For entrepreneurs and small business owners working to establish their professional network, visibility and influence, it is important to consider how you want to project your image and company brand as an expert or niche specialist. You have probably heard or read repeatedly about creating your elevator pitch, networking, getting a mentor, doing local speaking gigs and putting yourself out there as an expert. These are all great suggestions and ones that really should be followed. However, taking the initiative to accomplish these things does not always come naturally. So where do you really start?
Start with making sure you are relatable. Why? Because people make connections with people, not obscure objects and things. When you think of someone who inspires you, it was probably because you connected with them on some level. And one way you probably connected was through a story that showed humanness, shared a similar experience, or piqued an emotion of empathy. Have you ever had an experience where you did not quite care for someone but then you learned of a story in which they overcame some adversity, and then you saw the person in a different light and they actually became tolerable or you began to like them? For me, I like to hear people’s stories. I like to know what motivates, inspires and encourages them towards success because those stories serve as motivation for me to stay the course and never give up.
The good thing about considering this type of strategy is that we all have a story or aspects of a personal story that can be appropriately shared in a professional manner without over sharing. Doing so with sincerity can help to build your influence while promoting and growing your business and personal and professional brands. To provide some context for my point, consider reading this article by Rebecca Goldsmith of C-Level Stories who provides a six-step do-it-yourself process for preparing to share your story.
Remember, you are your first best brand ambassador. No one can market you better than you can. Get comfortable with your story of courage, conviction, hustle or failure. It will be the the little things in your story that show character and humility and that will draw people closer to you.