Selling Yourself: Long or Short


Public relations is the art and science of influencing behavior, and I learned it from the best. These days I've moved on from that profession but the skills continue to stay with me like a best friend.

We could all use some of the wisdom of how to do this well because we spend a lot of our time each day influencing someone to do something, even if it is to do nothing. Doing nothing, by the way, is always one of at least three choices in decision-making.

So what is this art of influence really about? It is about credibility. In the end, our credibility is the one thing we must build and protect, because it represents our perceived trustworthiness. As they say in PR: you spend years building credibility—your reputation, and you can lose it all in a day. Losing credibility means losing our ability to influence. It's all about truth. As a PR practitioner, for example, you could tell a publication editor some false stuff about your company, and they may even print it. But once they find out you were not truthful, your credibility is lost. Good luck the next time you call them with a story. You are now persona non grata. No one is interested.

So the point here is that no matter what we're doing, being authentic and truthful is the key to building credibility. The art, though, is a little more than that. The art of influence is more than truthfulness. For example, being completely truthful, but also negative, is not a good approach. Negativity does't get you far. Complaining tends to not build a following. Approach matters. This article from Fast Company talks about words and approaches that tend to not work, like using the word "great" too much in an interview. Or if you're selling an idea, try not to say "It's going to be "Huge", not every time. Pretty sure I heard that from someone recently. Another tip, don't over sell. It is hard to be viewed as credible when everything you profess to be doing is bigger and better than anything anyone has ever done before. So maybe, you know, mix in a little humility. Hans Kuendig, Ph.D., Principal & Founder

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