“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett
Consider the instant and potentially devastating effects of one bad review stemming from a misunderstanding or miscommunication. The daunting truth is your reputation is influenced not only by what you say, but also how you say it, and often what you don’t say too. This means whether you are talking or not your standing as a health and wellness practitioner in your community is at stake!
Given that reality, is there anything about the way you communicate that you’d like to do differently?
The first five articles in this blog series have highlighted how to put your best voice forward when networking, communicating via technology, meeting with a client, selling and marketing your services, and speaking or presenting to an audience. The tips and advice throughout the series are based on three principles:
- Speak from your heart.
- Speak to connect.
- Pay it forward through your words.
This final post in the series will focus on how to build and maintain your good reputation through these same guidelines.
Speak from your heart.
Most likely you are in this business because you care about people and want them to live healthy, happy lives. Professionals with strong reputations are known for loving what they do.Most likely you are in this business because you care about people and want them to live healthy, happy lives. Professionals with strong reputations are known for loving what they do. Click To Tweet
Allow your passion for your work to shine as you speak with a warm, friendly tone. Use vocal inflection and facial expressions that reflect your emotions. Let others get to know your heart by being vulnerable, telling your story, and sharing why you do what you do. Speak with empathy to show you care deeply about those you serve. Be present and listen to them when they are unsettled, sad, or scared. Speaking from your heart also means navigating inevitable differences of opinion and challenging questions from a place of love and respect. When you have messed up, sincerely apologize and take the necessary steps to make things right. Speak authentically without trying to impress with your words. Aim for heart-to-heart conversations and be genuine in your communication. Your good reputation will follow.
Speak to connect.
The best wellness providers have a reputation of being relatable and trustworthy. To earn that status, set an intention to connect with your audience (of any size) every time you deliver a spoken or written message. Speaking to connect means you desire and put forth the effort to understand your clients’ and audiences’ perspectives and you are sensitive to their needs. You ask questions and listen before you speak, and factor what you learn into what you say and how you say it. You also think about how your message may be interpreted before you speak or compose an email, and you verify the correct understanding once the message has been received.
Connection involves regular, clear, and respectful communication – with your clients, your staff, your colleagues, and your community. Remember, opinions of people from all areas of your life factor into your reputation. Be consistent in the quality and quantity of your engagements with all of them.
Pay it forward through your words.
Most of the Ten Avoidable Ways to Ruin Your Reputation listed in this Forbes.com article result from selfish behaviors. When you speak from your heart with the intention to connect, however, it’s hard to be selfish. In fact, researchers have found that Generosity Makes You Happier (medicalnewstoday.com). Having a generous mindset and taking consistent steps to give to others feels good! As a bonus, paying it forward through your words without expectation of reciprocity improves your reputation. Here are five excellent examples of giving through communication that will build your reputation and your business:
- Time – Take time to truly listen to those around you so that you can get to know them, better serve them, and form strong relationships.
- Gratitude – Say thank you. Whether it’s an informal spoken “thanks” or a handwritten thank you note, voicing your appreciation goes a long way and means more to people than you may realize.
- Attention – Notice what others around you are doing and how they are positively impacting those around them (including you), then compliment them and publicly acknowledge their contributions.
- Recommendations – Reviews and testimonials (like those posted on Wellistic.com) can make or break a practice. They are valuable! Healthcare providers also receive health and wellness services. Therefore, when you have experienced good care, pay it forward and write a public testimonial about your experience.
- Referrals – When you know a person needs care that falls beyond your scope of expertise or that you don’t have time to treat due to a full schedule, make referrals to trusted colleagues who are in a better position to help.
Your voice has tremendous potential to build your business. From everyday conversations to formal presentations, your words and the way you deliver them have the power to build a solid network, attract ideal clients, and influence your standing as a wellness provider. But, remember that it only takes one miscommunication to ruin a reputation.
While you may have years to go to get to Warren Buffet’s 20-year reputation, you certainly can leverage your voice to grow your business today, five minutes at a time.