Recently I have been listening to a book (while in the car) entitled, The Power of Reputation: Strengthen the Asset That Will Make or Break Your Career by Chris Komisarjevsky. In fact, I finished it this week. Many of the take-a-ways that I experienced revolved around ‘How you make others feel’. While we know it is important to make a good first impression, be truthful in our business dealings and work hard to accomplish our goals, we seldom think about getting ahead by Serving others through our Reputation.
The atmosphere in business has changed or at least is changing quickly. It may be the Millennials that are increasingly coming into power in the marketplace. OR, it could be that society in general is tired of the relentless pursuit of power and wealth at the expense of living well. This ‘new’ generation is confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change and the way we do business must change with it.
This generation also grew up with technology and found their identity in Social Media platforms instead of traditional clubs and religious affiliations. They have been communicating with the ‘world’ since childhood and are very adept at seeing through someone who is not genuine. This ability to see ‘through the sales pitch’ calls for a different way to approach Marketing and Business Relationships.
How can you be involved in this shift in business? By being your authentic self in communications. This includes oral and written communication. Your customers/clients want to be known by you. They want to feel you are on their side. They want to see your heart and know you care about them. They also want you to be less formal and talk to them right at their core.
In oral communication people want to be engaged, this is where Storytelling becomes a powerful tool. Whether you are giving your 60 second networking spiel, being interviewed for a potential job or presenting at the front of a room, your ability to captivate your audience with your style can make all the difference. One of the stories that the Reputation Book relates was the difference in three presentations given by prospective companies bidding for a project. The company that was selected did not necessarily have more experience, or even better promises, it was in the style of the presentation. The customer felt that the company they chose was really invested in them. They gave this confidence through their language, their insights (they had done their homework), and they made the customer feel they would be in this project together and be totally supported.
Written communication is no different. The ability to show you through your written communications endears you to the reader. This is an important skill whether you are writing a blog or an email. Your customers/clients want to see you. This heart to heart, almost spirit to spirit technique will bond your customers to you and create loyalty.
In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians he states that even if he spoke all the languages of the world, had all the knowledge of the ages, could move mountains with his power, gave everything he had to the poor, but did not LOVE others, it would all be meaningless (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Your Reputation is about how you treat others who are in your care, who are on your teams, who you supervise, and who you interact with each day. Your Reputation does not get turned on when you enter the 9-5 workday. Your Reputation doesn’t get a ‘vacation’. You must act and speak in a way that is consistent with your values and shows genuineness. You customers/clients deserve no less than your best.