Everything you say and do influences what other people think about you – and what they say to others about you.  Does that mean that you should censor everything and go around in a permanent state of worry in case you say something people don’t like?  Definitely not.

You should always be authentic or you’ll be heading for at best an uncomfortable existence and at worst the world discovering you’re not who you say you are. 

We all want to be liked and respected, especially in business, so what can you do to build that reputation?

Firstly, not everyone will like you.  There are people you click with and some who are just not on your wavelength,  That doesn’t mean they won’t respect your expertise.

Secondly, if you don’t show up and be visible, few people will know you exist.

So what is the recipe for polishing your reputation to a fine shine?

  1. Network – both online and offline. The more people that you meet, the more who will know about you.
  2. Be able to explain who you help and how succinctly. Having a memorable one liner that sums up your services and who they’re for will make it easy for people to make connections for you.
  3. Share your knowledge freely. It’s not about giving away all your ‘secrets’, it’s about being helpful.  This might be by writing a ‘how to’ blog, giving a useful tip in a social media post or by answering requests for help in a group.  The more people know how well you know your ‘stuff’, the more likely they will be to want to be your customer and to recommend you to others.

This is the positive approach to polishing your reputation.

On the other side of the coin, never say/post anything you wouldn’t want your best client to hear/read.  One thoughtless comment can come back to haunt you.  That applies to comments that you may make in what appears to be a private conversation – people repeat what they hear.

I’ve had students argue that on their private social media they can say what they like – that’s their choice, but there’s no such thing as private when it comes to anything you post online.  Anything you post can be seen – if someone wants to find it. 

People have lost jobs, contracts, friends and business associates because of something they posted in a heated moment online.  Get the habit of pausing before you post.  Wait fifteen minutes, re-read your post and think about the impact – on the people who can influence your business.

Plan to be positive and polish that reputation so you’re the first name that pops into people’s heads when asked for a recommendation.