Setting expectations is one of the most important things we can do in business and in our personal lives.

When we don’t do this well, we create a world of hurt, anger and frustration, because we’ve broken a promise, and we all know the disappointment we feel when we are on the other end of that broken promise

So how do you set expectations appropriately?

First, you have to be clear about what you will do and will offer and more importantly what you won’t do and what is not included in the offer.

As you are explaining what it is you are doing and offering, you want to be careful not to overpromise the benefit of what you will be providing.

Number 2: Make reasonable expectations that are not time-bound—not only to say what you will do or provide but also in what timeframe you will do that so that people know that they can count on something happening within a certain interval of time.

Lastly: simply do what you said you were going to do and if something has changed, let people know that quickly and what their new expectation should be.

Now all of this sounds really simple and you are probably thinking, “well duh!”  But in reality, it’s tough to do on a consistent basis.

Good brands and strong relationships are built on trust.  Setting expectations builds trust.

I’d be curious to hear from you how you set and manage expectations and what you do when you have to reset those expectations.