It took me a long time to figure this out myself…If you don’t tell people who you are, they’re not going to know who you are.”
I know this is a mind-blowingly obvious statement, but how many of you are as guilty of that mistake as I was??
We’re not talking “bragging,” which is the way I looked at self-promotion in earlier times.
No. This is about offering others an opportunity to see/hear/experience the special things that make you “you.”
Now, if you’re diligently spending your time in college preparing to be a hermit, stop reading and crawl back in your cave. But if your goal is to go out into the “world” and focus on a professional career, read on.
There is not, to the best of my knowledge, a single [legal] profession on this planet that doesn’t depend on some level of publicity for its success. In case you’ve forgotten…I was Communication Director for a cemetery here in the Boston area… “last people on earth who will let you down!” Okay. I know that’s a little creepy, but the reality was that a lot of people in our area didn’t know who we were…my job was to fix that, and I did.
I’m teaching Public Relations at Curry College now, working with a lot of very smart, accomplished education professionals…something for which, other than having taught English as a Second Language in Vietnam for two years, I have zero formal training. So I have to do some self-promotion to let folks…students…fellow teachers…know who I am.
The simple fact of the matter is that people…potential customers…potential employers…are bombarded with information about “new, improved” products, “custom-tailored” services, “award-winning” job applicants.
After a while, the pitches start sounding like the teacher in all the “Peanuts” cartoons… “Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah-wah.”
But what if? What if, when the prospect (customer/employer) sees/hears your name, it rings a bell. “Hmmm…I’ve heard that name before…let’s see…”
What this means, of course, is that you have to get your name and your message in places where those prospects go for news and information. Which also means that you have to do some homework to find those places and make sure your information (blog posts, comments on others’ posts and articles)…whatever you want people to see that introduces you to them…is there.
A word of caution…don’t overdo your welcome. Be seen, but don’t be obnoxious. It’s like learning to swim or to ride a bike…start off slowly and carefully.
Some of you will freak out at, as I did at first (and still struggle with it), the thought of “putting yourself ‘out there.’” If you’ve read anything at all that I’ve written in the past, you know that I am a board-certified introvert. Can’t deal with crowds. Have mini-panic attacks when even one new person comes within chatting distance.
But I also have learned that, if I am to have any hope of continuing my snail-paced climb to what I define as “success,” I have no choice. I have to continue building my network and putting my name and face in front of strangers.
So don’t just do as I say, my friend. Do as I am doing. Be seen on social platforms that are visited by those who you want to connect with. Be present at those in-person functions that are attended by those you want to meet.
Build your personal recognition…It’s good PR!!