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
- Kase Study on Klout – The Highest Lama by Mark Robertson. @markosul
- I Build For Life by Stephen Caggiano. @stephencaggiano
- Offline Klout: I Know The Source by Libby Baker Sweiger. @libbytalks
- Measuring Reality: 4 Game Changer Trends For 2011 by Nick Kellet. @nickkellet
- You ‘Da Man! by Gaby O’Rourke. @gabyorourke
- Klout Doesn’t Measure What Really Matters by Margie Clayman. @margieclayman
- Offline Klout – Secret Algorithms Revealed by Jonathan Brewer. @houseofbrew
- The One Thing Klout Is Not by Thomas Moradpour. @tommoradpour
- Can Your Klout Score Get You a Job? by Mark. @youternmark
- Building Offline Clout Not Klout by Todd Jordan. @tojosan
- In The Klout World by Rabab Khan. @rababkhan
- From The Mouth Of Babes by Josepf Haslam. @josepf
- T-shaped On Twitter And In Life by Lex Bradshaw-Zanger. @lexbz
- Sorry, I’m Not On Facebook by Allie Walker. @NYC_allie
- Under The Influence by Karen Lund. @karen5lund
- Making Connections: Real Life Edition by Patrick Prothe. @pprothe
- Offline Influence Now Measured Online by Lewis Poretz. @lewisporetz
- The Klout Myth And Living Above The Influence by Dan Perez. @danperezfilms
- Klout In The Cracker Jack Box by Matthew Browne. @matthewliberty
- What Is Your Influence Report Card by Heidi Cohen. @heidicohen
- In search Of Leader by Shrinath Navghane. @mrshri
- Building Offline Klout by Jackie Coughlan. @jackinessity
- Got Klout by Jill Manty. @mantywebdesigns