Here are 5 suggestions that I recommend product managers adopt during the New Year.
1) Be “market” and not “marketing” driven – Talk to as many customers as possible in understanding their business, why they use your company’s products, what they like about it and what they don’t like about it. Plan to talk to at least one customer every week. Take time to prospects who are not “fishing” with you – why are they not buying or using your product? Know more about the customer than anyone else in the company – this is what will gain you (as a product manager) respect in the company.
2) Avoid using your laptop or Blackberries/iPhones during conversations or meetings – Give your undivided attention to the person who is talking. Nothing that needs immediate attention gets delivered via email. How would you feel if you are talking and everyone was busy using their laptops and blackberries and no one paid attention? Don’t take your laptops or blackberries to a meeting unless you are presenting. If you have something that is more urgent than being in the meeting, decline the meeting – you will do everyone a favor than being a distraction at the meeting.
3) Arrive on time for meetings – Yes, some meetings do run over, but not all. Make late arrivals an anomaly than a norm. Don’t use the excuse of everyone is late – if you break the trend, others might as well. It is nothing but professional respect.
4) Stay on topic during meetings – A shorter meeting that is focused on what is on the agenda is better. Chit chat is OK if you are early to the meeting, but time is valuable. Have’nt you said so many times “I wish I did not have this many meetings?”. Shorter meetings are good for everyone.
5) Listen more than talk – Easier said than done, but practice more listening than talking.
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