As a business professional, your most prized possession is your reputation. A good reputation can open doors to limitless possibilities whereas a bad reputation can make it almost impossible to succeed.
Because of this your reputation needs constant nurturing. Good reputations are earned slowly but can be lost quickly. With today’s 24-hour news cycle combined with the pervasive immediacy of social media, a reputation can be damaged in just minutes. Think of it like a bank account, the more positive contributions you make the better placed you are when an issue arises.
Your reputation is the measure of your credibility, trust and influence. Building it isn’t easy and there is no instruction manual for the best way to go about it. However, the power of a good reputation far outweighs the downside of the hard work that goes into building it.
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When you have a good reputation you get noticed by more people and this can then lead to more sales and referrals as well as new career opportunities, like board positions.
While a big part of your reputation is delivering upon your promises there are a number of tactics you can use to enhance your reputation including the media, blogging, social media as well as old fashioned networking and building relationships. What you deliver through these channels is your thought leadership and expertise.
Here are my three tips for building a strong reputation that will uncover new opportunities.
1. What do you stand for?
When people think of you, you want them to think of you in a certain way. This is your personal brand and you need to be very intentional about how it’s created otherwise others will create it for you. Do some thinking about who you are, what you stand for and the value you offer.
From this, develop key messages that can form the basis of how you describe yourself, the commentary you make to media and what you post on social media. These messages allow you to deliver consistent communication and create a uniform perception of your brand in the marketplace.
2. Make it personal
Most successful entrepreneurs will tell you relationships are essential to business success and the strongest relationships are made when there is an emotional connection. This emotional connection can only be built with honesty, where two people are brave enough to share their stories of failure and success.
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable in business doesn’t mean you need to bare your soul and your deepest, darkest secrets. But it does mean you no longer have to pretend that everything in your business is fantastic, that you can (and should) share with others your challenges, failures, struggles and on the flip side your successes, delight and excitement.
3. Don’t be afraid to stand and deliver
Successful thought leaders will tell you sharing useful and interesting information can be powerful in building a positive reputation and solid credibility.
I genuinely believe the world would be a better place if more people shared their ideas, opinions and expertise. But this requires more people to step forward and share their stories with the purpose of helping others.
When you start telling your stories and sharing your expertise to help people and you will be amazed with the emotional connection that you start building with people. Your stories can be personal stories, professional stories or stories that let people know who you are, what you do and what you stand for.
If you want to build a lasting reputation, be relentless, be of service and above all, be authentic.
Catriona Pollard is the author of From Unknown To Expert, a step-by-step framework designed to help entrepreneurs develop effective PR and social media strategies to become recognised as influencers in their field.