What I Thought Were Obvious Pieces of Advice
• Use a publicity photo that identifies you today, not one from your youth.
• An answering system is intended to receive messages, not deliver messages. I don’t care what your quote of the day is, or where you are exactly, or your latest citation from your trade association, and I assume that my call is important to you, and of course you’ll try to get back to me as promptly as you can, I understand the message needs to be brief, and I’m anticipating a “beep.” Thus: “This is Joan Smith, thanks for calling, please leave a message.””
• If you don’t have a physical address on your card, your site, your signature file, and so forth, people will need to contact you to send a gift, a book, or a check. Why make them do that work? If you’re afraid someone is going to stalk you, I’m sorry to tell you that they can find out where you live in about a hundred other ways.
• When you charge a client for mileage on your car when you attend meetings, you’re behaving like an amateur.
• If the prospect asks for or agrees to a proposal very early in the conversation, you’re really being ushered out of the office and you won’t be returning.
• When you’re attending a conference and you don’t attend the sessions but instead chat in the hall with others, you don’t look like you’re too successful to be in the meeting, you look like you’re too arrogant to learn.
• Stop worrying about people “stealing” your intellectual property. I’ve filled over 60 books with mine. No one ever learned to ski (successfully and without bodily harm) by reading a book. They need a coach.
• Most people who are overly worried about protecting their “brand” don’t have one. (If your brand is strong, everyone knows who you are and what you’ve accomplished.)
• TIAABB. (There is always a bigger boat.™) Be careful about bragging about what you own or where you’ve been. I’m amused when people who don’t know me begin talking about exotic cars as if I’ve never had a license. I’m reminded of the guy who told the story of the Johnstown Flood all his life, and when he died and went to heaven St. Peter told him that he should tell his favorite story to the throngs on his first day there. “Is there anything about the audience I should be aware of?” he asked. “Well,” said St. Peter, “Noah will be in the crowd.”
© Alan Weiss 2019