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This One Mistake Could Cost You Your Reputation

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This One Mistake Could Cost You Your Reputation

A colleague shared an interesting story about a conference she attended.

Various speakers took turns presenting on stage and then returned to their table. As luck would have it, my colleague was sitting close to their table. Pretty exciting, right? Well, not really. It could have been a blessing but it ended up being a curse.

Two of the speakers who’d already presented, turned to each other and began chatting during the next speaker’s entire presentation.

My colleague was both dismayed and disappointed.

Initially she’d been inspired by the two speakers but instantly lost respect for both. Not only were they being disrespectful and distracting to the expert on stage, but they were also being disrespectful and distracting to nearby audience members.

The importance of walking your talk

Despite all the words of inspiration from these two speakers on stage, what many will remember was their lack of basic manners off it. Not very inspiring.

Their actions were also damaging to their personal brands. People who may have bought their products that day, possibly didn’t. People who may have sought out their future services, possibly won’t. And people who might have sung their praises after the event, actually wrote about their rudeness in their newsletter – which is how I heard about it in the first place!

It’s a great reminder to walk our talk as much as possible. It’s impossible to practice what we preach (and live up to expectations) all the time, after all, we’re only human. Motivation coaches sometimes feel unenthusiastic. Personal stylists sometimes look daggy. Productivity experts sometimes watch too many kitten videos.

But, if we consistently can’t walk our talk, then we have to ask ourselves why, and perhaps change some aspect of our business and/or lives accordingly. Otherwise we could end up losing people’s trust.

A good example of someone who does walk their talk

In 2009 I sat in the audience, mesmerised by a speaker talking about his inspirational, tragic, and uplifting life story. He wove the story into the theme of his keynote, which was on how to bullet-proof your business. The speaker was Andrew Griffiths.

Later that day at the same conference I was on a panel discussing topics related to copywriting and marketing. Who should be sitting in the audience? Andrew Griffiths! Most impressive was how intently he listened to every single panellist. Surely he’d heard all these topics before and probably written 307 books on them? But, given one of the ways to bullet-proof your business is to continually learn and grow, he sat there quietly and humbly. Listening and learning.

That’s the difference between people who walk their talk and people who don’t. Andrew is a highly respected Small Business author and entrepreneur in Australia, but had he been chatting all the way through our panel discussion, perhaps people would have thought differently of him. I certainly would.

Walking your talk ensures you’re true to yourself and authentic to your purpose. It’s good for your soul and it’s very good for business.

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“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"



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Showing 10 comments
  • Georgia Thomas
    Reply

    Spot on Lucinda. Great advice.

  • Sharon Chisholm
    Reply

    Brrrrriliant Lucinda. I could not agree more and I don’t know how the person managed to hold their tongue. I would have politely and respectfully asked them to be quiet. I think that respect of others is so important in a world where it seems to be increasingly lacking. I always make a point of listening to the safety guidelines on an aeroplane. Why? Because despite knowing where my life jacket is stowed, to put my own air mask on before helping another and to know which brace position I should use, it shows respect for those people who I might have to rely on to save my life should something happen. It shows that those few minutes I could be using to read the in-flight magazine are actually worth spending listening to the person in front of me and I’m sure it is nice for them to occasionally be met by eyes and a smile, rather than a bald spot or a baseball cap.

    As a mental health coach, I definitely don’t always walk the talk – I don’t always stick to my sleep schedule that is so vital for management of my bipolar disorder, I don’t always avoid sugar or caffeine and I don’t always avoid things I know will trigger me emotionally. I still have to live! BUT, I do always stick to those things that I believe are my values as a human being – respect, connection, value among others.

    • Lucinda
      Reply

      Thank you so much for your personal and insightful comment, Sharon. To me, your values are the foundation of who you are. If you stick to your values, then everything else will eventually (hopefully) fall into place. Thanks again for sharing your personal experience, 🙂

  • Sandra Durrington
    Reply

    Love your article Lucinda!

    • Lucinda
      Reply

      Oh wow, so glad to hear it, Sandra! Thanks for the feedback. 😀

  • Michael Hanrahan
    Reply

    Thanks Lucinda, great article and a good reminder.

    • Lucinda
      Reply

      Hi there Michael, thank you for your comment. I find that too, especially with the articles on Smallville – so many excellent reminders! 😀

  • Valerie Orton
    Reply

    Excellent article Lucinda. And I agree with the way Andrew Griffith walks his talk. Thank you.

  • Lucinda
    Reply

    Hi Valerie, thanks so much! I agree. I think that’s one of the reasons why Andrew is so respected, he constantly walks his talk. (And thankfully he DOES talk a lot!) 😀

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