Tag Archives: business skills

The PR you do every day (but may not be aware of!)

Networking events can be pleasant, once you are comfortable speaking. Just ask these three!

Networking events can be pleasant, once you are comfortable speaking. Just ask these three!

It’s a mouthful of a title, but bear with me: as a businessperson, every time you open your mouth, you are doing PR for your business. If this has come as a shock, don’t be discouraged.

What I am getting at, is that your business’s “PR” is not just what you formally do with your PR agency or marketing team. PR is far more than just the sum total of media releases you issue, the social media messaging you send, or the media coverage you generate.

As my late mentor Lou Cahill APR famously said, “You’ve got PR whether you like it or not.”

In essence, what Lou was saying is, you and your business have a reputation. The variable he highlighted, is the degree to which you manage it.

And like it or not, every time you open your mouth, you are contributing to the sum total of that reputation. I was struck by this at the BNI meeting in Inverness last week. I am a founder member of BNI Highland; BNI is a worldwide business networking organisation founded by Dr Ivan Misner. Something that I immediately realised is that the group’s format of a 60-second presentation by each member — at every meeting, every week — is something that strikes fear into a number of would-be members.

What I am noticing however, is that after even two or three meetings, some member’s presentation skills are improving. They are becoming more at ease with speaking to the group about their business. Some [read: Hamish Malcolm, Grant] are even making the most of these “mini-pitches” by incorporating humour and using inventive props. Well done to them!

They may not realise it, but each member’s incremental improvements in their weekly pitch, results in an improvement in their business’s PR, because we all go away with an improved image of their firm. Woefully, the converse is equally true: people who mumble their way through a pitch, speak too quietly or never get to the point are not doing their own, or their business’s, reputation any favours.

If the thought of making a 60-second pitch about your business fills you with dread, then Toastmasters is the place to replace your fear with confidence, and get the skills to make sure you communicate effectively. You’ll have the unexpected benefit of making some new friends as well.

But remember, every time you open your mouth, you are contributing to your business’s reputation. You owe it to yourself to do the best you can. If you haven’t got the skills to do the job well, the onus is on you to get them. Your business deserves it. Don’t let it down.

Toastmasters Inverness is hosting a social evening Wednesday 17th June at 7pm at the Glen Mhor Hotel in Inverness. If you are interested in learning more about the group, go along for dinner and to get a feel for what the group offers. Membership in Toastmasters may be the best, most cost-effective investment you can make in your business! Click here to find out more about the dinner Wednesday evening.

“Marketing tips in the digital age” – Tip #1: give it away

Pen, notebook and laptop: the keys to success

One of the best ways to establish your expertise is to share your insights

There’s an intriguing paradox in this age of digital media. The best way to establish yourself as a professional, is to give away your insights for free.

Confused? Don’t be. All the articles you read on LinkedIn? They are full of advice. “How to establish your personal brand”, “Ten secrets of powerful presentations”, “How to make the most of meetings” — it’s all advice, and most of us are quite keen to review it and incorporate any new information. What we may not realise, however, is that our enthusiasm for this information has created a tremendous demand for content. And the paradox is that by being willing to give away advice, you have the opportunity to establish yourself as an authority in your field.

In the old days of PR, when people read newspapers and listened to the radio, one of the best ways to get exposure was for your client to write an advice column or be a guest on a phone-in show. This format is perfect for people in professions — and in particular, accountants, financial planners, and solicitors. They have the expertise, and typically know their stuff inside-out. “Year-end tax tips”, “Ten ways to reduce inheritance tax”, “What you need to know about Power of Attorney” — these are the sort of topics that have a wide audience in a local newspaper. By authoring the piece, the accountant or solicitor would get some exposure.  With each monthly column, she would establish herself as an authority in her field. When a new piece of legislation came along, who did the local paper turn to for insight? Their own local expert.

Fast-forward to 2014. Has anything changed? Not really. We are all still looking for ways to be successful, to make more money, to save more money, to be more effective in our roles, and to have a bigger impact. Which means there is still a role for advice columns and sharing professional tips and suggestions. The only thing that has changed, is how this advice is dispensed.

Today, you don’t need the regional editor of the local paper to agree to publish your monthly column. You publish it yourself. On your website, on your blog, in your e-newsletter to clients, on LinkedIn — there are now more outlets for your “content” than ever. The only proviso? Your advice must be sound, and ideally, well-written.

And keep in mind — you don’t have to be a professional to have valuable advice. Not everyone is focussed on business. Some people are interested in their gardens. Or their homes. Or baking. Or electronics. If you have a specialism, you can bet there is an audience for your advice.

So whatever your business, if you want to raise your or your company’s profile, start sharing your insights. Before you know it, you may find out you’re an expert in your field.

If you’d like to become better known in your field, contact Bruce Public Relations in Inverness. We have a wealth of expertise in this area, and we would be happy to share it with you.

5 simple ways to network more effectively

That's me in the cream jacket on the left. Networking at a recent Inverness Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Loch Ness Country House Hotel.

That’s me in the cream jacket on the left. Networking at a recent Inverness Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Loch Ness Country House Hotel.

Like it cheap mlb jerseys or not, networking is an important part of any businessperson’s remit. Whether you are an entrepreneur like me, or if you work for a large organisation, getting out and meeting people should be something you regularly make time for. Even if you don’t envision your organisation having “customers” per se, there are still many benefits to be had from networking.

I happen to enjoy networking, but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Regardless, it is in your best interest to try to become more comfortable in these kinds of situations.

If you are nervous about networking but have taken the leap to sign up to attend a networking event, here are five simple tips to help you make the most of this opportunity:

  1. Bring business cards. It may seem obvious, but it’s remarkable how many people neglect to ensure they have enough to share around.
  2. Dress your best. It may be superficial, but your appearance says a lot about you and the company you represent. Take the time to make sure you are sending the best message.
  3. Speak to people! The purpose of attending these events is to broaden your social and business networks. If you don’t make contact with people, you may as well have N?i stayed in the hard office. Remember that many of the people attending the event may also be cheap jerseys shy — don’t let this stop you from introducing yourself and asking if they are enjoying themselves.
  4. Remember that people do business with people they know. It sounds simple enough, but you may not have considered cheap nfl jerseys it: the more people you know, the more successful your business is likely to be. Networking events are a tremendous opportunity not only to meet new people, but to get reacquainted with people you have met before. If you are fortunate enough to to run into people you have met before, but don’t really know, a networking event presents the ideal opportunity to develop your relationship.
  5. Follow up! After meeting new people at an event, follow up your initial contact by dropping them a line by email.. You could even give them Votolato a ring! See if they are on Twitter, and if help so, follow them with your business account.

Effective networking is not brain surgery. Like most things that make someone successful, the key is developing a few good habits, and sticking with them.

I must dash now, I want to make sure Youre I look my best for this afternoon’s networking session.