In our world as independent professionals, we ARE our business. What we say to others ends up being attributed to us and to our business, because we are the same.
Have you ever mentioned something casually, then forgotten all about it because it was not central to your primary responsibility?
My wife and I recently purchased a 10-year old home. We had a contractor walk around our house with us because we needed a new doggie door and fence for Bailey, our Welsh Springer Spaniel. During the walk-around, the contractor pointed out an unused electrical cable and mentioned that he could cap it off to make it unobtrusive but available in the future. It was not part of the project, it was never mentioned again, and I forgot about it.
Once the fence and doggie door project was long finished, my wife kept feeling irritated that the wire had not been capped off as previously mentioned (even though casually) by our contractor on the initial walk-around. It turns out that she had heard the idea not as a casual comment but as a promise. Finally she talked to the contractor about it and now we have a plan.
I wonder how many times I have made an off-hand comment and the person I was with took it to heart. I realize that as an independent professional, what I say, even casually, can be heard as a commitment. And for me, part of my professional brand is: “I always keep my commitments.”
Are you careful with what you say? Are you aware of the impact of each word you say, especially around your clients?