You’ da man! (building your offline ‘Klout’)

When “Building your offline Klout” was announced as the theme for week 3 of the #UsGuys #UsBlogs weekend blogging challenge, I was initially uncertain which direction to take…

Is the topic suggestive of building your network, establishing your personal brand, raising your profile or becoming a trusted authority? That I immediately started to think of different ways to take the discussion shows what a great topic choice this is! Thanks to @DanPerezFilms for the idea!

The fact is, the concepts of klout, influence, personal presence, sway and authority all existed long before the invention of social media and algorithms. Your measure as a professional is often less about what you say you do, and more about what others say and think about you. With a hat tip to #UsGuys everywhere, You’ Da Man! can apply to anyone!  Just a fun way of saying you’re cool, you’re reliable, you’re knowledgeable, you always get the job done… etc. However you want to describe it, do you do the things which set you aside as an individual and as a professional so that people trust in what you have to say?

So what are some of the things you can do to establish your personal brand and reputation in the ‘real’ world?

My first and most obvious answer to this question is simply “Deliver”… There are no shortcuts to developing a strong reputation and job number one is:

Do what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it.

Realizing that’s just a tad simplistic and facetious, I decided to dig further into my coaching tool set and figure out the most important steps I tell people who are trying to develop their professional reputation.

Focus on relationships

Personal brand and reputation will develop as a by-product of the things you do. Focus on meeting people, building relationships, having conversations, getting to understand everything you can about the people you meet etc. Stay connected to people you qualified alongside. Make strong connections with people in your peer group and be a supporter to each other as you develop professionally. The relationships you build now will be the foundation of your social currency in the future.

Voluntary acts of help

When you meet new people, explore what their interests are and where they are heading in terms of their professional career. Then surprise them by asking how you can help them get there. It seems counter intuitive but by offering to help someone move ahead, you become a far more trustworthy companion for the ride. Its an example of what Chris Brogan and Julien Smith might call a Trust Agent move. The other day I met with a Journalist from Canadian Lawyer Magazine (after sending him an email referencing his recent articles & inviting him for a coffee). We explored how he gets his ideas and what his views are on the challenges affecting the Legal profession. I also asked him what’s next for him in his career path. My intent was genuine curiousity and understanding of the individual but the outcome is increased trust and warmth in the relationship.

Give and Take

Building personal influence is a two-way venture. It is intensely irritating and unappealing to watch people cut through a room, making a beeline only for the people they believe are the most important and influential, and dismissing others on the way. These are the same people who make every conversation about them. Who are less interested in learning and more interested in making sure everyone knows they are in the building. I’m sorry but you will never be “da man!’ to me with that approach. I don’t care how important you believe you are. If you haven’t got time for the up and comers and the people who move in different social networks than you do, your learning will exist in ever decreasing circles. If you have to tell everyone how important you are….

Mix it up

It is easy to forget that you are the common denominator or connecting point to many people who might benefit from getting to know each other. Maybe they are in complimentary businesses, maybe they are in similar roles or career transition points. The fact is that the people in your network would very likely benefit from meeting each other!  Set up coffee or lunch with small groups (4-5 people max) where you can introduce and cross-pollinate your network circles. They will get to know each other and you can get to learn more about them by observing the connection from a new perspective.

Be consistent, reliable, authentic

The impact of networks and building your professional reputation is cumulative. Networks build over time and can crumble when you stop building and managing them properly. Stay connected and keep reaching out to understand and help others. I see many people who have developed an enormous amount of goodwill and social influence through a long and illustrious career, but then rely on the celebrity of their past to secure their future. Sorry – not good enough! Maybe you were a big deal once, but you have to keep working at it to continue being a big deal. Just look at the backwash that’s happened towards Malcolm Gladwell following his February 2nd post in The New Yorker – Does Egypt Need Twitter? Once the media darling for game changing works like “The Tipping Point”, now people wonder if he’s keeping up.

Don’t try too hard

If you are only ever focused on doing things because they may raise your credibility factor, it comes across as insincere and self-serving. You cannot ‘game’ real life klout.

One persons guru is another person’s fool…

Not everyone you meet with will ‘get’ you. Some just won’t find you credible or worthy of the attention you appear to get from others. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Sometimes your efforts to connect with them will crash and burn and they will resist your charms. Accept it and move on. You’ll never have 100% klout with everyone.

I’d love to hear what you think. Got any other ways you like to build your offline reputation?

To Dan Perez for suggesting this topic for #UsBlogs week 3 – You’ da man! Click here for Dan’s original post on raising your offline Klout. Outstanding!

Updated with the WEEK 3 ROUND-UP  – BUILDING YOUR OFFLINE KLOUT via Brand Directions

19 Responses to “You’ da man! (building your offline ‘Klout’)”

  1. I loved your spread of actions. They all reflect being real and helping others around you.

    And you nailed it for me with this short phrase

    “You cannot ‘game’ real life klout”

  2. A $10 bill is a $10 bill. It’s worth precisely $10, here now and forevermore. It even tells you it is, right there on the front… In our -own- economy. It’s only when that $10’s value and performance is measured over time, and to it’s competition on the Fx markets that we start to understand it’s actual value.

    The same is true for the participants within a professional team… Congratulations from a colleague for a job well done are valued, but they’re not “important”. What IS important is how one’s value is perceived within one’s own marketplace. I therefore like “klout”, but prefer “Hx” – what’s YOUR “Human Exchange” rate, and how can you affect your value, and as it’s perceived by others?

    Long and short? You CAN’T raise your own “klout”, only others have that right. You do though have the ability to affect your value to them through the actions you mention.

    • Thanks, ball to my chain! ( DH!)
      Totally agree. Your job title, business card and even your resume full of accomplishments only have a notional face value. Their relative value is determined ” in the market” by those who might be needing what you have to offer. I like the concept of Hx. Value can go up or down.

  3. Excellent post Gaby.

    IMO, every point shouts building & sharing real life “clout.” I think people forget how important the “sharing” part is.

    You can’t buy it, nor as you say, you can’t “game” it. You earn it, the old fashioned way.

    My 2 cents worth!

  4. Gaby,
    Several terrific observations in your post. I especially like the “Mix It Up” paragraph. You’d be surprised how much your influence grows when you start connecting other people – it makes people want to (need to) get to know you.

    Also, “Don’t Try To Hard” – effective networking takes time, don’t rush it.
    Finally, “One persons guru is another person’s fool…” (funny you should mention Chris Brogan & Julien Smith) – this is very true. You’re not gonna win over everybody so remember the words of Aesop: “Please all, and you will please none.”

    Very nicely written.

  5. Gaby,
    Love your post… I couldn’t stop nodding my head in agreement. I could not agree more with your point about your personal brand being defined by those around you, not what you think it is. In reading your post, the words authenticity, staying true to yourself, reciprocity, long-term focus and resiliency come to mind. I also like “mixing it up” as well because it’s kind of like opening up a new “channel” to further develop your brand — social gatherings, Twitter, blogs, speaking, etc… all represent a distinct yet integrated channel. Love your perspective!! Jeff

    • Thanks Jeff! You should read some of the other blogs on this same topic. Some very interesting perspectives shared to which you might also nod and note… Glad you enjoyed it. I’m really enjoying the #UsBlogs challenge.

  6. Very well said, Gaby!

    Your line about showing “genuine curiousity and understanding of the individual” and the natural benefits that flow from this behavior is an important one. It’s the same as what is said so often about engaging properly online, but it’s really no different from how it’s always been. One could say that those who do it well have clout, not much different from the stripped down, branded version otherwise known as Klout.

  7. Nice article Gabby.

    “One persons guru is another person’s fool…”

    Great point. Great summation! I’m definitely going to remember this line—to keep me out of the hot sauce.

  8. You showed in this piece that you understand what clout is really about. You cannot fake it until you make it real life. You have to be authentic and transparent and show up with your best self. If you acting out eventually it will show through and one bad customer experience creates a negative impression that can take years to redeem.


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