The following is an excerpt from Chapter 4 of my soon to be released book Engineer Your Own Success:
In today’s world with all of the readily available technology, people want answers immediately. The success of your career will be directly impacted by how quickly you get them their answers! If real estate is all about location, location, location, than career advancement is all about being responsive, responsive, and more responsive!
Do you remember the last time you emailed someone for some information and it took him or her 3 days to get back to you? How did that make you feel? You were probably very upset with that individual as their lack of responsiveness probably cost you valuable time or money on one of your projects. The next time you have to contact that person, you are certainly going to remember that experience, and maybe down the road you will avoid that person and contact someone else in their company who is more reliable, or another company altogether.
People just want to be acknowledged. They want to know you are listening to them and by being responsive to them you are giving them that recognition. For example, a client calls and leaves you a voicemail saying they want you to print out a set of design plans that you prepared for them 2 years ago because an old project may be coming back to life. You know that it is going to take you at least a day to retrieve the plans, so you have a few options for responding. You can wait until you find the plans the next day, then call the client and ask them to come pick them up, or you can call the client back immediately and acknowledge the message. You can say that you received their request and you will contact them in the next day or so when you retrieve the plans. Even though calling them back immediately may seem like an extra step, it’s the more favorable option based on my experience with many clients. They will be so appreciative that you took the time to call them back, acknowledge them, and show them some love. These are the kinds of things clients remember when it comes time to hire an engineer for their next project. These are the subtle differences that set you apart from other professionals.
Being responsive is important in all aspects of your career, not just with your clients. It’s also important within your company, especially if you work for a large firm. You may spend most of your day communicating with co-workers. There will be times when you will be requesting information from other departments, and the rate at which they respond to you will impact the success of your project and ultimately your reputation. Of course, you can’t necessarily control how quickly people respond to you, yet I find that if you are responsive yourself, people tend to return the favor. One approach you can take is that when you request information from someone, attach a deadline to it, but do so in a nice way.
Please don’t take this post lightly. I have had people call me and say that they were going to hire my firm because someone else told them how responsive we are. You would think that if someone calls or emails you, it would be important to get back to them in a timely manner, however, many professionals don’t do this. Often times it comes down to being organized in dealing with your email and phone messages, which we will discuss in Chapter 6.
How responsive you are in your career will greatly affect both your reputation as well as that of your company. I know you are busy, but taking the time to respond to people is critical to your success. If you don’t respond in a timely manner, next time they might not be calling you.
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To Your Success!
Anthony Fasano, P.E., LEED AP, ACC
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