Why should you care about your reputation?
According to Vocabulary.com, your reputation is the "general belief or opinion that others have about you."
Reputation is the one thing that travels with you in life. No matter where you go, you are a Google search away from being discovered. Social media has expanded our online reputation. Even regular joes and janes have to worry about our brand reputation to potential employers, love interests, and business partners.
Reputation management has become such a relevant field that influencers hire public relations firms to build and maintain a positive reputation globally. With the advent of technology, real life is starting to blend with online status.
For the mass majority of people, you probably won't be assessing your reputation online on a day-to-day basis. But it is still essential to think of how to boost your online reputation, especially if you are building content online for digital marketing purposes.
In the words of Seth Godin:
Reputation is what people expect us to do next. It's their expectation of the quality and character of the next thing we produce or say or do. We control our actions (even when it feels like we don't), and our actions over time (especially when we think no one is looking) earn our reputation.
Tips for Repairing Your Brand
A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer's decision to choose one product or service over another.
- Seth Godin
If you have damaged your reputation, take a step back, and examine your life.
People are emotional. People make decisions and statements based on what they feel. Listen to people that have something negative to say about you. Hear what they have to say about you without reacting. Write them down for your records.
What you want to do next is to observe the patterns to find that grain of truth. Examine how you treat people. Maybe some hypothetical valid criticisms are:
- You are not generous with money.
- You have bad manners to service people.
- You are always getting angry.
Once you have discovered where you can improve, focus on what is within your power to change.
For example, if you are not generous with money because you don't have money, ask yourself:
- "Is this a reasonable criticism that I can change?"
- "Am I able to make more money?"
- "What is my body language saying every time the check comes?"
If there is something within your power to adjust, start small, and replace your usual pattern with a new trend. Next time a check comes to your group, don't just sit back and wait for someone to cover for you. Pay for the table (if you can).
Remember, your reputation takes time to adjust. Start small. Be kind to your waiter. Don't get angry when someone cuts you off in traffic. Pay for dinner. Over an extended period, people will take notice, and your reputation will improve.
Changing your reputation doesn't happen overnight. You won't be able to reinvent yourself in a day. But you can start repairing your reputation by taking small steps and spotting potential gaps in your actions. With enough time and effort, your reputation will improve.
5 Strategies to Improve Your Reputation
1. Show up
Being present is the first step to improve people's opinion of you. It's hard to have a favorable view of someone who never shows up. When you do show up, make sure you show up on time.
If you have a meeting at 9 AM, be there on time, if not earlier. When you are late always, people will think you are either arrogant or flighty.
Showing up demonstrates that you care about what happens. It shows that you are committed to seeing that through.
2. Give value to others
Helping people is the easiest and fastest way of earning a strong reputation. It shows that you care about that person and their advancement.
Think about a person that is always going out of their way to help others. That person most likely has a sterling reputation and is highly trusted by his peers.
If you want to become that trusted person, start by giving before asking. If you can do this well, you will garner a brand as a trustworthy and helpful person.
3. Follow through with your words
This piece of advice is easier said than done. But it is one of the essential parts of improving your reputation.
Think about someone who is always talking but never gets anything done. This person will talk a big game, but their results are far from their bark. Do you trust this person to be reliable and dependable in their delivery?
Don't be that person. When you say something, make sure you deliver on it. Start small if you need to. Underpromise and overdeliver.
4. Be consistent and authentic
I'm huge on the power of consistency. Apply consistency to your great qualities across everyone you meet. Do this on the good days and the bad. If you are funny and kind to one person but nasty and cruel to another, you are not consistent.
Leverage your body language to show respect towards people. Face your audience, point your feet towards them, and don't slouch. Nod your head to show you are listening.
When you are comfortable with being the best version of yourself, you will garner a positive reputation, and people will automatically like you more.
5. Act with integrity
Integrity is one of the critical pillars of life. It is your unseen credit score. When people trust you, they hold you in higher regard.
People who have no integrity fall. People with integrity will rise. The rise and fall happen because people will prop up the people they like and trust in the long-run. No one wants to work with someone they cannot rely on or trust.
Be a person of integrity. Please don't lie, even when it's the more comfortable thing to do. Be a trustworthy person with big and small jobs. Be willing to go the extra mile when others aren't.
Improving your reputation doesn't happen overnight. But it occurs as a result of continuous effort in the right direction. If you have not been an outstanding person, listen to the criticism that others have of you, and see how you can change. Once you start the transformation, aim small at first. Build little habits, then continue to scale that up. Through incremental changes over a long period, your reputation will become better. Utilize this process to become a person you can be proud of in retrospect. You have one life. You should make it exceptional.