Stop making promises!

Just this morning a friend called a service provider and was told by his office that he’d call back in “10 minutes”. Thirty minutes later, he was on the phone to let her know that he’d call back “in an hour”. More than two hours later, she’s still waiting for his call.

Two broken promises within the first three hours of the day. How keen do you think she is to give him her business now?

Wouldn’t it have been easier for his office to say that he would “call her back”, or “call her today”.

Then when he’d called 30 minutes later to let her know he couldn’t help her immediately, she would have been pleasantly surprised rather than thinking “is this your definition of 10 minutes?”

What’s more, he doubled the mistake by making yet another promise (which was soon to be broken).

My advice:

  • Don’t allow others to make promises on your behalf.
  • Don’t make promises where you don’t have to.
  • When you do make a promise – KEEP IT (write it down, tattoo it on your arm, put a reminder in your phone, figure out a way to make sure you keep your promises, or let the person know that you can’t – prior to the promise elapsing).
  • Learn what a promise is. A promise is a claim that you’ll do something. Don’t feel like you need to say “I promise” for it to be a promise, all you need to say is “I will”.

And finally – just remember the adage that promises are like babies… easy to make, hard to deliver.


Kirsty Dunphey is the youngest ever Australian Telstra Young Business Woman of the Year, author of two books (her latest release is Retired at 27, If I can do it anyone can) and a passionate entrepreneur who started at age 15 and opened her own real estate agency at 21. Currently Kirsty heads up the premium online copywriting site for real estate agents and is a co-director of Elephant Property Launceston, Tasmania’s only boutique real estate agency purely for investment property owners. Kirsty’s other ventures are outlined at her website where you can also sign up for her newsletter.

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