Wikipedia defines ripple effect as "a term used to describe a situation where, like the ever expanding ripples across water when an object is dropped into it, an effect from an initial state can be followed outwards incrementally."
If you were to translate that into the effect that you – your personality and energy – have on those around you, what would your ripple effect look like? Would it be a beautiful, calm energy that flows gently across the people you touch? Or would yours be that of a giant belly flop, causing a veritable tsunami to wash over everyone within miles, wiping out small animals and machinery and turning them into little pieces of flotsam and jetsam?
An interesting thought to ponder, don't you think?
How Your Ripple Effect Affects Others
Do you know someone who by just being around them makes you feel serene and at peace? Are you acquainted with others who have such an overbearing energy that you can virtually feel them sucking you dry or you want to back away?
In my experience, I have found that the tsunami creators rarely are aware of the effect that they have on others. You might think that I'm suggesting they have a negative effect, but that is not necessarily the case. Let's say that that two belly-floppers get together; they might just spur each other on to do great things, based on their common frenetic energy. However, that type of person may be unaware of why they can't connect with gentle ripple-type people.
Your Ripple Effect In Business
In business, your ripple effect is more defined by how various attributes (such as honesty, integrity, consistency) positively affect those with whom you do business or interact. For example, every time you work with a client to help them achieve a desired outcome, you cause a ripple effect that touches them, their clients, and depending on what service you provide, perhaps even their family and friends.
In business, we obviously want to provide as far-reaching a ripple effect as possible. If you can help one person get well or physically fit, wouldn't it make sense to design your business model in a way that allows you to "leverage" yourself and affect more people positively? Of course it does.
How To Gauge Your Ripple Effect
Besides using metrics that tell you your success in terms of sales, number of clients and income, you can simply ask your customers. One way to do this is to ask for testimonials. But, as you'll see in my assignment today, there is a way to get more effective testimonials than others.
Another way to get feedback on your ripple effect is to send a short survey to your customers (by way of a free survey tool like surveymonkey.com or polldaddy.com). Keep it short: no more than five or six questions, or even just one.
The frequency (or lack of) referrals is probably the ultimate gauge of your ripple effect or "reach." If you are working solely by referral and no longer need to pound the pavement so to speak, you have achieved an admirable ripple effect. Good for you! That kind of positioning probably wasn't easy, but it was well worth the effort, yes?
Your Mission Should You Choose to Accept It
- Make a list of the attributes you most admire in your competition or business leaders you follow.
- Design a short survey, asking questions around those attributes in a way that is meaningful to your public (I advise doing it directly to your customers rather than sending up a "trial balloon" in Social Media).
- With every single client, take the time to ask for an effective testimonial. Note: Avoid getting weak testimonials like, "Susan is such a nice person to work with, blah, blah…" Be sure to ask for specifics that you want to see in a testimonial. One way of doing that is to give them some bullet points or even write the testimonial yourself (perhaps based on what they've verbally complimented you on) and ask them if they'd feel comfortable with it as is or if they'd like to edit it in any way. This works especially well for really busy people who want to give you a testimonial but they just don't have time or they hate writing.
- Finally, and only if you have lots of courage, ask close friends and family what effect your "energy" has on them – but be prepared to hear the answers!
A final word of advice: for goodness sake don't go trying to drastically change who and what you are! You are unique with strengths and flaws – we all are. By being aware how we affect those around us in different ways, it just helps us to connect with more people, respecting our differences.
Until next time, remember to be authentically YOU and let your ripples be felt on the other side of the world – or just in your backyard!