Elizabethkuhnke's Blog

Act the Part

Posted on: September 21, 2010

 Research from a recent German study has shown that successful managerial careers depend 10% on performance, 30% on image and style and 60% on being seen and making a positive impression. The actual work produced counts for very little.

 While this may seem a bit unjust, the findings show that we are the image we project and those who look and act the part become just that.

While reliability, hard work and quality cannot be ignored, these qualities count for little when climbing to the top of one’s profession.

 One must be fit and healthy, smartly attired and project confidence, competence and charisma.

The first impression conveys a vast amount of information about a person. While subsequent impressions may further the knowledge, they don’t count for as much as the first. Pity the poor person who fails to make an impression at all.

According to Peter-Josef Senner, the author of the bestselling 8 Disciplines for Sales Managers, success is largely dependent on getting attention within the organisation and beyond, and then using it to one’s advantage.

 Competition is tough, every market is flooded with pressure, information and attention seekers. If one wants to get noticed and move up the ladder, self-marketing without hesitancy or apology is vital.

 Because of the intensity of competition throughout business, especially at the managerial level, there is an overload of talent. Polished self-promoters are at an advantage in this environment. Ruthlessly efficient, they know how to attract the attention of the key decision makers and opinion leaders. Their more modest colleagues are left floundering in their wake.

 One has only to look at the worlds of sport and entertainment for outstanding examples of individuals who are consistently visible. These people know how to achieve their personal objectives with ease and efficiency. Posh and Becks, Michael and CZJ, Jennifer-Brad-Angelina make the public aware of them on a daily basis. They all make it to the front pages, best seats and command inordinate financial recompense. Their careers and life styles are dependent on being seen.

The need for personal publicity has lead to the growth of consultancies specialising in training people how to project and promote themselves effectively. No one in business, industry or the professions can deny that ‘show business’ is part of the culture and that corporate exhibitionism is encouraged and richly rewarded. The aim is to convert your self-image, or what you want to be, into reality through self-marketing.

Often those who possess real intellect and ability are overlooked. They say they don’t need a lot of attention and would rather be left to get on with their jobs. Inevitably, their colleagues who understand self-promotion end up with the higher profile, more influential and better paid positions. Those who say image is merely vanity and prestige are overlooking the fact that image is indispensable for achieving success.

 Christine Oettl, self-marketing expert and author, says that self-promotion is not about being loud, brash or offensive. However, it is about letting people know what one does well.

Being heard making astute comments at the right time will convey competence and credibility. In addition, admitting there are aspects of the business with which one is less knowledgeable will project an image of confident self-awareness. This technique will also highlight those areas where one is strong. Would we expect a creative writer to be a technical boffin? Delivering the best in one’s chosen field is what the client wants.

 Combining understatement with acknowledgement of one’s strengths is a powerful and attractive mixture.

 Open body language is another avenue toward creating trust and credibility as is providing the names of credible people and companies with whom one has worked. On this last point, it is important to avoid the trap of name-dropping which is a sure turn-off.

For more information please visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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