The need for invisibility that I see in business owners is so incredibly detrimentally pervasive that I’ve decided to catalogue all the ways CEOs self-sabotage their marketing in this blog.
Refusing the Mic
Whenever I see a (mostly woman) CEO get introduced and refuse to take the microphone, I want to cringe. Worse yet, is the consensus that they try to get from the audience to do so. As if speaking into the microphone that’s been set out for that exact event and room would somehow hurt people’s hearing! I’ll tell you what’s hurting (other than my grinding teeth)- it’s the power perception of the person asking to make themselves and their voice smaller. It is not humble to refuse a mic. It doesn’t make us think more of them. It only causes the mic-less speaker to feel less conspicuous. And that’s refusing a platform of authority and power. And if you’re guilty of this, stop doing it. Take the mike with pride into your hands and stand strong, speaking loudly to the audience.
Refusing To Ask Questions at the Q&A
I was such a shy kid that my Mom used to force me to go to the corner store to train me to become more extraverted. Of course, apparently she used to follow me to see if I was ok but she still had to force me to go. Well, I still balk at having to stand up and ask questions at conferences and events where often, there are members of my community and clients in the audience. What if I look bad or seem self-serving? I’ve since discovered that asking well thought-out, good questions (not making statements to make a pitch) are a great way to step into visibility. Asking questions at events has become a lead generator and a conversation ice-breaker with prospects who heard my question. There are a few rules though. First, you have to stand up and introduce your name and your company. No need to explain what your company does unless it’s related to the question. Concise is better and get down to the issue without the marketing. Q&A is an excellent way to step into the spotlight.
Not Speaking At Their Own Company Meetings
When my CEO clients have company or client functions, marketing events or any type of meeting, I’ve taught them (against their wishes) to carve out time in the agenda of the event to stand up and say a few words as the leader of that organization. Surprisingly, some are very reluctant or don’t even think about doing this. They claim that the occasion isn’t about them or isn’t an opportunity to market. Wrong. EVERY opportunity to step into the spotlight reinforces your credibility and your audience’s confidence in you. Best part? There’s no extra cost to do it. And yet it pays dividends in elevated personal brand equity!
Neglecting To Introducing Others
When I’m networking or at other people’s events, even if I know just one person, I’ll ask if they’d like an introduction to anyone. Then by acting like the hostess and introducing new people I meet to that person (even though I’m not on the membership committee), I get to increase my points of contact and spread my own visibility. I tell my clients to use this same technique at their networking events because it not only serves shy people like me but it positions them as being a leader. Again, a wonderful thing for your business and your brand.
So back to the start of the story where the next time you’re up on stage to speak, do yourself a favour and use the darn mic. Your brand will get a lot more mileage out of it.