Simple things you can do

Many of you have sent me emails regarding my manifesto “25 Ways to Distinguish Yourself” and also my series on Ways to Distinguish Yourself. Thank you so much for that. It means a lot to me. I have also received some emails where people have said the series is good but they want something that they can use in the next one or two hours or so and still make a difference.

I have put together a list of tips that I have received from my friends in the past. I have picked the ones that have served me well. Here is the list.

1. Don’t fill the recipient email addresses before you complete your email

You might have seen this happen. A broken email arrives quickly followed by another email asking you to ignore the earlier email as the “send” button was pressed accidentally. It’s a waste of time for both people. Stuff happens – so the best way to prevent it is not to fill in the recipient details until you complete the email message.

2. Always include contact numbers in your emails

Yes, we expect that people will be organized and they will store our phone numbers in the address book and when they want to call us – voila! it’s all there in the address book. Unfortunately, I have seen so many busy people using email also as an address book. We can’t change everyone but at least we can be sure that they will find us when they need us by putting in our contact details in our emails.

3. Set your name display to “Firstname Lastname” in your email settings

There are so many variations out there “Lastname, Firstname”, “name@server” etc. The best is to set your name to be displayed in the “Firstname Lastname” format. This is because if someone is searching for your email by name, everyone may not know your lastname or your email address which may be a combination of first initial of first name and the last name or something of that sort.

4. No surprises by email (golden rule)

You are running late on a critical project or you won’t make it to a meeting that is scheduled later today – best is to not use an email to surprise people. Surprises are good as long as they are positive. If it is negative, try your best not to send it by email.

5. Always leave your call back number (slowly) when you leave a voicemail

Again, our assumption is that people will know our phone number or it gets registered in the cell phone caller id system. My point: Why take a chance? It will hardly take a few more seconds to slowly and clearly leave your call back number. I emphasize slowly as not everyone may understand your accent and if you speak fast, it will make matters worse.

6. Always take reverse directions from your meeting place

Yes, I know that many of us have the GPS devices in our cars. We can depend on them 100% and be surprised sometimes but I would rather be prepared. While you are printing directions from your location to the meeting place, you can click once more to print the reverse directions (from the meeting place back to your location)This has helped me multiple times, especially when I am in a new city and I am meeting someone downtown.

While you are at it, also think of getting an alternate route at hand if the timing is critical. Sometimes a road is closed or under construction and

7. Keep all the contact numbers handy when you are driving

Especially contact numbers of the hotel or restaurant or meeting place, cell phone of the person you are meeting. You never know when you will need them.

8. Watch how you hold your coffee cup when you are moving

This tip saved my day. One of my old friends suggested to me (after he had a bad experience) that whenever we are walking with a coffee (or tea or whatever) we need to ensure that cup opening is not facing us. I have provided two pictures for your quick reference. Once I was holding a cup of coffee and bumped against something and (because I followed this advice) there was not a drop of coffee that spilled. Saved my dress and the meeting.