Today I have one of the simplest yet possibly most powerful success secrets to share with you, and it’s one that we’ve been told since childhood: do your homework. How many times in the past week have you been asked a question that has been clearly answered somewhere or the answer is find-able with an easy Google search? How many LinkedIn requests have you gotten that said “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn?” How many irrelevant cross promotion requests have you gotten? My guess is that you would say yes to at least one of these things, maybe even all of them several times over in the past week.
Not doing your homework is not a good first impression. So often we only have a first impression with someone, so if we come across as crass, rude, lazy or egotistic that first impression can become a very last impression. It doesn’t take a lot of work to do your homework typically, a 2 minute visit to a website, glance at their social profile or Google search can answer most questions. Not only do you skip the back-and-forth that would have gone on between you and the other person (and wasted both your time), you’re able to approach them as a consummate professional.
Don’t get me wrong, I love questions. I have no problem with questions asking for clarification after doing the homework and reviewing the research, asking questions is one of the best ways to grow and learn. But expecting others to have all the answers to your questions because you’re too lazy to do the reading/research is not something I, and many other business professionals, respect.
This week I encourage you to take the time to do just a little reading, just a little research, and put in just a little effort before you go asking questions that have easy to find answers or try to begin a professional relationship without knowing anything about the other person.