A friend and business colleague listed “speak with more confidence” among her New Year’s resolutions, along with “earn a promotion.”
There is a correlation.
It’s difficult for people to see how awesome you are if you can’t back it up with what you say.
It’s not just looking the part, and having a resume that looks perfect, you have to sound the part too. (If you’re among the group of people who prefer “leading by example” just know that’s only going to get you so far.)
Take every opportunity to reinforce your status as a leader.
It’s my yearly exercise in gratitude. And sometimes it gets a chuckle from skeptics.
Why would I bother writing thank you notes to multi-million dollar athletes?
Because saying thank you is important. People matter and relationships count.
Football is a business, but I don’t talk to a “business” after a game. I don’t ask for interviews from a “business.”
I talk to people and I ask human beings for interviews.
Here are a few things you should know about the thank you notes I write to multi-million dollar athletes.
They don’t have to talk to me – but they do. The NFL requires that players are made available to the media. Being available to talk and being willing to talk are two different things. It’s not easy to field questions about a bad day at work or a disappointing game, and yet the guys I work with answer my questions win or lose.
People matter. The notes aren’t about their season stats or contributions on the field. Instead, I specifically call out how they’ve made my job easier or more enjoyable, just by being themselves.
Relationships are important. Being a (good) sideline reporter requires more than football knowledge. There’s a level of trust and respect needed from the players and coaches to be effective. Thank you notes express my gratitude for the trust they’ve placed in me. The notes also ensure the last interaction with me for the year is a positive one that they can take into next season.
As a result of the relationships I develop inside an NFL locker room, I know the guys have my back, I’ll get the answers I need in a timely fashion, and they’ll be gracious even during difficult conversations (or interviews).
It doesn’t matter if you’re working with multi-million dollar athletes, highly successful corporate professionals, difference-making teachers or recent college graduates. Thank you notes work.
Jen Mueller is a rock star keynote presenter and sports broadcaster. An entire career spent in sports locker rooms gives her unique perspective on leadership and business communication skills and is the basis for her latest book The Influential Conversationalist available on Amazon.
You need more than just a solid resume to build a relationship with the people you work with. Of course your coworkers want to know you can do the job, but more importantly they want to know who you are.
Let’s put this in the context of sports. You can be the best player on the team according to the stats, but that’s not enough to make you the best teammate.
It’s important to have a relationship in place because no one is perfect. Conversations don’t always go according to plan. Projects don’t get completed to the level you expect all the time. When those things happen you need people around you who look for the best-case scenario instead of trying to find reasons to pile on and make the situation worse.