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Attention to detale for the win

3/14/2016

Is that typo in the heading all you can focus on right now? Me too.

Often we get so wrapped up in deadlines and deliverables, trying to juggle too many balls at once, that we forget one of the most important aspects of our jobs: attention to detail.

So much can go wrong without attention to detail, leading to mistakes, which cost time and money.

Below are a few tips I’ve gathered relating to how to win people over, simply by paying close attention to detail…

Know your audience

Who are you speaking to? Do they like to receive a lot of information, bullet points, or do they not pay attention to detail at all? If you don’t know, there’s no harm in asking — mapping to their preferences in all future comms. While a lot of communication takes place via email, we should never be afraid to pick up the phone to clarify anything.

A journalist recently told me that he wished he received press releases that summarise the news in a tweet — that way he’d be way more open to keep reading, as opposed to trying to make sense of an incredibly wordy news release. So think about summarising the news in 140 characters and putting that text upfront. Before anything else is said.

Triple check everything

While this can prove time consuming, it’s so important to re-read whatever it is you’re sending — at least three times. Spell check and sense checking with team members are perfect vehicles to use. A badly worded email could paint a very bad picture for the brand of the company you are working for, as well as your own personal brand.

Choose your battles

Knowing when to stop consulting is a fine art. Clients look to us for advice, but at times policies and narrow mindedness can prove problematic. The trick here is to provide counsel, with a clear rationale to explain the suggestion. However, if your counsel is still falling on deaf ears, either pick up the phone to call them or just let it go — you can’t win every single battle.

Learn from mistakes

Fail forward. This is the best way to learn. Don’t be counter-productive and keep making the same mistake. Take a step away from the situation and reflect on what the bigger picture is, and how this impacts your client’s business.

Manage up

Never be afraid of engaging and bantering with senior managers in your account team. Get to know them and find out what makes them tick and what they expect. Maintaining a flat structure and not being afraid of engaging with leaders within the company will go a long way, to ensure your career is continually on the incline.

Jarred du Plessis is an account manager at WE South Africa.

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