These things have come up lately. . . .
1. Wash your car and keep the interior neat and clean. If someone walks you to your car after the event, asks you to drive them to the meeting, or just sees the diet cola cans spilling out when you open the door, you will wish you had. Fill your gas tank at the halfway mark.
2. When you reference current events, reporting that you heard it on NPR, Fox News, or The Daily Show kind of gives away your political orientation, or so others will think. Whether that leap to a conclusion or stereotype is fair, accurate, or neither, or you don’t care, just keep it in mind.
3. You do not have to participate in Social Media at all. However, if you do, you should keep any account you have up to date. Especially LinkedIn. Sketchy profiles make you look administratively kind of careless and unkempt. As my friend and valued advisor Rick Fernandez would say, you need to think about what you want, hatch a plan, and then you need to follow it. That’s all.
4. Curate your social media postings to conform to your brand. I am amazed at how many cat lovers populate my FB Friends. I’m also surprised (and delighted) at how few of my friends post stuff that gets others all riled up in the comments section. Having said that, I now remember that I actually curated my list of friends. You can do that too.
5. Think ahead to when you might someday be contacted by a reporter to answer some questions. What is your personal policy, and have you thought of a plan for collecting your thoughts? Of course, you know never to spontaneously answer anything in front of a camera or anyone holding a microphone. And if you choose to speak at all, on the record, do so by appointment.
6. Keep an emergency kit in your automobile, in the event that you need deodorant, a change of shoes, a wear-anywhere outfit (for women, a black top and black pants with black shoes and a string of pearls, for men a navy sports jacket and grey slacks), breath mints, money. . . you get the idea. If you are a train or bus commuter, keep these things in your office. Especially the change of shoes.
7. Know your tells. If you turn pink when irritated or confused, know that you do. If your throat closes when you are upset, if your eyes narrow when you are skeptical of the news you are hearing, if you sneeze or cough when you are nervous: acknowledge to yourself that you do these things. If you get animated after copious amounts of caffeine, if you yawn a lot when bored or restless, if you talk too much, too loud, too shrilly when under pressure, you need to be aware that these things are controllable. But first you have to know you do them, and want to get them under your control.
8. Learn to gauge how much information is too much for the occasion. Sometimes it’s better to not say everything that’s on your mind or even in your notes, because the occasion calls for strategic restraint.
9. Keep your office or cubicle clean and fairly tidy, but not immaculate or spotless. But limit the amount of personal junk and memorabilia you display. It isn’t your home. Also, think about what you want to display, as it tells your story; edit.
10. Think about who can hear you, whenever you are talking on your phone or with another person or group in conversation. Ask yourself if you would be so open, vocal, or loud if you knew your future employer’s chief executive was in the vicinity.
The point of most of these has to do with advance planning or just thinking ahead. Having choices is important; knowing that you are flexible can give you both confidence and allow you to take advantage of opportunities when opportunities come your way.