Happy New Year!
Are you ready? What do you want to broadcast in 2016?
What do you want the buzz about you to be behind your back, when the door closes, when you leave a client, a colleague, or even your boss?
What reputation do you want to have?
Hmmm, you're thinking, thinking, thinking ... Words are twirling in your mind. That's a good start. Keep it going. Let the above questions simmer and see what comes up.
To make sure that your vision is realistic and that your legacy will match your expectation, I invite you to do the following exercise.
1. Choose your writing tools.
If you're more traditional, take out a pad of paper or your notebook, along with your favourite pen. If you're more of a techno-trendy kind of person, prepare your fingers for typing on the keyboard of your choice.
2. Make a comprehensive list of all the qualities that describe you professionally.
Don't be modest. Keep going. Need some inspiration? Dig through your performance evaluations, thank you notes and congratulatory emails. Keep going! Write five, 10, or 20 qualities, and more. Do not limit yourself.
Here are some suggestions: creative, analytical, professional, flexible, excellent communicator, easily adapts, courageous, resourceful, independent thinker, visionary, good negotiator, etc.
3. Identify your current reputation by conducting an opinion poll.
Send your list of qualities to the members of your professional network: your colleagues, suppliers, maybe your boss and even friends. Ask them to choose the five qualities that represent you best at work.
Explain the process: in person, by e-mail and even via a text message. All forms of communication are good. To receive the maximum feedback make sure to adapt to the recipient's preferred mode.
Your message could look like this:
"Happy New Year (person's name)!
I am refining my professional image and need your help to validate my work attributes. Please identify what you perceive as being my top five qualities. Feel free to add to the list and input comments.
My deadline is (give a delay of a few days, a week at most).
If I don't hear from you by then, I will understand that you will not be participating in my survey and I will not hold any grudges against you ☺.
If you have any questions, call me at (your number) or read this blog post (share the link to this post).
Have a great day."
4. Count and unveil your results.
Gather your sampling. Read all of the characteristics and appreciate your talents. Yes, give yourself a pat on the back. It is well-deserved. You shine at being you!
Compile the votes to identify your five most popular qualities.
5. Reduce your results to form your top three.
Analyze what others appreciate most about you professionally and identify the three that most resonate with you. At this point, you have the right of veto. After all, it's your vision that you want to achieve, isn't it? Circle, cut, highlight, or underline the three qualities you want to broadcast for the next year.
6. Post your top three.
Place your reputation vision in a place that you will frequently look at during your work hours. Choose a location to which your eyes will be drawn during the day: your vision board, your notebook, a sticky note by your coat hook, in your top drawer, or inside your tablet's cover.
7. Adopt and immerse yourself in your vision.
From now on, your words and your actions should reflect these three qualities.
8. If necessary, adjust yourself.
If there is regularly a gap between your current performance and your vision, ask yourself this question and take action:
"What can I stop doing or start doing to make sure I finish the year with this reputation?"
Since you have surveyed those with whom you work and are inspired by these three qualities, a simple awareness and reaffirmation may suffice.
But to develop or improve a skill, it could necessitate you to seek coaching, to participate in a workshop, or to read a book.
Whatever it is, invest in your vision. You will be the biggest beneficiary.
And if you are already on the right track, all you need to do is keep doing what you're doing. Celebrate!
If you change your mind, know that it is quite acceptable. You are the master of your reputation. The important thing is to be aware of how you shine. Because whether it is consciously crafted or not, you have a reputation.
May 2016 be your best year yet!
You have a sticky situation at work or at home? This is your forum. Write to Julie and she will reply promptly. Want more solutions to sticky situations? Go to Julie's website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or order your autographed copy of Etiquette: Confidence & Credibility. Planning a conference? Julie happily travels coast to coast and beyond to present customized activities. With Julie's help, farewell faux pas and embarrassment. Hello, confidence and credibility!
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Offer a clear description of who you are and what you want to do. Eliminate jargon and acronyms. Showcase your biggest accomplishments for other employers in concrete terms: how you increased revenue, cut costs, improved efficiency or otherwise helped the company meet its most important goals.
Please, please do not fib. A study by the Society of Human Resource managers suggests more than half of people tell a lie of some kind on their resume. In 2006 the chief executive of RadioShack Corp. was forced out after the firm discovered he didn't have the college credentials he claimed.
Follow Julie Blais Comeau on Twitter: www.twitter.com/EtiquetteJulie