Kindness costs nothing. Lasting impressions are everything.
This month I have returned to marketing and communications following a brief spell in financial services. Since I announced my return, I have been astounded by the kindness and positivity that has engulfed me.
By trade I am a reputation management expert, so it is no surprise I am skilled at managing my own. However even I had underestimated the positive impression I must have given off over the years.
One of the first staff members I managed circa 15 years ago was the first to get in touch seeking wise counsel and reminding me how good I am with people and problem solving. Next a communications industry expert and personal hero of mine seeking me out to offer her business some support. That was one of those moments you contemplate cartwheeling up the street and or pinching yourself!
There are many others who have welcomed me back to communications and a large group of people who love the fact I have followed my gut instincts, passion and not been afraid to make another big change.
In the spirit of always looking to connect with others, I have been spending time every week having conversations with people I have never actually met or spoken to. Some people would hate that but, in my view, there is nothing better than a blank sheet of paper at the start of a Zoom, not having a clue what is going to happen during the call and just letting the conversation and ideas flow. Those sessions are always fun, and some have led to regular catch ups and friendships.
Tomorrow I am hosting a group mentoring session for some communicators and business owners. That will be a similarly freestyle affair but despite the lack of rigid structure, I guarantee that everybody who takes part will end the call with a smile, wave, practical ideas, inspiration and a sense of community and positivity. Comms therapy at its best with optional tea and cake.
An old manager of mine used to remind me constantly to consider the impression I left people with. Although at the time I would roll my eyes and cross my arms (!), I admit he was right. “Bend and smile Caroline” he would say when he could sense an inner fury burning inside me two hours into a futile meeting. When I heard similar words coming off my lips to my own team, I knew I had progressed.
Never underestimate the power of your personal brand. A positive reputation should always leave people with a sweet aftertaste. Kindness costs nothing. Your lasting impression is everything.