What do people say about you when you’re not in the room? What would you like them to say?
Few accountants seem to think this through. If you are clear about what you want people to say though you are likely to find success a lot faster than anyone who is ‘just another’ accountant.
There are two elements to consider here. What do you want people to say about:
- what you do (as an accountant)? and, separately
- you as a person?
I addressed the first question in a recent blog post. That second question though is especially tough. You need to be somewhat self aware and self analytical to address this successfully.
For example, do you want to be remembered as a thoughtful person who listens to others? Or as someone who is self-absorbed and who talks at people without really taking any notice of what they say?
Do you know how you come across? Or what people currently say about you?
We each create an impression by what we say, how we say it and how we react to other people. This is true of face to face encounters but also of our online engagements on social media and Linkedin. It can be instructive to reflect on the way that other people will remember us.
These memories that other people hold become our personal brand. And if it’s not what we want it to be then it’s upto us to change things.
Going back to the first of the two questions, you also want to provide some clarity about your role as an accountant. People need to know your areas of expertise and of specialism. I have said it before and I will no doubt say it again, you are different to all the other accountants out there. You are You. You have your past experiences and interests to draw on. If you make no effort to distinguish yourself, you will struggle longer than those accountants who are memorable and distinct.
We have all heard the old phrase: ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. The implication being that to be successful, you need to accept that your knowledge and skills are less useful and less important than your network of personal contacts.
I think that old phrase is no longer correct. The truth is that these days, It’s BOTH what you know and who you know. And who knows you. And, this is crucial, What they say about you*. YOU can determine this by how you behave and by what you say both in real life and online. Take control and build your personal brand to be more successful than those who leave it to chance.
* My friend, Andy Lopata, stresses this point in many of his presentations.