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How Do Others See You?

I am constantly reminded of this question in many different ways in both business and social settings. From early fashion experimentation as young adults, right through to how we currently express ourselves in later life, we all seem to carry this question as a piece of baggage through life.

How do I look?

Does my bum look big in this?

Will I fit the part?

It seems we are all concerned to varying degrees with the same question:

Just how will others see me?

Bringing this back to business then, how are you seen and perceived in business, and how do you know?

Many years ago, in my first “real” job, I was offered some sage advice from my then line manager. He said to me, “If you want to be a manager in IBM, then act and dress as if you are already one now.”

This stuck with me for years as I took this advice and used it to become a manager, a Managing Director, Chamber President, CBI Councillor and the list goes on… Every time I wanted to be something I wondered – How will others see me? – and I just pretended I was one already!

It was great advice, and it works on many levels. If you are feeling less confident, well don’t worry, just pretend you are, it will be fine as people will see you as confident. If you want to be in charge, but have no mandate, just pretend you are, and people will see you in this way and do as you ask.

Then I browsed LinkedIn the other day, and found out that I was busted.

No longer can I simply pretend, as LinkedIn has burst the bubble, revealing my true self, and exposing me to what others think of me and how they see me.

It’s called “endorsement”.

People you know (and often don’t) offer endorsements for the skills they either know you have, or think you have. And these are scored on your profile. This totals and gives you the ordered list of specialities and skills that people see you as having.

What do yours say about you?

My endorsements were all as expected, but the order and weighting was a surprise. I thought I was a business leader, a change planner and a financial expert. My “reality” is as follows, as voted by those people who know:

  1. 99+ Organisational Specialist

  2. 89 Change Management

  3. 77 Business Planning

  4. 52 Business Strategy

  5. 42 Coaching

  6. 32 Management Consulting

  7. 26 Start-Ups

  8. 23 Employee Engagement

  9. 22 Management

What do your endorsements say about you? What do people think of you? And does it really match with the perception you hold of yourself?

In this transparent online world we work in, how others see you, will determine your online self, and ultimately your online success.

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