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15 Quick Ways to Give Value and Make a Positive Impression

15 Quick Ways to Give Value and Make a Positive Impression
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Making a positive impression on someone you met through a networking event or online need not be a difficult or use much of your time or resources. The following 15 quick ways to make a positive impression are designed to be easy to implement and most only take a few minutes to do, depending on where you are at.

The list is geared toward network-savvy professionals, especially those who are actively involved in expanding their business or ideas. Most of these 15 ways do not require having an in depth knowledge of the areas of interest of the person you want to impress. It is simple enough to ask for more information where you aren’t sure.
These things should come from a genuine area of interest and there should be no expectation of getting something back if you do one or more of these things for someone. Think of the impression you have of those who do these sorts of things for you from time to time – likely a positive one.

1. Forward relevant articles. Forwarding one or two articles or links is all that you should do here unless you get feedback asking for more of them. Don’t annoy someone by sending tons of stuff forever. One or two well chosen articles should do nicely. Audio and video clips are included in this.

2. Mention the person in a blog post or article you are writing. It is a good idea to run it by the person first although not always necessary if you are mentioning something that is already in the public domain. A positive brief mention will likely go over nicely.

3. Give them a marketing tip they can use for their business. It should be specific to something they do. Maybe you noticed something on the website or see someplace where some brief feedback could be helpful.

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4. Write a helpful article for a publication or blog. Maybe you are in a position to feature the person in a publication or blog you regularly write for. Rather than just a brief mention as per item 2 above, this would be more of a feature that might involve you interviewing the person for your piece. Including the person in a speech you are giving also fits in here.

5. Introduce them to a prospective alliance partner. This can be a prospective client or someone the person can work with in some capacity. This is a common and traditional way to help someone.

6. Give them a relevant book. Don’t badger someone into reading it or become offended if it ends up sitting on a credenza for several months unread. It is also a good idea to let them pass it on to someone else who might find it more interesting. Don’t confuse this with loaning someone a book where there is an expectation of getting it back. That can become embarrassing if the book is lost, damaged or forgotten.

7. Forward them a useful template. This works especially well if you are well organized and have a collection of useful templates. Examples include business planning, GTD tools, checklists, marketing resources, etc.

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8. Recommend directories where they can promote their business online. There is a large and growing number of places where people can promote their business online. Check and see if there is already a listing on one or more of the places that you look for stuff at. If there is no listing, suggest it.

9. Give them a testimonial. If suitable, you could give them something for their website, book, etc. The converse also works in some circumstances. This is where you put their blurb on your site, book, etc.

10. Sponsor or volunteer for their organization or group. This is a great way of supporting the person without being too direct about it. You can easily vary the level of support depending on your interests.

11. Give them promotional products. Most people like getting free stuff so if you give them a sample promotional product, it should go over well. Be careful to ensure you don’t violate their gift protocol if they work for the government or some other organization that has restrictions or disclosure requirements.

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12. Answer their questions on LinkedIn or Yahoo Answers. Being able to answer someone’s question in a timely manner definitely adds value.

13. Forward their article to a colleague or client (and let them know). Spreading his or her information around is often an easy and effective way to help someone while also giving value to the recipient. Using the shot gun approach of blasting the information to your mailing lists is almost never a very good idea. But picking and choosing one or more select people to send it to can add good value.

14. Invite them to a relevant business event (just invite or pay for them). Some might consider a hockey or football game a relevant business event. In any case, sending invitations or tickets should be done based on his or her preferences and interests. Check schedules and availabilities before sending stuff out. Also make it easy for the person to politely decline your offer in case it doesn’t fit.

15. Buy their product or help make a sale. If the fit is a good one, buy it. Or if there is a clear fit for someone you know, help close the sale.

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Doing these quick and simple things for someone adds value and can go a long way toward making a lasting positive impression. These things also tend to separate the doers from the talkers in the eyes of the recipient.

Peter Paul Roosen and Tatsuya Nakagawa are co-founders of Atomica Creative Group , a specialized strategic product marketing firm. Through leading edge insight and research, sound strategic planning and effective project management, Atomica helps companies achieve greater success in bringing new products to market and in improving their existing businesses. They have co-authored Overcoming Inventoritis: The Silent Killer of Innovation now available.

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Take Notes: 3 Effective Note-Taking Techniques

How to Take Notes: 3 Effective Note-Taking Techniques

Note-taking is one of those skills that rarely gets taught. Almost everyone assumes either that taking good notes comes naturally or, that someone else must have already taught about how to take notes. Then, we sit around and complain that our colleagues don’t know how to take notes effectively.

I figure it’s about time to do something about that. Whether you’re a student or a mid-level professional, the ability to take effective, meaningful notes is a crucial skill. Not only do good notes help us recall facts and ideas we may have forgotten, the act of writing things down helps many of us to remember them better in the first place.

One of the reasons people have trouble taking effective notes is that they’re not really sure what notes are for. I think a lot of people, students and professionals alike, attempt to capture a complete record of a lecture, book, or meeting in their notes — to create, in effect, minutes. This is a recipe for failure.

Trying to get every last fact and figure down like that leaves no room for thinking about what you’re writing and how it fits together. If you have a personal assistant, by all means, ask him or her to write minutes; if you’re on your own, though, your notes have a different purpose to fulfill.

The purpose of note-taking is simple: to help you work better and more quickly. This means your notes don’t have to contain everything, they have to contain the most important things.

And if you’re focused on capturing everything, you won’t have the spare mental “cycles” to recognize what’s truly important. Which means that later, when you’re studying for a big test or preparing a term paper, you’ll have to wade through all that extra garbage to uncover the few nuggets of important information?

What to Write Down

Your focus while taking notes should be two-fold. First, what’s new to you? There’s no point in writing down facts you already know. If you already know the Declaration of Independence was written and signed in 1776, there’s no reason to write that down. Anything you know you know, you can leave out of your notes.

Second, what’s relevant? What information is most likely to be of use later, whether on a test, in an essay, or in completing a project? Focus on points that directly relate to or illustrate your reading (which means you’ll have to have actually done the reading…). The kinds of information to pay special attention to are:

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1. Dates of Events

Dates allow you to create a chronology, putting things in order according to when they happened, and understand the context of an event.

For instance, knowing Isaac Newton was born in 1643 allows you to situate his work in relation to that of other physicists who came before and after him, as well as in relation to other trends of the 17th century.

2. Names of People

Being able to associate names with key ideas also helps remember ideas better and, when names come up again, to recognize ties between different ideas whether proposed by the same individuals or by people related in some way.

3. Theories or Frameworks

Any statement of a theory or frameworks should be recorded — they are the main points most of the time.

4. Definitions

Like theories, these are the main points and, unless you are positive you already know the definition of a term, should be written down.

Keep in mind that many fields use everyday words in ways that are unfamiliar to us.

5. Arguments and Debates

Any list of pros and cons, any critique of a key idea, both sides of any debate or your reading should be recorded.

This is the stuff that advancement in every discipline emerges from, and will help you understand both how ideas have changed (and why) but also the process of thought and development of the matter of subject.

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6. Images

Whenever an image is used to illustrate a point, a few words are in order to record the experience.

Obviously it’s overkill to describe every tiny detail, but a short description of a painting or a short statement about what the class, session or meeting did should be enough to remind you and help reconstruct the experience.

7. Other Stuff

Just about anything a professor writes on a board should probably be written down, unless it’s either self-evident or something you already know. Titles of books, movies, TV series, and other media are usually useful, though they may be irrelevant to the topic at hand.

I usually put this sort of stuff in the margin to look up later (it’s often useful for research papers, for example). Pay attention to other’s comments, too — try to capture at least the gist of comments that add to your understanding.

8. Your Own Questions

Make sure to record your own questions about the material as they occur to you. This will help you remember to ask the professor or look something up later, as well as prompt you to think through the gaps in your understanding.

3 Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

You don’t have to be super-fancy in your note-taking to be effective, but there are a few techniques that seem to work best for most people.

1. Outlining

Whether you use Roman numerals or bullet points, outlining is an effective way to capture the hierarchical relationships between ideas and data. For example, in a history class, you might write the name of an important leader, and under it the key events that he or she was involved in. Under each of them, a short description. And so on.

Outlining is a great way to take notes from books, because the author has usually organized the material in a fairly effective way, and you can go from start to end of a chapter and simply reproduce that structure in your notes.

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For lectures, however, outlining has limitations. The relationship between ideas isn’t always hierarchical, and the instructor might jump around a lot. A point later in the lecture might relate better to information earlier in the lecture, leaving you to either flip back and forth to find where the information goes best (and hope there’s still room to write it in), or risk losing the relationship between what the professor just said and what she said before.

2. Mind-Mapping

For lectures, a mind-map might be a more appropriate way of keeping track of the relationships between ideas. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of mind-mapping, but it might just fit the bill.

Here’s the idea:

In the center of a blank sheet of paper, you write the lecture’s main topic. As new sub-topics are introduced (the kind of thing you’d create a new heading for in an outline), you draw a branch outward from the center and write the sub-topic along the branch. Then each point under that heading gets its own, smaller branch off the main one. When another new sub-topic is mentioned, you draw a new main branch from the center. And so on.

The thing is, if a point should go under the first heading but you’re on the fourth heading, you can easily just draw it in on the first branch. Likewise, if a point connects to two different ideas, you can connect it to two different branches.

If you want to neaten things up later, you can re-draw the map or type it up using a program like FreeMind, a free mind-mapping program (some wikis even have plug-ins for FreeMind mind-maps, in case you’re using a wiki to keep track of your notes).

You can learn more about mind-mapping here: How to Mind Map: Visualize Your Cluttered Thoughts in 3 Simple Steps

3. The Cornell System

The Cornell System is a simple but powerful system for increasing your recall and the usefulness of your notes.

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About a quarter of the way from the bottom of a sheet of paper, draw a line across the width of the page. Draw another line from that line to the top, about 2 inches (5 cm) from the right-hand edge of the sheet.

You’ve divided your page into three sections. In the largest section, you take notes normally — you can outline or mind-map or whatever. After the lecture, write a series of “cues” into the skinny column on the right, questions about the material you’ve just taken notes on. This will help you process the information from the lecture or reading, as well as providing a handy study tool when exams come along: simply cover the main section and try to answer the questions.

In the bottom section, you write a short, 2-3 line summary in your own words of the material you’ve covered. Again, this helps you process the information by forcing you to use it in a new way; it also provides a useful reference when you’re trying to find something in your notes later.

You can download instructions and templates from American Digest, though the beauty of the system is you can dash off a template “on the fly”.

The Bottom Line

I’m sure I’m only scratching the surface of the variety of techniques and strategies people have come up with to take good notes. Some people use highlighters or colored pens; others a baroque system of post-it notes.

I’ve tried to keep it simple and general, but the bottom line is that your system has to reflect the way you think. The problem is, most haven’t given much thought to the way they think, leaving them scattered and at loose ends — and their notes reflect this.

More Note-Taking Tips

Featured photo credit: Kaleidico via unsplash.com

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