You ability to communicate effectively will have a big impact on your image and reputation.
At some time during your primary school years I’m sure every one of you has given a speech or written a paragraph or essay about what you did on your summer holidays.
You wrote or spoke about the beach, visiting relatives in the country, or camping with your family and friends down south.
Do you remember how nervous you were when called upon to address your peers? You were worried about what they would think and you were nervous about performing in front of your classmates, but somehow you muddled through it.
Your essay was returned with all kinds of red marks for punctuation, grammar, and misspellings.
I’m giving you this reminder, this bit of nostalgic instant memory, so I can issue you the following challenges: How have you progressed since then?
How much better are your writing skills? How much better are your presentation skills? And how important are those skills to your sales success, your business success, your social media success, and your career success?
What most people don’t understand is their initial training forms the foundation of their present skills. Your grammar, your ability to spell, your self-confidence to be able to speak, and your overall character are formulated by your ability to communicate both orally and in writing.
Every one of you reading this is now thinking, ‘Maybe I should have paid more attention when my high school English teacher was explaining the different meanings of there, their, and they’re, or the difference between your and you’re’.
Think about the emails you receive with the subject line that says, ‘Your in Luck!’
Those who paid attention in English class will most likely discard the email as both disingenuous and poorly prepared.
Maybe I’m prejudiced, but I don’t want to do business with someone who can’t correct his or her own work in the simplest subject line of an email.
The reason I’m harping on about speaking and writing is because they are the foundation of the two most important elements of your success – image and reputation.
Everyone wants to have a great image.
Everyone wants to have a great reputation.
The good news is you can influence both your image and your reputation with your consistent performance.
I often ask those at my seminars to raise their hands if they would be nervous speaking in front of a group of 300 people. Almost everyone raises his or her hand. The real answer is, they are not nervous and they are not uncomfortable (those are symptoms). The real issue is they are unprepared.
They lack the experience, the subject matter expertise, or suffer from limited self-image or low self-esteem – or perhaps all four.
Perhaps if you took a Dale Carnegie course on public speaking, or joined a Toastmasters group, you would be able to become a confident presenter.
Perhaps if you started your own blog, and at the age of 30 or 40 you write about what you did on your summer vacation, you might be able to attract people with similar likes and values as they search the internet, same as you.
Please do not confuse this column as a call to action. Rather it is a call to reality.
Reality: Your writing skills and your speaking skills need to be at a higher level of competence if you are looking to elevate your income to a higher level.
Reality Your reputation is the sum total of your words and deeds – a large portion of which can come from writing and speaking.
Reality: Your customer is more likely to buy your message if they buy into your passion.
Reality: You can gain an amazing business social media presence if you combine your ability to write and your ability to convey a value message to your customers.
Here’s my recommendation to you.
1. Write a 500-word blog post once a week. Write about something you love. Write about something that may affect your customers. Write about something you have an expertise in.
2. Speak in public once a week. A civil organisation will be happy to have you as their breakfast or lunch presenter. Speak on something you love, speak on something others will value, speak on something in which you are an expert.
You will not reap immediate rewards. But slowly over time your image and reputation will emerge. That’s a reward that has nothing to do with commissions or earnings, but it has everything to do with the feeling of fulfilment. That’s a feeling I hope you get to experience.