I'll be the first one to admit that I was not among the better known spellers in my school days. When I was younger I battled a mild form of dyslexia coupled with a major case of laziness. If I was unsure in regards to the use or spelling of a word, as long as it looked close enough I went with it. My mother having a career in early childhood education was frustrated and bewildered almost daily at my inappropriate use of the English written language. I never really experienced the full negative ramifications of a poorly crafted document until I was at The University of Arizona. It was then that I discovered professors weren't nearly as prone to forgiving spelling mistakes as high school teachers in a small Michigan farm town had been.
Since then the advent of Microsoft Word, Spell-check, and Google has almost made it simultaneously easier and harder to learn the appropriate spellings of words. It used to be that if I wanted to research the correct use and spelling of a word I had to reference a book my kids know nothing about called a Dictionary. This forced me to stop what I was doing, flip through the pages of what seemed to be a ten pound book, locate the word in question and find it's correct usage. A funny habit formed when a Dictionary was in heavy use. Not only did I find out the appropriate spelling of the word in which I was looking to use, but I would also come across other words on the same page which peaked my interest, causing me to pause and learn the origin and spelling of that additional word as well.
In today's world we type away on our keyboards with reckless abandon knowing that with the simple click of a mouse we need but wait a few seconds for all of the squiggly red lines to appear underneath the words that have been misspelled. This modern technological advancement has most assuredly allowed us to communicate quicker but at what cost to our ultimate on-going and life-long education?
There's few other ways to leave a bad first impression when it comes to the business world than having poor grammar and spelling. Whether it be an email, text message, or any other form of typed communication a sloppy attempt at written conversation will quickly draw the ire of a recipient. Regardless of your profession if you want to be taken seriously then even the simplest of tasks must be performed with the highest quality.
I was recently in receipt of an email from another real estate agent inquiring as to the availability of a home I have listed. The subject line of that email read "Is this hoe still available?" After I composed myself from the laughter that ensued upon seeing that headline appear in my email In-box I responded to the agents attempt at professional communication. I understand that not every text message or email I've ever composed was flawless, however, I have a habit of double and sometimes even triple checking spelling and grammar before I send off my attempt at electronic conversation. I do this because I know how bad of a speller I am and I know my limitations.
The misspelling of word in a subject line may seem like an insignificant mistake but I would argue it's the tiniest of habits and nuances that make the distinction between a simple business person and a professional. Besides reviewing communication before it's sent, here are some other aspects of being a professional that often get overlooked:
Does your appearance match your ability?
Times have and will continue to change in regards to clothing choices and hair styles. There are those professionals who service wealthy clients who expect their representation to mirror their perception of success. Yet there are restaurants and retailers that cater to a younger audience who would reject the notion of being assisted by an employee in a suit and tie or formal dress. Who is your audience and what are their expectations? Even if you're in an industry where every day is a casual Friday is your attire at least presentable?
Is your personal hygiene questionable? After several cups of coffee in the morning will you show your client common courtesy by safeguarding against offensive exhalation? Did you shower after your mid-day workout before scampering off to your next appointment or just splash on enough Old Spice or Chanel No. 5 to suffocate an entire crowd? As long as you've taken the steps necessary to maintain a well-kept appearance you will always be viewed as a professional regardless of your target demographic.
Are you running on-time or constantly running?
Punctuality is another mark of any true professional. Our clients and peers are busy and don't deserve to have their time wasted. It leaves a bad impression when you're known by friends, family, business associates, and customers as being chronically late or unreliable. As business professionals we want to be viewed as calm, cool, and collected. Nothing will shatter this perception quicker than having scores of people watch you physically running from your vehicle in to an office building in an attempt to make an appointment on-time. It's hard to present yourself as a professional with beads of sweat streaming from your forehead coupled with shortness of breath. Punctuality matters. It's a simple yet important aspect of being a professional.
Does your speech clash with your clients?
Each part of the Country speaks a different language. Oh, we might have the same dialect but our vernacular varies. Words and phrases in the Pacific Northwest have different meaning than States located in the Southeast. Do you speak the same language as your clients? Younger audiences may have a heavy usage of trendy slang terms but if those same words were spoken to a more accomplished or cultured crowd you may come across as uneducated, unpolished, and unrefined. On the opposite side of that spectrum if I were to sound too cultured and classy when addressing a more youthful demographic they could be put off by my unrelatable diction. My verbal communication is much different if I'm in front of a retirement age client versus a millennial first-time home buyer. To be seen as a professional we must adapt our language and speech patterns to fit the customer that is in front of us.
Is your demeanor decipherable?
Let's face it, we all have bad days. Cars break down on the way to appointments, kids find themselves in the principles office, and beloved family pets pass away. The line between being a business person and a true professional is drawn when we have those troublesome moments and fail to maintain our integrity for the betterment of our clients. If we arrive at an appointment frazzled and frayed from a day that knocked us down and out then we aren't representing ourselves or our customers appropriately. Emotionally charged circumstances can affect our ability to perform the duties and obligations set before us. Perhaps postponing or rescheduling that consultation, interview, or assignment is what's needed. However, if we choose to show up, our clients shouldn't be able to decipher the difference between our good days and our bad ones. We should always maintain our composure in even the most trying of times.
Whether it's an incorrectly spelled word in an email or adorning a t-shirt at a black tie only event there are ways that we can present ourselves as unprofessional. If we want to separate ourselves as the cream of the crop then we should pay attention to the subtle actions that distinguish a business person from a consummate professional.
If you or someone you know is interested in buying or selling real estate in the Gilbert, Arizona or East Valley area then let the professionals at Zion Realty assist you. Contact us today!