Doesn’t feel natural, does it? Talking about yourself.
It’s the awkward bit of any job interview or networking session. It seems to be especially hard for women. I won’t bore you with endless stats about the gender differences between men and women here, and how men are genetically wired to be self-promoters – we’ve probably all experienced this first hand time and time again. There comes a point in everyone’s career when the need to sell the benefits of your business, your experience, or your knowledge has to overcome any natural humility or sense that by boosting your own profile, it’s somehow an exercise in ego stroking.
We’re all coming out of one of the most challenging years that many of us have ever experienced professionally. The ground kept shifting under our feet. Just as a sense of equilibrium established itself, a new state of affairs was introduced. Work from home if you can. Then unlock again. Then localised tiers. Then a month-long national lockdown. It’s been a destabilising time, and every business needs that stability re-establishing.
Not to mention – your customers and clients need that assurance of your stability. If you haven’t spoken to them in in a while or kept them updated, what will they be thinking? How can you get across to them that you’re not just surviving, but thriving? Do you know how their businesses are doing? If you don’t, does it worry you?
One of the first casualties of Covid was communication. It’s entirely natural – how can you talk about your present situation when everything keeps changing? When your business is rocked, you’re going to spend all your efforts setting it right and looking internally. But it’s high time we all get back on the wagon. Don’t just tell people you’re open for business –e proud of how you’ve got through this year, what steps you took to face it, and most importantly of all, celebrate your successes.
If you look at any admirable woman in business or personal role model in your industry, I bet you that every one of them is taking control of driving their business profiles forward. You know this because they’ve had the lived experience to understand that your profile is one thing you can keep a fire behind even when other parts of business have been made difficult by external circumstance. Boosting your own personal profile can be transformative for company success. It opens doors, it greases the wheels of networking as people know a little about you before you even meet. It finds new sales opportunities and expands company horizons. This doesn’t mean they’re egotists, or that they share every personal element of their lives. But you do know precisely what their businesses do and what they stand for. What they’re passionate about, and really skilled at doing. Businesses which don’t keep that element running are anonymous, hiding their lights under the proverbial bushel.
I could continue about how you can target your business profiling in different ways and for different objectives; for example directing it at sales prospects, or attracting new employees. But this is a savvy audience of well-connected women. What I will say is this: no matter how you have made it through 2020’s hurdles, no one has ever been accused of over-communication. You have targets for next year, and achievements you want to nail for your business. If you don’t let people know you exist, and the knowledge and passion are driving you forward, what are the chances that target will be hit?
And for those still thinking that being more proactive about your PR is an exercise in egotism – reframe your thinking. Its not about you. It’s about your business. It’s about the knowledge and work that it does every day. Its about your staff, if you have them. Its about helping it to reach new audiences who may be desperate for just what it offers, but not sure how to find it. It’s about making it distinctive and helping it to fly. Make it a new year’s resolution for 2021.
About the author
Kat Jackson is associate director at Franklin Rae PR, and a seasoned PR professional with over 18 years’ experience. She specialises in raising the business profiles of a range of different businesses, to help them to achieve their growth objectives and enhance their reputations with new audiences. She has a particular specialism in cinema, media, marketing and driving communications strategies for fast growing businesses.
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