andy@ideagroupatlanta.com | (404) 213-4416
08
MAY
2013

Six Smooth Moves That Make You Look Smart

How-Smart-You-Really-Are

Okay, you have it down! You’re a pro and make things run so efficiently that it looks like magic. Still, there are things you need to do to remind people that you are the best.

You may have done 100 events, written 1000 communication or marketing pieces and managed countless trade shows – but people are still constantly evaluating your abilities and professionalism. I know it seems crazy, but that’s the reality of business. So, how can you remind people just how smart you are?

How to Look Smart

Think about all the “smart” people around you. What do they have in common?

They provide consistent value. They know what they’re doing.

They do it well. They make themselves useful and invaluable.

They deliver results and not execution. They know that quality is what matters.

They are distinctive. They are known for the quality of their thinking.

The Smooth Moves

1. Be Valuable

Focus on where you can make the biggest difference. Be very tactical in using your talents and skills to provide specific value. If there are five places where you can help, work where you will be the most useful. Smart people aren’t everywhere; they’re where they are needed the most.

2. Know How to Do Things Well

Education is good, but experience is better. There is no substitute for knowing things and learning even more. But you have to be able to translate it into action. Go hands-on with a key skill. Become a master and be better at it than the rest. Even if you don’t plan on making the skill a part of your job forever, you will be a better manager if you’ve achieved it.

3. Grow A Set

Believe in your ideas. If you are certain that your concepts, plans, designs, budgets and strategies are right – don’t back down at the first sign of resistance. Fight for them. People can’t intimidate you. You allow yourself to be intimidated. I have a personal example of this in my older brother, Chris.

Chris is the smartest person I’ve ever met, and I’ve met a lot of people. He is very deliberate and strategic. He researches, plans, considers all the alternatives and then delivers magnificent solutions. At that point, he calmly holds his ground. When he’s right, he’s right until someone can prove otherwise or provide a better alternative. Here’s a key point: Chris isn’t rigid or inflexible. He’s constantly looking for a better way or new ideas. Sorry, I forgot to mention that Chris is a high-level global engineer, and his projects range into the hundreds of millions of dollars from Dubai to Beijing. He is in constant demand by corporations and governments for two reasons. For one, yes, he’s smart. But two, they know that he will do his best not to let a customer do something wrong, even when the customer insists.

4. Don’t Get Lost in Execution

Execution simply focuses on mechanics and has nothing to do with results. Clients expect solid execution from anyone. It’s a given. I don’t mean you should be sloppy and unprofessional, but having the lights work and the videos play doesn’t mean a thing if your audience misses the point and forgets your event afterward. Remember: A bad idea delivered with flawless execution is still a bad idea. Results come from the quality of the thinking, strategy and tactics. Not your delivery system.

5. Be Distinctive

Even if you like to work behind the scenes, you need to be valuable to those who matter. Make sure the right people notice. You have to show up on their personal radar, and the key to that is building genuine relationships. Take the initiative. Always ask, “What can I do for you?” If someone helps you, return the favor. Pay it forward.

6. Play Well with Others

When I was very young, my grandmother told me, “The least you can do is be pleasant.” Your workday may be “only business,” but it is filled with one thing: people. Regardless of what anyone says, it’s always personal. So, be kind. Remember the people around you are struggling also. There are no prizes for being right if you bruise and use people in the process.

“Be kind whenever possible. And it is always possible.”

The Dalai Lama

That’s All It Takes

You know if you’re good. You know if you have your act together. You know if you can deliver more results, at a higher quality than the “other guys.” Looking smart isn’t about competition.

Looking smart is about helping the people who matter to recognize the value you offer.

So before you arrive at your workplace tomorrow, stop and consider how you can provide consistent value, do things well, deliver results and be distinctive. Soon, people will see how smart you really are.

If you want to know more about how to grab attention and engage your customers, clients and audiences just click on CONTACT US and get in touch.

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Special Guest Illustrator

I want to give a special thank you to Justin Baugus for the permission to use his Vitruvian Man in Suit illustration. Justin is exploring what it takes to become a modern Renaissance Man on his site – The Manaissance. It’s very interesting and surprising.

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About the Author
Andy Johnston is a multi-faceted communication professional who has a comfortable way of working with people. Andy is an Emmy Award winning communicator known for his energy, humor, creativity and his unique ability to discover the key results that must be generated – and then to develop ingenious ways to engage and motivate audiences. He has broad experience in strategic planning, messaging, creative direction, marketing, and events.One of the things Andy says often is, “How can we make it better?”
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