Every contact leaves a trace

Every contact leaves a trace

Dr. Edmond Locard’s “exchange principle” is true not just in forensic science but also in business and in life – every contact does leave a trace.

If we believe this to be true, moving through our day with this thought in mind will help us be careful and considered about everything we say and do.

My understanding of ‘every contact leaves a trace’ is that neutral is not an option. Everything we say or do either adds – or takes away. Everything we say and do has a positive impact – or a negative impact. It may not be huge, but it is an impact.

So, do the words we say (or don’t say) build someone up – or knock someone down? Does the wording and tone of our email add to understanding – or make things less understood? Does the product we deliver exceed our client’s expectations (the ones we’ve created) – or do we disappoint them in some way? Does our being early or late make them feel respected and valued – or does it make them feel unimportant? Does our facial expression communicate pleasure at meeting someone – or not? You get the idea – there is no neutral. We’re either adding or we’re taking away.

Here’s a little exercise you could try with your team. Think about all the interactions, big and small, that you have with your customers. At those interaction points, decide whether you’re adding to their experience and the relationship. If you’re not adding, your taking away – or certainly missing an opportunity. Think too of the many, small occasions when you could engineer the opportunity to ‘add to’ the relationship. The biggest reason for customers leaving a business is ‘perceived indifference’ – they believe you don’t care. Look for opportunities to show you do care.

After you’ve done this for customers, you could try it for suppliers, partners, colleagues, your team, your boss – you can even do it for family and friends!

There is no neutral – you’re either adding or taking away. Every contact DOES leave a trace.

If you know of someone who wants to learn more about how that can leave ‘positive traces’, next month’s Business Development Seminar is on Thursday 26th November at The Life Centre on Washway Road in Sale.


Mark Dyble