Around 25 years ago, back when I was a young travel agent, we didn't have computer generated boarding passes like we do now. In fact, we didn't even write the airline tickets ourselves. We had to order them directly from the airline. As a result, ticket delivery could be quite unreliable. As a young travel agent, It didn't take me long to realise this. So if an airline told me tickets where due on a Thursday, I would tell my clients they were due on the Tuesday of the following week. Then, if the tickets were late, I still had a few days up my sleeve. Sometimes the tickets would arrive on time, or only a day late, in which case I would call my client and let them know they were ready to collect. This was my favourite part. Calling a client to let them know their tickets were available earlier than they expected usually resulted in a squeal of delight (and surprise) from the client - and it made me look extremely efficient. Either way, early or on time, I always looked good and my clients were never disappointed or kept waiting.
The trick is, knowing what you can and can't do.
Making a promise you can't keep is no way to build a relationship, a business or a career. Only you know what you are capable of, so focus on what you do well. Establish what your client wants and attempt to manage their expectations. Go the extra mile to give them a bit more than they wanted and always set realistic timeframes. Don't over commit yourself and allow yourself some extra time for those unexpected road blocks. This is not manipulation, but rather an honest self-assessment and reasonable communication.
Deliver more than you said you would and you become the hero. At the very least, you should always strive to deliver exactly what you promised.
Marion Jackson is an accomplished Executive Assistant who has identified a gap in the local New Zealand market for providing affordable websites and business support.