It’s Autumn! Season of scarves, boots, leaves and mugs of steaming drinks. And time to harvest all that summer energy, for me at least.
One of the conversations that’s been showing up on repeat of late is around ‘being professional’. What that means and what it doesn’t.
Many people I’ve spoken to put off writing their blog because they don’t know how to get a professional vibe across. They don’t want to come across all down with the kids. Nor do they want to seem all stuffy and dull. They don’t know what to share and what to hold back. So they end up doing nothing.
And it’s not just writing blogs either. This fear of not coming across right, of not having the right clothes to wear… It can stop you in your tracks. I had a dither about what to wear for a workshop I was delivering last week because I wanted to create a good impression. (I went, and I wore some clothes so that all worked itself out in the end).
And it’s important, isn’t it? It’s important to convey you know what you’re doing, that your way of doing it is effective and that you’re an expert in your chosen field. But no-one’s going to know any of that if you don’t speak (or write) up.
So, here’s my guiding principle for being professional…
If you give yourself permission to be yourself, here’s what happens: you loosen up. You relax, which is more fun for you, and makes the people around you feel more comfortable too. This is true whether we’re talking about the written word or in person, of course.
The other thing that happens, the truly powerful thing, is that your focus shifts. It shifts from you and your thoughts on all the ways you might be getting it wrong/be out of place/striking a wrong note.
It lands instead on your audience – the person you’re speaking to, the person you’re writing the blog for. And when you start to do that, the little things about tone tend to take care of themselves.
If your focus is on your client, your lead, your reader, whatever you’d like to call them, then already you’re thinking about their needs rather than your own. What’s important for them to hear, what can help them make some positive change. And when it comes down to it, having a positive impact on your clients’ lives is the reason they will buy from you at some point.
It’s not just about letting your clients see you, rather than some bland, safe version of you – though that’s important too. We know that people buy from people. It’s about where your professional focus is.
If you’re spending your energy on whether you’re coming across right, you’re not using that energy on doing the actual work – whether that’s research into their problem, launching products, writing and editing your messages, whatever it might be. Doing what you do as well as you possibly can.
And yes, following protocols is important. If you’re in a workplace that expressly says no jeans, save the jeans for another day.
But on your blog – you get to set the protocols.
So as long as you are being honest, which means…
- you’re telling the truth
- you’ll do what you say you’ll do and
- you’re not passing other people’s work off as your own
…get out of the way and let you be you.
I can help with content, messages, structure, all of that. Just get in touch if you want help shaping things up.
And, if you fancy a couple of hours sorting out your content in lovely York, I’ll be launching some ‘get it done’ group workshops soon (they need a better name!) where we can work it all out together. Message me if you’re interested in that and I’ll share a few more details.
But it all starts with you, your business, and your way of doing and saying things.
Wear the red boots to your workshop. Bend the grammar rules a tad. Pretend you’re talking to a favourite client over coffee. Shift your attention from yourself to your clients. Let your blog serve them.
It’s the professional thing to do.