In the last article, I talked about being real and authentic – not being afraid – in your business life. To be willing to admit you’ve made mistakes and risk being seen as a ‘whole’ person – one who has faced and overcome challenges. It makes for a well-rounded person that people can relate to.
The other issue that relates to this topic that I see all the time is the personal vs. the professional persona. Are you a different person in business than you are in your personal life? How different? Do you feel you have to be someone else to succeed? Is that comfortable for you?
Depending on your career or profession, it used to be that we were encouraged to have different personas and that who we ‘showed up’ as in one place wasn’t necessarily how we showed up in another. Even business writing reflected that awkward stilted way of communicating. One way to write a business letter, another way to write a ‘real’ letter.
Social media has influenced how we do business and has, to a large extent, changed the playing field. We’ve come to expect to know something about people – something personal. It’s not enough anymore to just see the CV; we want to know what people stand for, who they are and what they like.
I’m not suggesting you have to stand up and wave the flag about your personal, political or spiritual beliefs – although I am suggesting you can if that’s important to you. What I’m suggesting is that you bring your personality to your business, to your clients and show up as who you are. Think about the people you are drawn to – the business books you read, the blogs you follow. Do you know something about those people? It doesn’t have to be very much to feel connected to them, does it?
A little bit goes a long way – some people use an ongoing struggle to paint the picture of their lives – trying to work at home and raise kids for example. Someone else will talk about the challenges of being distracted by city life or being a workaholic, or having trouble finding the discipline to work.
Whatever quirk they sometimes refer to, it makes us feel like we know something about them – it’s personal and it’s real. It helps people decide to do business with us. In a world where so much business is begun online, where you don’t have body language or even the subtlety of voice on the phone, we need something real to grab onto – a differentiation. That’s you – your personality.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t think you have the best, most interesting, witty story to tell or share – tell something – be real. It makes you stand out and it builds trust. Keep it simple, be authentic and don’t hide behind the ‘widget’ of your company or business. It’s easier for some than others – start paying attention to what connects you to people you haven’t met yet. Use their techniques if you’re comfortable with them. That can be a great way to get started – borrow someone else’s comfort level for a while.
It’s a brave new business world and it’s actually a lot of fun once you embrace being yourself and getting the job done. You might find it creates fans and followers and brings you more business. Its win-win because I’m guessing you’ll find you’re enjoying yourself more to. Here’s to keeping it real!