It’s no secret that we work in an industry that engages, indulges, and (at times) offends the senses of our colleagues, clients, and their guests. As a designer, I am always careful to do all I can to present my best work to my clients, but that’s not enough; I must also present my best self. Today, I would like to talk a bit about the way our personality and presentation can work to our professional benefit or demise.
How many times have you watched the ego or insecurity of a talented designer, florist, or planner steal their own thunder? How many of you clients out there have been disappointed that you could not enjoy the talents of a particular artist or vendor because you simply could not bear the idea of working with them? How we act, react, and interact can make or break us faster than any high-level PR agency or social media strategy.
Today, I would like to ask you a few questions and I would love to hear your answers to all or some.
How Much Energy Do I Bring To My Work and What Kind Of Energy Is It?
I recently read a study that suggested negative facial expressions actually cause your brain to release cortisol and cause more stress. Can you imagine what that will do to you, and to those around you, over time? Are you constantly looking for a way to make something work or point out why it won’t? Do you challenge and build your colleagues up or are you critical and competitive? Are you a source of support or do you secretly enjoy seeing those around you stumble? It’s important to really think about this and be honest with yourself for the answer that will offer great insight into ways to engage those around you, overcome roadblocks, and add value to your team and clients in a positive way. Many times, we are able to set the tone of a room. If I am in a stressed out or an angry mood, my staff will respond to me in a much different way than if I am solution and team-focused.
Are You In-Control Of Yourself or Does The Day Control You?
Our industry can be a lot of things: rewarding, stressful, challenging, and life-changing. The day-to-day development can pull you into a lot of different directions; however, allowing your mood or focus to shift with every new turn is not only going to exhaust you, but everyone around you.
How do You Speak To Others?
Words are massively important in our industry and the exchange of information in a clear, respectful, and welcoming way is the best way to get business and get a job done. Think about the words you use, the tone in which you use them, and whether or not they become kinder or more curt based on the title of your audience members. There’s a wonderful quote by Maya Angelou that says it best, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Do You Really Listen to Those Who Are Speaking or Are You Waiting For Your Turn to Speak?
My clients come to me for my ideas, but I always remind myself that these ideas must also be designed around their vision. I try and take the same approach with members of my staff. Yes, I am their boss, but I also want to learn from them, hear their ideas, and know what is going on in their lives. Active listening, eye contact, and engaging conversation are gifts that we give one another and, in my experience, they are always well-received.