Editorial: How do you come across?

May 07, 2014

Habits that will make people not like you – yes, it includes always checking your phone.

It’s been said before that for people to want to do business with you, they have to know you, like you, and trust you. That’s really important to keep in mind when you are a professional architect, engineer, planner, environmental consultant, or someone who markets those services. There are certain things people do that may contribute to others not liking or not trusting them. Some people in this business do these things every day by, often inadvertently. See if you are doing any of the things below and try to work on NOT doing them so you can be more successful:
  • Overusing your credentials or using unrecognized credentials. An example of that is putting “MBA” with your name every time you sign a letter or email, such as “Joe Blow, MBA,” or “Susan Smith, MBA.” Ditto for other pseudo certifications or qualifications bestowed by certain professional organizations (and no, I will NOT name any specifically!) used by some people working in an industry where “P.E.” and “AIA” command a certain degree of respect and denote that some significant hurdles have been overcome to achieve them. Doing this stuff drives some people – not everybody – crazy. It will make it look like you are very insecure about your own capabilities – not a good way to build trust.
  • Having annoying glasses habits, such as snorting like a pig every so often to push your nose up to push your glasses back. Another one is constantly looking down over your glasses like a disapproving librarian. Some people will not like that. They make take it as a sign of disapproval or condescension. If they feel judged, they won’t like you. There are other nervous tics and habits you may develop that can grow if not confronted and that may cause people to not like you. Be cognizant of these things and work to correct them.
  • Constantly checking your phone when with someone else. Others may feel you aren’t paying attention to them properly and won’t like you as a result. I know that this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black and that I am a big offender here. I can give every excuse in the world for it but it won’t change the fact that some people will not like you if you do this!
  • Being too difficult to get a hold of on the phone or using your secretary to place all of your outbound calls. People will not like you if they think that you think you are someone special. Too much pre-screening can lead to that feeling. One of my pet peeves is when I call and ask for someone and whomever answers the phone automatically connects me with that person’s secretary without asking me if that is OK. It’s rude. I am automatically prejudiced against the boss when I think I have been treated rudely by anyone in his/her organization. And having someone else place your outbound calls is the epitome of rudeness. That says, “My time is more valuable than yours, Chump.”
  • Being too aggressive behind the wheel/evidencing road rage. Just think of how a client could judge you if riding with you in a vehicle and you get into an altercation with another driver. Or if you are someone who tailgates or who doesn’t stop for pedestrians. They won’t like you, won’t trust you, and won’t do business with you.
There are obviously many other behaviors. Drop me a line with anything you think professionals should be careful about if they want to be known, liked, and trusted, at mzweig@zweigwhite.com, and we’ll publish it in a future issue of TZL.

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.