Listen to the audio version of this post here.
It’s smart advice from a branding expert.
Of course, it’s no wonder it seemed smart to me. Listening to Betsy Jordyn’s podcast, I heard suggestions I’ve offered many times myself in programs and articles about introducing yourself and your work.
When you talk or write about what you do, she recommended, speak plain English. Skip your jargon and made-up language. Use short words rather than multisyllabic ones. (Yes. I should have said, “…rather than long ones.” See how that works?)
Bottom line, write the way you talk. Better yet, write the way your clients talk.
“Yes, yes, a thousand times yes,” I thought.
Then I heard: “Shift the spotlight of your business from you onto your ideal client.”
And that’s where I ran into a roadblock.
It’s not that I disagree, mind you. Once again, I’ve used the same spotlight metaphor myself. You might even remember this article about speaking with the focus on your audience: https://www.catherinejohns.com/spin-the-spotlight-around/
So, what’s the problem with shining the spotlight of my business on my ideal client?
Many of those people who need my help to be seen, be heard, and be successful … are heavily invested in avoiding the spotlight.
They’re hiding their insight and talent and value, and they have been, maybe for their whole lives. They’re consistently keeping a low profile, sitting at the back of the room, letting others do the talking. In virtual meetings, we see their names in a square, but we don’t see them. And they like it that way!
I can relate, believe me. There was a time when I was hiding too. And it cost me.
These women—and men too, but especially women—they’re missing out on making the sale or getting that fabulous new job or being recognized and promoted for their expertise. You have to be noticed to make any of that happen. And you have to step out of the shadows to be noticed.
Maybe you can relate.
You guide companies to create a more inclusive atmosphere so every employee’s contribution can make a difference. And, they have to want their whole workforce to feel included, or they’re not interested in your work.
You help independent professionals plan for their financial future so they can have a decent life when they decide to close up shop for good. And, they have to be concerned about what may seem very far away, or they ignore your offering and your solid advice.
You create social media strategies for mid-size companies so they can create connections with potential customers. And, they have to believe in the value of social networking, or they don’t care about posting, tweeting, or showing up on Instagram.
Bottom line, they have to want what we offer in order to want us, right?
The key might be in the “so that…”
If I’m going to use the spotlight of my business to invite you to step into an even bigger spotlight, I need to make sure you know the value of doing that. And I may need to amplify that value for you, to help you fully appreciate how much more successful a person can be when their work and their accomplishments are highly visible.
It’s obvious to me that if you don’t want to be overlooked, you have to be willing to be seen. Clear as a bell that people who don’t show up don’t have a very good chance of getting the job, the promotion, or the next new client.
It’s equally obvious that every time you open your mouth in a meeting, on a phone call, or on a virtual platform, what you say and how you say it will shape the way people perceive you. And that perception will set the stage for your success. Or not.
It may not be as self-evident to you.
Seems like I need to spell out the advantages of being visible in your work—and in your life! I hope I just did – what do you think?
What’s your “so that…”?
I’d guess your wheels are already turning. Whatever business you’re in, you should be thinking by now about how you describe your work.
When you introduce yourself at a networking event, or send an email to a prospect, or follow up on a referral, what do you say about what you do?
Are you saying something that’s compelling enough to capture their interest? And are you telling them enough about the value they get from an experience with you?
If I knew nothing about you … if I’d never heard of your company or even the kind of work you do … would your description of it make me lean in and listen and want to know more?
Let us hear from you in the comments.