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Networking 101 – Building your reputation

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One of the greatest rewards for me, from networking, is that I get to build a reputation.

My reputation (and yours should be exactly the same) is of the utmost importance, not only on a personal level but also from a business perspective. You see my reputation is an integral part of my Branding. Word of mouth or referral is the quickest way in which to Brand myself and believe it or not, perception is the quickest way to destroy it!

Some people say that your face is one of the biggest ways to build your reputation – by your face you are instantly recognizable. I am constantly amazed by the number of people who come up to me and greet me by name and I have no idea who they are. You see my face (and therefore my brand) is up on every profile that I am on, all over the web!

That in itself, however, is not enough. Everything you say or do is part of your branding too, whether you like it or not. In short, YOU, the individual are your own brand both from a personal perspective and so too from a Business one.

During the course of this week, I was paid a huge compliment by a very new client, who has just outsourced their payroll and Accounting. They mentioned to the Accountant, that they had just undergone a compliance and administration audit and that there was a great deal to be done. The individual who will be doing their books and payroll asked if by any chance the audit was done by “Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting” and when they confirmed that it was, this person apparently answered, “ok that’s fine then, everything will be sorted out and resolved!”

Fabulous – don’t you agree? Now here comes the clanger! I have never, ever even heard of this individual or the Company!

That’s my reputation!

A lesson I learnt as a very young child, under the age of 8 years old actually, was from my father who said “You cannot be held responsible for the name that you bring into this world because it is the name that I gave you – but the name that you take out of this world is the one that you make for yourself!”

These words have stood me in good stead all of my life, and clearly, they have made a difference to me and the manner in which I have built my reputation. This is evident in the way that people view me – my reputation appears to precede me.

What about yours? Ask yourself – what is your reputation? What is your Brand and if you don’t like what you see or what you have answered, how are you going to change it and turn it around?