Gain a Competitive Advantage by Meeting Your Deadlines | TechWell

Gain a Competitive Advantage by Meeting Your Deadlines

Calendar with deadline circled

Do you meet your deadlines? For example, when you’re asked to speak at a conference or meeting, do you deliver any requested material by the due date you’re given? When you’re invited to write an article or a blog post, do you turn it in on time?

I ask because many people don’t, and the fact that they don’t is a huge competitive advantage for those who do.

I discovered the phenomenon of missed deadlines long ago when editors to whom I submitted articles complimented me not on my writing, but on meeting the due date we’d agreed to. That made me realize that on-time delivery was both uncommon and appreciated.

The same goes for conferences. At one conference, for example, I asked the conference manager how many speakers had met the specified deadline for submitting material such as the presentation description and speaker biography. She said I was one of the few. And the others? She said that when her staff contacted them, some had forgotten about the deadline, some weren’t even aware of it, and the rest were quick with excuses. 

As a result, those who do meet such deadlines develop a strong, positive reputation with the editors, conference managers, and others who are on the receiving end. When they come to know you as someone they can count on to help them meet their own deadlines, you’re the one they’ll turn to for other opportunities and recommend to their colleagues. Delivering on time is a competitive advantage.

You, too, can gain this advantage. Simply get material in on time. Granted, you have many demands on your time. Therefore, it may help to create a list of your deadlines and plan and schedule your work accordingly.

Also don’t hesitate to negotiate the due dates if you think you need to; there’s often some flexibility in the schedule. If you agree to a due date and then discover you can’t meet it, get in touch with your contact well in advance. Explain your situation and see what you can work out.

Of course, sometimes, the best strategy to avoid delivering late is to say no to the initial invitation, or maybe “Thanks, but not just now.” But if you agree to the due date, strive to meet it. And here’s a secret: Delivering early is even better than delivering on time. It’s a sure way to be noticed, appreciated, and remembered.

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