Students & YPs

Young Professionals’ Voice: Two Influential Words That Will Help You Make Things Happen

By Devon Ryan

Photo: Tresal Photography

Devon Ryan is IEEE-USA’s Young Professionals Voice columnist, and the Young Professionals Representative on the IEEE-USA Board of Directors. Follow him on Twitter @DevonRyanI.

Are you all about making a good impression? Maybe you just met someone. Maybe you just started a new job. Hopefully, you just started something. You want to make the best impression, right?

They say first impressions are everything, and perhaps it’s true to a certain extent.  But in my opinion, most people overthink this concept. In fact, while you shouldn’t make a fool of yourself at the first meeting, it’s more important to focus on the process of relationship building, not the inception of the relationship.

Every interaction you have will influence the relationship, and someone’s impression of you. So how can you make the best impression possible in all your interactions? Two words: “Will do.”

In 2012, I served as the IEEE Student Branch Association president while attending college. I learned many great insights serving as the leader of this organization. I was on a team with 10 officers and I needed to delegate tasks to them to keep the organization moving forward. During my tenure, I noticed there were three types of people:

  1. Those who didn’t make things happen.
  2. Those who made things happen with a little bit of direction.
  3. Those who made things happen.

The first type of person simply just does not get anything done. We have all experienced this person. The second type of person is a motivated individual, but sometimes they come back to you when unexpected problems emerge.  As you can imagine, the third type was my favorite person to work with – the person who just “made things happen.” Can you figure out why?

Ironically, it was not because they delivered consistently. It was the process of delivery that made this type of person so enjoyable to work with. When I asked the third type to accomplish a task, they would simply say, “Will do,” or something similar.

These types of people understand that obstacles come with the task. More problems may even emerge while they try to complete it. In fact, you can usually count on that, but that’s why you gave them the task in the first place. If there weren’t obstacles or problems associated with it, then you wouldn’t need their help.

The obstacle could be simply time. The person making the request just might not have the time to do a particular task. Or, perhaps, it is because they do not have a certain specialty skill, and think you are better equipped to handle it.

As the leader of an organization, I cannot stress enough how great it felt to hear a team member reply, “will do.” With this insight in mind, I used it to my advantage when I started my first real job after graduating college. When someone asked me to get something done, I would ask a couple of questions to make sure I understood the project clearly. Then, once I knew I had a decent understanding of what I was supposed to accomplish, I replied, “Will do.”  I switched it up sometimes, though, so I didn’t sound repetitive. Every now and then, I replaced “Will do,” with “I’ll make it happen.”

Not sure how many questions to ask before saying, “Will do”? Use your judgment. The amount of questions you ask will change over time, as you build experience and confidence. That’s part of the reason why they hired you in the first place – your judgment. If they didn’t need your creative judgment, coupled with your competence, they would have just hired robots.


It goes both ways though. If you are the leader, you set the tone for the organization. When I started my first company, Lion Mobile LLC, I was sure to say two words when my team asked me for anything: “Will do.” It sort of just caught on from there, as other team members started using it.

I challenge you to embrace this “less is more” approach to building relationships. Do not overthink the beginning of it. Just letting the other person know you are there for them will go a long way. All types of relationships can benefit from someone who has a “will do” attitude.  In  a complicated world, the simple idea that you can ask someone for something and get a positive, two-syllable response, will not only help that person, but it will help you.

Will you accept my challenge? I’d love to hear a strong, “Will do”!


Devon Ryan is IEEE-USA’s Young Professionals Voice columnist, and the Young Professionals Representative on the IEEE-USA Board of Directors. Follow him on Twitter @DevonRyanI.

Guest Contributor

IEEE-USA is an organizational unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), created in 1973 to support the career and public policy interests of IEEE’s U.S. members. IEEE-USA is primarily supported by an annual assessment paid by U.S. IEEE Members.

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