The 10-Minute Challenge for a Greater Personal Brand

by Chris Arlen on July 13, 2011

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The 10-Minute Challenge for a Greater Personal Brand

Our Personal Brand is created by others judging us by our actions, not words.

You are your brand – your actions define you. They accumulate into a personal brand promise – the promise you keep – not the one you speak.

Your customers know this.

So does your boss, support staff, peers within your company, and in your industry.

So do others you work with, such as consultants or vendors.

They all know the promise you keep – your personal brand.

You want to be known as reliable, dependable, trustworthy – you want these to be part of your personal brand.

The Broken Promise – Responding Slowly or Not At All

What happens when you don’t return phone calls or emails promptly? (prompt doesn’t mean instantly, but reasonably quickly)

Of course you reply promptly to customers or your boss.

Maybe less quickly with your peers and colleagues.

Even slower with support staff or direct reports.

Maybe not at all to consultants or vendors you’re working with.

After all, your customers don’t respond promptly, if at all, to your messages. Why not give others the same treatment, at least to those you think you can get away with it?

Why it Matters – Your Personal Brand at Risk

Everyone you come into contact with has the potential to be in a position one day where you’ll need them. For a reference, referral, recommendation, something.

What happens when your personal brand has been tarnished by something as trivial as not replying promptly to a voice or email?

The 10-Minute Challenge

If you want to improve your personal brand – if you want to be known for being more reliable, dependable, and trustworthy try this 10-minute challenge.

Try responding to voice mail or email no later than 10 minutes after you receive it – that is if you work in an office most of the day.

If your work takes you out of the office, try responding no later than 90 minutes from receipt of a message.

Respond promptly. To everyone. Even strangers.

Track yourself for a week.

Think it’ll improve your personal brand?

The Seth Godin Example

Seth Godin

Seth Godin: Marketer, entrepreneur, author, speaker

Back in 2007 when I started blogging I emailed Seth Godin several times, bouncing ideas off him for my blog.

He emailed back within 10 minutes. Every time.

Seth Godin is an online marketing celebrity. He’s important.

I was a neophyte blogger just starting out. He didn’t need anything from me.

I’ve since bought four of his books, and will continue to do so. I also read his daily blog.

His personal brand is money in the bank.

Will you succeed all the time?

No. Sometimes you’ll be traveling, or have lousy cell phone reception, or you won’t have access to email.

That’s OK. It’s the building up of promises you keep that make the difference – the cumulative effect.

Should you succeed all the time?

With technology you should succeed 8-9 out of 10 times.

And there is no excuse not to respond. Ever. Regardless of who sends you a message, or when*.

*Here are the Caveats

Promptly responding to left messages does have some caveats. You may not succeed in your time window if you are:

  • In a meeting and your phone is turned off – however most meetings last less than an hour, therefore the 90-minute window
  • Traveling by plane for more than 90 minutes
  • Traveling by car and in a dead cell zone for more than 90 minutes
  • On vacation
  • Outside normal business hours during the work week
  • Not at work because you’re not feeling well or scheduled time off

For all the above you can experiment with out of office auto responders and customized phone intros.

But these are it for not responding promptly.

Take the Challenge – Polish Your Personal Brand & Let Me Know

Responding promptly to left messages does not define you entirely.

But it’s surprising how the little things done the right way to everyone, even strangers pay off.

Let me know how prompt you are at responding.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill Todd July 14, 2011 at 8:30 am

Hi Chris: I will forward this to everyone on my team. These are excellent guidelines and I have never actually seen any sort of guidelines before. Well presented and the example is compelling. Hope all is well with you.
Regards,
Bill Todd

Chris Arlen July 14, 2011 at 8:41 am

Bill, glad you liked it. It may be old-fashioned courtesy or good manners to respond to messages but it adds up – in a good way. Just takes more effort, and conciseness ;)

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