Imagine that you are holding the world’s most precious diamond in the palm of your hand. As you look down at it in awe, its sparkle shows off its perfect cut; its grade D icy shimmer is the best money can buy and, under a microscope, there wouldn’t be not a flaw in sight. This extremely rare combination of cut, color, clarity and carat is what makes the stone invaluable. Now, imagine that spectacular diamond is symbolic of your reputation. It’s representative of the overwhelmingly favorable standing that you have established in the business community, the only difference being that, in the case of your reputation, value is determined by the span of your recognition, your unwavering reliability and your track record for producing results.
I’m sure you would agree that the journey from clumsily stumbling into your area of expertise to confidently running your business or practice was a long and arduous one filled with many sacrifices, mainly of time, money and sleep. In the process of transitioning from where you started to where you are today, you formed a reputation that not only became a part of you, it also took on a life of its own. Hence the phrase, “your reputation precedes you.”
What if I told you that when you present your hard-earned reputation (precious diamond) to the world, there is no in-between; you can only package it in one of two possible ways. (This is where reputation meets presentation) The first package is a stained and tattered cardboard box too weak to maintain its structure. The second is a clean and crisp box of the highest quality, beautifully wrapped in bright white paper and complete with a red silk bow. Obviously, these two very different packaging options are a metaphor for your presentations. If you were on the receiving end of one of them, which would you prefer? Whether your goal is to shape perception, fast track comprehension or persuade, when it’s comes to packaging (your presentation), it’s a simple binary choice. My question to you is, how are you presenting your justly earned reputation to the world?
Many speakers make the fatal mistake of totally relying on their reputation. It used to be that was everything but, in today’s high tech world, anyone can hang up a metaphorical online shingle and create a seemingly stellar reputation. But, although it is a prerequisite for success, it’s no longer a differentiator. Once you get through the door, being able to continually provide and communicate your value to clients is what sustains the relationship. Just like a gemologist who inspects diamonds to determine their value, your prospects and clients are going to be interested in the four Cs.
Cut – This is the substance behind your expertise. Did you gain it from reading a book or do you have the lived experience?
Color – What makes you different? How and why do you outshine your competitors?
Clarity – Are you hiding any flaws that will be obvious when held under the microscope?
Carat – Do you have the gravity to connect and persuade experienced individuals in your field?
Each time you speak, whether in a conversation or a presentation, you are selling. In every instance, the goal is to establish a connection and maintain a relationship. In order to achieve this, your message must be properly packaged because reputation only gets you in the door ― it’s your presentation that will keep you in the room!
Dez Thornton is a communications coach who helps you say the right words in the right way when they matter most! For more information, see www.dezthornton.com.