This is so important. In fact, I will venture to say its everything in business and in life. There are three possible outcomes with expectations: (1) exceed expectations; (2) meet expectations; or (3) miss expectations. Two out of three possible outcomes help you maintain clients, customers and business, while the last one likely will lose business or damage relationships.
It is better to under promise and over deliver than to over promise and under deliver. An example of this is when I tell a client I will have draft or project complete by a certain date. If I deliver it before the date I told them I have exceeded the expectation I set for them. If I deliver it on the date I said I met their expectation. If I get it to them after that date, I have missed their expectation, which I was in control of when I gave them the date originally. I know where I want to be when I have set the expectation and we all know what we think when someone else does so, such as when your car will be ready when in the shop to how long a doctor’s appointment will take.
And expectations in other areas, such as cost or fees, are incredibly important to manage. If you tell a customer a number or range, the cost better come in under or up to the number or within the range. Go under and you are a hero. Go over and you are a goat. You will be left making excuses for the cost and probably will end up cutting your bill. If you know the cost is going to be more than what you quoted, call them the minute you know and explain why. And get direction on how or if they want you to proceed. If you don’t, you do so at your own peril.
Sometimes things happen for innumerable reasons and you know you will not meet a deadline. What do you do? You call your customer and let them know, right away. And you then reset their expectations with a new deadline you believe you can and will meet. Having to reset expectations once in a while likely won’t harm your business, but if you make it a regular practice you do so, again, at your own peril.
So manage expectations well and you will have better client and customer relationships. Don’t, and you likely will have less client and customer relationships to worry about.
We all know that person, the one you meet in a business or personal setting who cannot stop themselves from dominating a conversation or room. They don’t let anyone else say much. When the conversation or meeting is over, you know too much about them assuming they spoke about themselves, which most people like that do, or too much of their personal opinions, and we all know the saying about opinions and everyone having one. On the other hand, they may not even remember your name and didn’t let you speak enough to learn about you to have anything substantive to remember.
I read an article recently about annoying personalities on display at all networking events. That author had nicknames for various types of characters she encountered. It made me think of different types of people. The person I describe above can be referred to as the “Chatterbox.” The Chatterbox may be that way for a number of reasons such as (1) ego; (2) lack of self-awareness; or (3) social awkwardness. The reason doesn’t matter, but what you should do does: exit the conversation.
When meeting someone for the first time for business make sure you try learn more about their background and their business versus what you speak about and share. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share about you and your business, but if you focus on asking questions and learning about them, you will put yourself in a place to make a possible connection and know they aren’t walking away thinking you talk too much and don’t really care about what they do or have to say.
A great resource I work with passed on a link to a good article on this subject last year. The author of the article wrote about what he referred to as the Traffic Light Rule. It is another method to use to avoid talking too much. The gist is that the light is green the first twenty seconds you are speaking, yellow for the next twenty seconds and at the forty second mark the light turns red. If you play through that red light, bad things can and do happen.
So don’t be a Chatterbox or run red lights and you will put yourself in a better position to have meaningful interactions.
Here is the link to the article referenced above – How to Know if You Talk too Much by Mark Goulston: https://hbr.org/2015/06/how-to-know-if-you-talk-too-much.