Office Politics: How to Become Credible in Your Workplace

One of the cornerstones of an influencing strategy is to establish your credibility in some area of competence; you have to convince people that you are an expert, or at least competent in the field.  Once you are recognized in this way people will listen when you talk about that topic. This sounds challenging but is actually much easier than you might imagine.

First of all you need to actually develop above-average knowledge of your chosen field  This is easier now that it has ever been thanks to the easier access to knowledge the world-wide web provides, but it takes some skill and experience to do this without spending an excessive amount of time on it.

Luckily there are some techniques for keeping up to date in any field that require only a modest effort. First of all you need to manage news sources efficiently so that you are always the first to know about new developments. Google's RSS reader is one essential tool, allowing you to scan headlines from many publications in one place, quickly and efficiently. Google Alerts is another essential tool, that allows you to see news in any field automatically.

Equally important is to follow the best news sources in your field on Twitter. You can find them by searching for keywords related to your business to find people who tweet on that topic. Then choose the most useful and see who they follow to get as close as possible to the sources of the best information.

Once you have access to the latest news share it freely with your colleagues but don't swamp them with a flood of low value information. Be selective and pass on things that are really useful. That way you add more value. At the same time you should be careful in your choice of news and other information to share. Perhaps you see an interesting news item but before you share it ask if it reinforces the position of expertise you are trying to build. If the answer is no then resist the temptation to share it. Focus on things that are coherent with the reputation you are trying to build or you will undermine your efforts.

Try this for a few months and you will perhaps be surprised by the results. If your plan was to become the office expert in social media you don't need to be an expert at the global level; you just need to be better than anyone else in your workplace. In fact you don't even need to be the best, you just need to be the best at sharing because an expert who doesn't share knowledge is not considered an expert. If you plan to be the office social media guru always be the one who has valuable knowledge -- like which of the many new sites is worth trying, or invitations to some new beta-test site -- and the one who passes on high-value information. Then people will recognize you as the expert and listen to you when you have something to say about the topic.


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