I have this theory about life and business that’s called the 80/20 Rule Of Just About Everything.
In this iteration 80/20 Rule, it clearly states that 80% of everybody here on LinkedIn has no real clue how to promote themselves effectively.
The main reason for this is that they don’t believe they don’t have a clue. So they promote themselves, generally dashing off wildly in all directions at the same time, which in turn, confounds and confuses all the people who try to figure this out.
It’s kinda sad really. But I fear that, like death and taxes, it’s one of those things that will continue to be inevitable.
There are a lot of people out there who say they will teach you how to promote yourself. but because they tend to fall prey to this same 80/20 Rule, the vast majority of them don’t have any real clue. They just read some book by some guru and are perfectly willing to infringe on their intellectual property to at least communicate the broad strokes.
As for the finer points…well that’s where it gets tricky.
So Where Does This Leave People?
That’s the question isn’t it? Mostly it just leaving you hanging around wondering what the hell to do next. Which is a state of mind that can last for a long time.
The other answer is to get out there and dig around and try to find some successful people and pick their brains.
I’m not here to lead you to some fountain of wisdom because I’m not really any kind of guru or teacher.
But I am a professional writer. And a good observer. And I have been fortunate enough to know and or work with some very successful self-promoters. Like Dave Nichol, who created the President’s Choice Brand for Loblaws. Like Gordon Lightfoot, who is a music legend here in Canada. Like Bob Shaw, one of the smartest marketers Procter & Gamble ever produced. Like Jerry Goodis, an advertising icon in Canada. And like Bill Davis who was, hands down, the best Premier the province of Ontario ever had.
I have been around these types of people all of my professional life and this is what I have observed about them.
Things That People Who Promote Themselves Well Instinctively Do:
1. People who promote themselves well do so, not in terms how great they are, but in terms of how they have helped other people or businesses achieve what they are looking for.
2. People who promote themselves well do it with humility, and don’t pretend to have all the answers. They understand that the things you teach yourself to do are the ones you are going to remember longer than the things they will teach you.
3. People who promote themselves well are not afraid to share credit for success in their stories. In business and in politics it always takes two to tango. The best advertising I have ever done was invariably for the smartest & savviest clients. And failing that, because I deal with a lot of entrepreneurs, the clients who had a real vision for their business and were willing to share it openly.
4. People who promote themselves well tend to be naturally likeable, which is a quality, in business, that stems directly from their passion for what they are doing and their innate ability to engage with people.
5. People who promote themselves well are great listeners. They listen to learn, not just to await their chance to speak. This quality is rare, but it is something that can be learned and put into practice to your benefit.
6. People who promote themselves well are thoughtful. While they make it look like they are shooting from the hip, they are really just in control of themselves, which is a direct result of their self-confidence and, of course knowing what they are doing.
7. People who promote themselves well are natural sales people. They have highly developed people radar, and can very quickly pick up on the type of person or group they are dealing, get inside their heads a bit and contour their part of the conversation to the likes and dislikes of the person or persons they are talking to and quickly gain their trust.
8. People who promote themselves well are generally good writers or very careful ones. Writing is something you have to be careful with because once it’s out there, it belongs to you and the whole world knows it.
9. People who promote themselves well know how to contour their message to the medium it which it is being conveyed. Media like LinkedIn where a lot of people have pickles up their derrieres, requires a certain amount of subtlety. Twitter requires sharpness. Facebook requires a mix of aggressiveness and curiosity. Blogging, just about anywhere, requires a combination of good story telling, honesty and insight. Otherwise you’re just writing a chapter of a novel or your biography
10. People who promote themselves well, and I have saved the best till last are always “themselves”. This is most important aspect of self-promotion, because your authenticity is the key to your believablilty. And that’s the key to everything else.
In A Nutshell
My friend and associate, Robert Wright knows more about the psychology of selling and personal promotion than just about anyone I have ever met and his philosophy boils down to this.
“People prefer to do business with people they like and trust.”
Pretty simple, eh? But it can take years for some folks to sand down that layers of bullshit veneer they have slathered themselves with, either from being an employee and having to play a role that was not authentic in order to keep their job. Or from simply were not being blessed with a lot of innate self-confidence.
Either way, getting down to who you really are is the simplest way to start learning how to promote yourself. If you have read my little listicle here, you will see that it’s not about promoting your business or your specific skills. It’s about promoting your empathy and your willingness to use those skills to help others succeed.
Because their success is your success.
If you look at it that way, you will see that it’s all about giving. The getting is a by-product of the giving. It’s the reward you receive for being yourself.
Now what could be simpler, or more challenging to achieve than that?
I am a professional communicator. Through my own core skills as a strategist, writer & art director and with the help of a select group of insanely talented associates, I work with primarily B to B clients, large and small to create hard working communications in whatever sector of the marketing universe their strategy dictates the need to travel through. I am also a mentor, blog post editor and a pretty decent photographer.
If you have a marketing or communications challenge you would
like to discuss, (no obligation), there are three ways you can contact me:
Direct Line: 416 463-3475
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Copyright © 2016 by Jim Murray