(Note: I recently made a new friend who gave me some great advice about the importance of details. Her name is Lynn Liddle and she is the former Executive Vice President of Communications and Investor Relations for Domino’s Pizza. Trust me when I say, she knows a lot about getting the details right! Thanks, Lynn!)
We canines are famous for our ability to sniff things out. For instance, I can tell you that 12 different dogs have visited this fire hydrant over the last two days. To me, each blade of grass is unique and every scent that wafts through the air is distinctive. This attention to detail comes naturally to dogs, but it’s an important skill for humans to adopt. Sometimes people get so caught up in the overall mission or strategy that they forget to pay attention to the little things. Unfortunately, your grander mission could be missed or diminished if small mistakes glare (as they tend to do) or distract (Squirrel!).
To ensure this doesn’t happen to you on the day you’re about to land the dream client or meet with the big boss, abide by these important tricks:
- Proofread any written document carefully, once on your own and once by someone else, before it goes public.
- Pay attention to grammar. Don’t use slang or buzz words.
- Keep your message clean and simple. Nobody likes a show-off (except when you’re doing cute dog tricks), and everybody hates a droner. Get to the point quickly. On a similar note, keep that PowerPoint presentation short and sweet.
- Have your “elevator speech” or pitch ready. There’s always something that comes up again and again, whether it’s an introduction or a description of your service/product. Write it out in advance; make it sound compelling, and keep it tight. (Shaking paws is also encouraged.)
- If you’re planning an event or making a presentation, have your vetted checklist at the ready and follow it religiously. Such a list might include bringing a backup computer, advance checking of lights and sound, and scoping out the room setup in advance. These lists can be life savers, but they’re useless if they sit in a binder gathering dust. Keep a checklist on your ever-present smartphone.
- Edit yourself, too. Make sure you’re well groomed (no muddy paws) and dressed appropriately for the setting. Speak at the correct sound level; don’t whisper or shout (barking and whining are also annoying.) And, never, ever chew gum (or rawhide) during a presentation!
- Lastly (and this really isn’t a detail, just general dog knowledge), be nice to your coworkers, associates, and, well, everyone else you meet. Mean dogs never win out in the end, but being nice is often rewarded with treats (and belly rubs). Besides, you never know when and where your paths will cross in the future.
These details may seem small, but they can have a big impact. Paying attention to the particulars can mean the difference between a good first impression or a negative one; between closing the deal or losing a prospect.
Speaking of prospects, I’m off to sniff out some afternoon snacks. You’d be amazed at what you can find under people’s desks!