CGM blog: Speaking up for your industry

DSC_6136Contrast these two experiences.

This morning I listened to an expert on the radio taking about the popularity of online dating.

She ran a dating agency and was very thorough, empathetic of the issues involved and a competent interviewee. It was an enjoyable piece of radio and she got name checks at the start and end of the interview securing a subtle mention for her business.

Like many thousands of others of listeners I dare say, I checked her out when I fired up my PC (her business had a memorable name) and guess what, she seems to run a good business. I bet her phonelines have been busy today.

She did a great job. She spoke up for her industry (so her peers will be pleased), she was approachable, open and understanding – and she oozed credibility. From what you heard you’d trust her.

By contrast, I once met a prospective client who told me how good their service was – they just had trouble getting this message ‘out there’.

It is no good being the best at what you do (if indeed that’s what you are) – whether it is in your town, region the country or world if you don’t also get good at telling everyone about it.

That doesn’t mean idle boasting – but generating stories around your business and being capable of standing up and speaking about what you do and the values that are relevant to it on whatever platform that takes.

Understanding the rules of engagement is key. This morning’s dating agency interviewee didn’t once try to squeeze an inappropriate plug in for her business (it wasn’t necessary) and if you are making a speech you certainly don’t need to say how great or wonderful you and your company is. Ethics, values, insight and knowledge always count for more.

We’re back to the holy trinity of good communications – creating a profile, being credible and developing a positive reputation.

And you don’t need to be competitive or worried about market share. Standing up for your industry or profession is about sharing and espousing values your peers relate to so they’ll respect you and thank you for representing their industry among the wider world. In time, that can only be a good thing as you build positive relationships.

This Friday (October 23) we’re encouraging West Midlands business people to develop ways they can Bang the Drum for Brum – to learn to speak up for their region – and also their industry or profession, and to win new business by raising their profile and improving their own communications. Find out more here.