07 Oct Girls, do you toot your horn enough?

A few years ago I created a brand, new, world-first psychometric indicator that reports on your persuasive strengths and weaknesses. It’s called the Persuasive Relative Strengths Indicator (PRSI). Since the launch of the PRSI, over 3000 people have tested their current persuasive skill set and we’ve been able to observe lots of interesting trends. One trend is that men are twice as likely to establish their credibility with a stakeholder than women. In other words, men are much better than women at telling their stakeholder what they have achieved in the past, why they are the best person for the job and why they should be trusted. While men generally seem comfortable talking about their achievements, women tend to prefer to go ‘under the radar’ and just hope the stakeholder will notice they are performing optimally. As a well-known psychologist once said to me, people can’t read your mind. If you want them to know something about your thoughts, feelings, and preferences you’ll need to tell them.

Yes, you need to be able to hoot your own horn. In fact, you need to sing from the rooftops so people know what you offer! I know that in Australia we are worried about being seen as conceited if we tell people about our successes. And the fact is that if you worry about that, you’ll never persuade people about your great idea, or your products and services, or your potential.

What is credibility? No matter what your role or position, credibility is something that you have to earn. It takes time, patience, and consistency to build it.

Here are my tips on how to get over your concern about boasting to your stakeholders.

1. Serve your stakeholder. Focus on what you can give, not what you can get. You have a gift that everyone needs. If you know that your target clients or stakeholders need what you have to offer then you must tell them! Not telling them means you are holding your ideas, products or service back from people who need them – that’s a disservice.

2. Stop caring about what people think. We often shy away from self-promotion because we worry that will be judged as ‘up ourselves’. Well, the truth is that some people you deal with will like you and some won’t. The question to ask yourself is: ‘Who are you living your life for?’ If you are living your life to serve the people who need what you offer, then you need to let them know how you can make their lives easier. The people who don’t need what you offer are irrelevant to your thinking.

3. Don’t go overboard! There’s a fine line between telling people how you can help them and annoying them with your selfish ravings! Be sure to think about your stakeholder’s needs. What is bothering them? What is challenging for them? Can you fix these issues with your idea, product or service? If the answer is ‘yes’ then learn how to let them know so they hear it the first time and are compelled to take you up on your offer. Bernice McCarthey’s 4Mat model is one excellent model you might try. It helps you get to the point whilst avoiding boring repitition.

4. Use Social Media. Please remember to update your profile on social media with your successes. Not so people think you’re bragging. Just so they know what’s going on for you. People are generally thrilled for you when something goes your way – so tell them!

5. Protect your expertise. Make sure you do everything you can to be the expert in your subject area. Work out what you need to know and then schedule it into your diary so you gradually and realistically learn enough each day to eventually become the expert you wish to be. In addition, focus your efforts on staying up to date in your industry, what is changing? What developments are being made? Make sure you understand what you don’t know as well as what you do know and keep learning, learning, learning. Most importantly never guess the answer. If you guess incorrectly all your hard work at building a reputation for excellence will be eroded.

It is within you to be the expert you wish to be. Just take the necessary steps and then remember to tell others as you grow, learn and achieve so they can take the journey with you. Happy Persuading!

Michelle Bowden is an authority on presentation & persuasion in business. Michelle is a CSP (the highest designation for speakers in the world), co-creator of the PRSI (a world-first psychometric indicator that tests your persuasiveness at work), best selling internationally published author (Wiley), editor of How to Present magazine, producer of Michelle Bowden TV, and a regular commentator in print, radio and online media. Sign up for Michelle’s FREE How to Present magazine TODAY http://michellebowden.com.au