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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 July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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