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8 Ways to Actually Deliver on Your Promises

8 Ways to Actually Deliver on Your Promises

It’s easy to make promises. You just have to say that you will do something. It’s just talk. We make promises to our coworkers, family, kids, and friends. We make promises to everyone. But it’s a lot harder to keep them. Keeping promises means actually doing what you said you would do.

One solution to keeping promises could be to not make promises at all, but that means you are no longer reliable and trustworthy to others. So instead of taking the inactive path, think of applying some new tactics:

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1. Don’t over-promise

The bigger the promise, the less likely you are to live up to it. Don’t just say what the person wants to hear. Tell them what you think you can reasonably offer. For example, if someone asks if you can come to their graduation party, but you have another party the same day, don’t say yes because they want you to say yes. Say that you might be able to and stick to it.

2. Deliver well

Give it your best. When your boss asks you to do a special task, complete the task to the best of your ability. Don’t under-do it. If the task involves several requirements, don’t just do some of them. Do them all!

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3. Remember!

When is the last time you forgot a promise that you made? Write it down the next time, even if it is something small. Every promise counts. If you are finding your schedule filling up, try prioritizing so that the most important things get done first.

4. Be cautious

When someone is asking you do something or when you are expected to do something, think before you speak. You might promise someone too much if you respond to quickly. By taking your time, you are more likely to promise exactly what you can give.

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5. Be communicative

When you make your promise, be as concise as possible. If the description of your promise is vague, then the other person may assume more of you. Say exactly what it is that you are willing to promise. After you make the promise, communicate with the person often. If you find that you cannot deliver on time or as well as you thought you could, then communicate that as soon as possible. By keeping in contact, you are showing the other person that you are making an effort to keep your promise.

6. Be consistent

Make promises that are similar in nature. In this way you can be sure of yourself and that your are not making too big of a promise for yourself. Similar to running long distances, the runner needs to pace him or herself. If the runner goes to slowly, they will not finish in time, and if they go to fast, they will tire out. Balance is key.

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7. It takes effort

It isn’t easy to deliver on your promises, and it will never be easy. Like most things, delivering on your promises requires effort. They will not make themselves. Keep pushing yourself until you get absolutely everything done.

8. Follow up

If you stick to your word, then maybe ask if there’s anything else needed. Stay present and available. If you didn’t follow through on your promise, then follow up. Explain why you could not keep your word and how you will make up for it. Then, actually do it.

9. If you can overdo something, then overdo it.

Give it everything you’ve got… and then some. Keep your promises at your own pace, don’t offer too much, and deliver more than expected. You will be responsible, and people will have more trust in you.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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