How To... Be Detail Oriented
In Skillsets By stacymorgan

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The little things that make you detail oriented.  A necessary skill at work.


When applying for your new position you were probably asked the common interview question “are you detail oriented?”  Well you likely responded with an enthusiastic “absolutely!” do you really know how to pick up on the little things?  Following these tips will show you that it’s really all in the details. 


Pay Attention – Really listening means abandoning the multi-tasking for a moment (just this once its okay).  No glancing at the clock or checking out a cute coworker. 


Write Things Down – Scribble down key information and review it immediately to solidify the details in your brain.  Repeating key details out loud also helps to reinforce them as well.  “I’ll talk to you Monday at 3?”  “Right, Monday at 3”.


Request Follow Up –With your loud talking cubicle neighbor yapping on the phone and 6 pieces of office equipment humming in the background it can be unrealistic to remember the exact financial figures your coworker tossed out.  When someone gives you highly detailed instructions simply ask, “Would you mind sending me an email with that information?” This gives you a solid record to refer back to when the little things slip your mind.


Ask for Additional InformationRequest and write down the name of the person you spoke with and the date.  This little detail can cover your butt later if someone tries to re-neg on their statements.  Don’t stand for generalized non-answers either.  If someone says “You’ll have it in a couple weeks” say “Let’s nail down a specific date”.  Also don’t be afraid to ask for solid information, like when you’re anxious to get that document in your hand.  It’s easy enough to simply ask, “Do you have a copy of that sheet?” or “Can I make a quick copy of that?”


Check Your WorkA cursory review before turning assignments into your eagle-eyed boss may reveal the little things that are off, such as punctuation or spelling.  And a quick double-check of details like numerical figures will ensure your work is correct down to the last detail. 


Use ChecklistsRunning through a quick mental or written checklist will help you make sure all the details fall into place.  “Do I have the files I need for this meeting?  Are the reports printed out for tomorrow mornings conference?”  And do yourself a favor and keep these little conversations in your head.  No one wants to be “that person from accounting that talks to himself”. 


Being detail-oriented is a skill that can be learned if you practice keying in on little things like names, dates, places, times and numbers.  In today’s highly competitive workplaces it’s often the little things that set you apart. 

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