Whether you like to admit it or not, we should all (and to an extent, we do) – PR ourselves.
No matter if you’re an entrepreneur or an employee, we’re all in the business of reputation. For some, it comes naturally. For others, and I’m in this basket, the thought of putting yourself out there publicly is daunting. But if done right, the rewards can be amazing. Here are a few things that I’ve learned along the way.
1. Be relatable
It’s so important to find common ground with your audience. Whether you’re a company spokesperson and are preaching to the public or are just conversing with colleagues, being relatable will always serve you well. Sharing experiences is highly personal and draws people in because it shows vulnerability and intrigue at the same time. People hone in on things they resonate with and remember them as redeeming qualities, so try to be relatable.
2. Network internally as well as externally
Don’t underestimate the value of internal connection; it’s really important to get to know the people within your company, even if they’re from different business units. Showing interest in them, learning about their roles and engaging with how they contribute to business success can build strong working relationships and rapport. Also, remember that you have a shared business goal, so build respect within your company and focus on the internal vision.
3. Be smart with your social media
I think there comes a time in many professionals’ lives where they get inspired to skyrocket their social media presence. However, most of the time this passion quickly fizzles and accounts can become fairly inactive. Personally, I was reluctant to begin using Twitter in the first place, but a former manager coaxed me into it, and now I’m completely involved. Commit to your profiles, and engage with your audience regularly – try not to tap into it and then have a three-month hiatus. It gets easier the more you do it.
4. Be authentic
It’s important to be authentic but still show your audience your strengths. Share your mistakes and be real with people – if you have setbacks you should talk about them and use them to your advantage. Everything’s a learning experience. At the same time, it’s useful to realise that you won’t be able to win everyone over all the time. You’ll still have your critics, but don’t let it get you down. Instead, use this as your driving force for further success.
5. Don’t go too broad
Everyone these days is interested in being a thought leader, but many are not quite sure how. Essentially, it’s good to grow your profile but don’t stretch yourself too thin. To start with, it’s a good idea to focus on your area of expertise, and this way you can become respected as an expert in your field or profession before moving on to broader topics. If you try to cover too much ground from the outset, it may be clear to your audience where gaps in your knowledge lie. Stick to what you know.
6. Have empathy
The most powerful thing you can do as a leader is listen. People don’t always remember what’s been said to them, but often remember how you made them feel so bear this in mind, particularly as you climb the career ladder. Likewise, if you see where people are coming from and take feedback as it’s intended, you will go far.
Keep in mind that you – only you – are the ultimate decision-maker, so take action, make changes or let it lie as you see fit.