There’s a reason parents are told to be consistent when they raise their children, and it goes far beyond getting the little ones to behave. Consistency instils security in people. If you feel secure about how someone’s going to behave in any given situation, you feel safer in your communications with them.
That works in reverse, too. Think about working relationships with people who are like ticking bombs. Whom you never know where are at. Who are entirely inconsistent in their communications. These people make you feel like you’re stepping on egg shells and, in my experience, they stifle creative development everywhere they go.
Being consistent is a business superpower. It allows you to build closer, stronger relationships and increase your know, like and trust factor considerably.
Who are you?
A big part of being consistent is actually, at its core, about knowing who you are. That doesn’t mean don’t develop, don’t grow, don’t change. Any professional should strive to learn whenever they can. In fact, they should strive to be consistent on the developmental side of things, too.
But knowing who you are in the context of provider-customer communications means also knowing the underlying values that you would like to convey through your actions.
Is it important to you that other people are prompt and respectful of your time? Don’t be late for meetings. Do you want people to work fast – or thoroughly? If it’s the latter, you need to be thorough in your work, too. Is kindness a defining value in your business? You better be kind in your emails and social media messages, whenever you have the chance.
By mapping out who you are in a professional context, you set yourself up for consistency. With some practise, you’ll be able to quickly identify which communication matches your business identity – and which doesn’t.
Consistency in your work
Consistency doesn’t just work to your advantage in communications, it can be what sets you apart from your competition in the work you produce, too. And once again, it’s essentially to set the bar mindfully – and then keep it steadily in place.
Imagine buying a service for $300, and getting an end result you would have easily paid double that for. Now imagine buying that same service again and ‘only’ getting $300 worth of work. Chances are you’d be disappointed.
Consistency is the best way to show your clients and customers that you’re good at what you do – but it also serves as a way to protect yourself from people who expect more than they’re paying for.
If you’re having a bad day, and you realise that you’re unable to keep your bar where you want it on whichever project you have before you, there’s consistency in communicating that, too. Most (good) clients will be understanding – in fact, they’ll be thankful – of the fact that you want to keep your deliverables consistent for them.
Your expectations and consistency
Expectations, I’ve found, are one of the most important components of business communication there are. They wield the power to turn a perfectly symbiotic relationship sour. They can turn bad conversation habits into good ones. And they serve to protect both customers and service providers in a number of different situations.
Thing is, though, if expectations are going to work at full communication-influencing capacity, you need to be consistent with them.
You need to be realistic, too, sure. But maintaining your expectations throughout your professional partnerships, roles and collaborations is essential. It brings us back to the initial question of security. If the people who work with you know what you expect of them – and you’re consistent according to your stated expectations – they’ll feel safer in their work with you.
That makes for more fruitful, creative and progressive working relationships that hold the potential to grow.
Here’s what I do to be consistent on a day-to-day basis
- I keep my core values in a place I can easily access them. If something I’m about to say or write doesn’t correspond to them, I revise it.
- I’m kind. Always. That doesn’t mean accepting the unacceptable, but to be mindful of my communications.
- I answer people. If people email me, message me, or comment on something I’ve written, I respond to them.
- I write pieces I’m proud of. If I can’t, I take a break, or do the task on a different day.
Do you have a story about the power of consistency – or the pitfalls of inconsistency? I’d love to hear from you! Drop a comment below or write me directly at email@example.com.