4 Traits of Successful People

Posted on May 19, 2014

As many of you know, I had the privilege of building a great campaign with The Ford Motor Company. The two colleges that won our competition, Boston College and Carnegie Mellon University, went on a once in a lifetime trip to Ford World Headquarters in Detroit last week. I was lucky enough to attend, sit in several executive presentations, and learn so much about the Ford business, culture, and history. After listening and chatting with several executives, here were some things I noticed about why they are successful:

  1. They have the answers. They knew their segments of the business like the back of their hand. Whenever someone had a question, they had an immediate and prompt answer and their confidence was unmistakable.
  2. They are time conscience. Each executive who came to speak was very punctual — most arrived before they were supposed to speak, and they constantly kept an eye on the clock. They wanted to make sure they left time for Q&A, so many would adjust their presentations on the fly to make sure they met their time constraints. You could tell each executive was very respectful of the next person’s time. I enjoyed watching how flexible they were and how quickly they adapted their presentations depending on the time.
  3. They are passionate. Every executive who spoke was from a different part of the Ford business, and they all made you want to know more. I’m not a car person but after this trip, I became obsessed with looking at the different vehicles on the road. When you talk about your product or services — no matter what the subject matter is — you have to be able to make people want to hear more.
  4. They are prepared. Every executive who came to present had a PowerPoint presentation prepared and some sort of hand out to give to the students. I found it admirable that busy executives like these took the time to create a PowerPoint or adapt an existing one. It showed me that they took a relatively “low priority” meeting (in the bigger picture of their days) and made it a big deal. When you know  someone has gone out of their way to really prepare for a meeting, it makes you (the attendee) feel more important. It makes you feel like they really take you seriously. It definitely made me re-think the way I prepare for meetings. Do I make my attendees feel important? Do I appear as if I’ve spent a long time preparing?