading more.
4. When you pick a fight with your competition don’t make it personal and try to be as professional about it as you can.
I openly will critique agency’s in Regina for their work. I try not to make it personal and I try to give research and the thought process behind my opinions. We’re competitors so it makes sense we will disagree on many things, however, I do very much respect the work they do. Phoenix Group is the agency that I’ve written about the most and they’re the biggest in Regina and do some really amazing work. I assume they can handle my critique because of their success (Yes, I do think David Bellerive is extremely talented).
5. Say ‘yes’ as much as you can. Like the movie Yes Man, always take advantage when an opportunity presents itself. You never know who you might meet. Lunches, dinners, nights out, weekend trips, if you have no other obligations and financially it works you must say yes. It’s kinda fun to try. Watch Yes Man if you haven’t yet.
6. Stop talking about yourself. Seriously. One of the biggest turnoffs in life and business is someone who talks about themselves too much. Like Dale Carnegie says, “become genuinely interested in other people”. Ask them questions and be curious about what they do. The more the other person talks about them self, the more you know about them to help them in the future.
An old piece of advice; “in a meeting, the person who talks the least, is usually the smartest person in the room.”
7. If you’re a leader, creative person or an artist, sometimes you’re going to half to ignore what others tell you. As Albert Einstein said “if at first the idea is not absurd, there is no hope for it.” Some of your ideas must be absurd.
As a leader you’re going to have moments where entire groups of people disagree with you. That’s ok “great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds” another great piece of advice from the smartest person ever lived.
Don’t worry what people say about you, if no one is disagreeing with you, you aren’t doing much with your life.
8. Be someone others look up to. The way you act, the way to dress, the way you sign your e-mails, your business cards, everything. People look up to others who are confident, well put together and articulate. I remember the first time I met Steve Klippenstein, the President of Captive Audience. He was smart, funny, and a leader, someone you really wanted to be around. I’ve always looked up to Steve because of that. His attitude is a reflection of how well Captive has done and will do in the future.
9. Don’t be cheap. I met with a lady once trying to start her own business and one of the first things she informed me of was that she didn’t have much money and was “cheap”. As a consultant that’s the last thing you want to hear. Not that I’m greedy at all, I believe as an entrepreneur you can’t be successful and “cheap”. No one wants to work with cheap, you don’t want to invest in cheap, it’s not an attractive quality in anyone. Frugal is fine but you must be smart frugal. Buy people coffees and lunch, take the bill, bring donuts to a meeting, offer to supply the coffees from Timmy’s, do something that screams “I’m not afraid to be generous!”. I don’t know about you but I LOVE generous people, I try to do as much as I can for them, the more you help others the more they want to help you. Don’t be cheap.