Yes, it’s true. We’ve made some mistakes in the past. And I’m sure we’ll make more in the future. (My wife will probably print this out for me… another mistake on my part putting it in writing.) But hopefully you can learn something from the experiences we’ve had. We continue to learn from mistakes. Isn’t that what wisdom is? The trick isn’t to fail less, or make fewer mistakes, it’s to fail quickly. So you can move forward and learn what not to do the next time, or how to do it better, or ways of being smarter. Anyway, some things about communication we continually try to remember…
How you present yourself is the way people will build relationships with you.
Sounds kind of obvious, and it becomes very clear when establishing and defining a brand. But when I say, “how you present yourself is the way people will build relationships with you,” that’s only partially true. We can present ourselves a certain way and hope people will interact with us in the way we want. That’s probably the best place to start. If you present yourself in a way you don’t want to be perceived, you’re only setting yourself up to have people’s opinions, and relationships, be based on this presentation.
Give people every reason to believe you. If you waver, if you dilute, if you simply acquiesce to their opinion, you undermine their trust and confidence in your brand. But. But if you say who you are, what you believe, and what you want to base a relationship on, you’re beginning to establish how people will expect to have a relationship with your brand. You begin by building trust of doing what you say, and saying what you’ll do.
You can either control your story, or your story can control you.
Decide which side of the story you want to be on. You can be on one side of the message at a time: distributing it or responding to it. You can be proactive or reactive. One of these positions has more control. What works in judo may not work in communication.
Not everyone will like what you have to say.
You can’t be everything to everyone. Accept that. Stick to what you want to accomplish, how you want to present yourself (see above), and your beliefs. If you start to compromise for some, you’re going to be strong to none. You just become blah. And blah is no way to go through life. Conviction can be an arrow notched on the string, waiting, waiting to be released. Or conviction is an arrow in flight. Commit to your convictions.
Don’t let your detractors talk you into compromise. Control your own story. Build the kinds of relationships you want from the very first, “hello.”