Five ways to build your professional reputation

  • Wouldn’t it be great if your inbox was consistently filled with requests to work together? Invitations to deliver training and workshops, to be the guest speaker on podcasts and a guest author and contributor to blogs and online publications? Your LinkedIn direct messages filled with exciting opportunities? To be a sought-after expert?

    Consider for a moment, what difference would this make to your business? You could focus on your business and spend less time chasing leads and selling yourself. You would have your choice from among countless opportunities. You could set your fees and decide who you wanted to work with and which projects you wanted to take on. You can have this if you build your personal reputation.

    What is reputation?

    The Cambridge Dictionary defines reputation as “the opinion that people on general have about someone or something, or how much respect or admiration someone or something receives based on past behaviour or character”.

    It’s all about you. Your reputation starts with what you say and what you do.

    Why does your reputation matter?

    Your reputation determines people’s opinions of you and their actions towards you. For example, your reputation could be a determining factor in a potential client’s decision to respond to your request for a coffee or phone call to explore a potential opportunity. Whether they like you enough for you to secure that second, deal-making, conversation. And whether they know you enough to have experienced your products and services and trust you enough to recommend you positively to others.

    A positive reputation leads to more leads, enquiries and more of the opportunities that you want. Your reputation is, literally, a bankable asset – by investing in your reputation, you are investing in your future earnings.

    But before we go on, I would like you to take a moment to consider these three points

    1. Your reputation starts with you. It is based on “everything you say and everything you do”.
    2. Yet, your reputation belongs to others, because your reputation is whatever other people think about you and say you that are.
    3. Reputation is often based on perception, not facts.

    Be honest, at this point are you thinking, “If my reputation is what others think of me, what can I do to ensure people are thinking and talking about me in the way that I would like them to?” The answer is a lot.

    Here are my top tips to deliberately shape the way others see you.

    1. Be seen

    Pre Covid-19, we would attend networking events, training sessions, workshops and team meetings in person. We would use these events to introduce ourselves, to showcase our skills and experience. We would give people an insight into our characters. We would show them who we are.

    Nowadays, we are using video conferencing for team meetings, workshops and training sessions. These are not without their limitations. It is harder to interpret the nuances of body language and non-verbal communication cues. When is it our turn to speak? How do we interrupt, to add our opinion? We are all learning how to communicate effectively online as we go.

    Without in-person events, it is more important to be visible and to be seen. Video is key. Video is the future. We must get over ourselves and become more confident in front of the camera (I am working on this!) The phenomenal growth of YouTube and IGTV reinforces just how powerful these media are in helping our audience to get to know, like and trust us.

    2.  Showcase your expertise

    Following on from my first point, social media gives us the means to share our knowledge and experience and have conversations with new and existing clients.  Platforms such as LinkedIn enable us to reach out, make new connections and grow our networks. Online surveys and groups enable us to research opinion and attitudes, helping us to shape future products and services.

    Online reviews and testimonials are growing in value. Research from HubSpot shows that 79% of people trust testimonials and online reviews as much as personal recommendations and 90% believe brand recommendations from friends.

    We can write articles for online publications, as well as traditional print media outlets.

    3. Deliver on your promises

    Do what you say you will do when you say you will do it. For example, if say you are community-minded, show us what you are doing in your local community. If you promise “great customer service”, then your customer service must be a “great” experience for everyone.

    In my work with clients, I ask myself “how can I surprise and delight them?”. Getting results which may exceed their expectations makes me really happy.

    At this time of uncertainty, you may like to under-promise and over-deliver. There are many variables we may not have control over. We have an opportunity to explore ways to do things differently. You may find a more efficient, cost-effective way.

    4. Be authentic

    At its core, your reputation is you. It is shaped by your behaviour, particularly to those around you.

    Maya Angelou, the American writer, poet and civil rights activist, said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.

    I believe this statement holds true, particularly during this current COVID crisis. Our focus is on our family, employees, friends and customers. As leaders, we need to show empathy, by genuinely caring for those around us. By taking the time to ask questions and listen to the answers. To hear what our customers need and to react accordingly, openly and transparently.

    Leading strategic public relations expert, president of Reputation Doctor®, Mike Paul, says the building blocks of a positive reputation are “honesty, trust, accountability, transparency, and humility’.

    Finally: Be consistent

    Your personal reputation, whether you are just launching your business or are already an established business leader, is based on what you say, what you do and your performance. Building a reputation takes time and consistency is crucial. Being who you say you are and acting accordingly all the time.

    When all is said and done, your reputation is what you make it.

     

    Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope you find it useful.

    Other blog articles you may be interested in

    How to represent yourself successfully on LinkedIn

    Six simple steps to awesome social media bios

    I love you to follow me on social media, the buttons are at the bottom of this article. If you would like to work with me to proactively build your personal reputation, please get in contact

     

    Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash