You may know the riddle, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” If you apply that thought to your talents and strengths, the question for yourself is: If you’re doing great things, but nobody knows about them, do they matter? In other words, you need to make some noise in your own forest and make sure people know about it.

Maintaining your image and promoting your work within your community has many benefits. It will keep you in the game as a must-have player and, perhaps, lead you to additional opportunities and challenges. Before you start promoting your goods, however, you must make sure you’ve got everything in place.

The best place to start checking your inventory is by pulling together facts and ideas that will position you as a leader in your area of expertise. Knowing and understanding current trends in project management, and then finding ways to apply those trends to improve or grow your massage practice, will help you get your name on the “wanted list.”

I’ve put together what I consider to be the top eight steps in cultivating your business worth.

1) Aim high
Networking with successful higher-ups offers you two opportunities:

  • Get some free advice. People love to talk about their successes, and you can really learn a lot from listening to the journeys of those around you. It’s also an ego boost for someone to make something happen, such as discovering your talents and enlisting your help on a visible project. Seek out informal networking events where people are more approachable and able to take the time to talk.
  • A platform for self-promotion. Networking events provide the perfect platform to promote your own successes and put yourself on people’s radar for future projects or considerations.

2) Eat, drink and breathe technology
While each industry varies in the level of technology know-how needed, make sure you know the top software applications in your field and how it will speed up the process. Your understanding of what issues need to be solved and which technology to turn to will position you as a thinker who is always looking ahead. It also demonstrates your ability to change and be productive in many settings.

3) Know more than everyone else
You can reinvent yourself by researching job postings in your industry and seeking out any buzz words or new trends in preferred skills. Take classes, seminars or simply read up on the subject, so you can speak intelligently when making your case for people to visit your practice.

4) Practice clear and concise communication
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that only marketers or communication people need great communication skills. We all need them!  ow you present your information makes a statement about you as an individual. You want to come across as knowledgeable and confident-–not scattered, unorganized or insecure. If your presentation skills are troublesome, take a course and hone them to perfection. Many client opportunities are won or lost based on how massage therapists and bodyworkers present themselves.

5) Protect your reputation
Your skills will take you pretty far, but your reputation will take you even further. Word-of-mouth can be a powerful tool. Treat your reputation like the gold it is. Always promote your recent successes, and keep them fresh. You want to be known for always thinking, solving problems or learning something new. Keep yourself in good graces by sending thank-you notes after client sessions. Lastly, be thoughtful about your profile on such places as LinkedIn and Facebook. This all contributes to your reputation.

6) What’s your story?
You should always look critically at your resume and make sure it weaves a story that sets you apart from others in the massage industry. Discover and promote your unique selling points and, above all, make sure your resume showcases not just your skills, but also that you are tuned into what is happening in your industry. Your resume should also give an employer (if you’re looking to be hired at a spa or clinic) a sense of you personally. If you run marathons or are a volunteer at Habitat for Humanity, make sure those things are noted at the end of your resume in the “Personal” section.

Remember to have your resume updated and ready, even if you are not actively looking for something.  

7) Negotiate and navigate
Anyone who wants something should know how to negotiate and navigate. These skills should be developed in a classroom or while taking an online course, not in critical moments. Negotiations can help you with anything from securing a job, to buying a car or even getting your spouse to rent the movie you want. Imagine the possibilities!

8) Have laptop, will travel!
Speaking of online courses to prepare you for great things, the wave of online classes provides users with the flexibility and freedom of learning what they want, wherever they want. Do not let the fear of time prevent you from taking a class or getting some training you know will benefit you in the long run.

Make Some Noise

Once you’ve spent adequate time checking your inventory and stocking your shelves with new and improved skills, you are ready to get out there and make some noise about what you’ve got. 

Be diligent and continue to spread the word about recent successes, newly-tuned skills and cutting-edge solutions, and you’ll find yourself thriving and succeeding in all that you do. 

Michelle LaBrosse, Kick it Up!, MASSAGE MagazineMichelle LaBrosse, PMP, is the founder of Cheetah Learning, and author of Cheetah Negotiations and Cheetah Project Management. The Project Management Institute, www.pmi.org, recently selected Michelle as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the World, and only one of two women selected from the training and education industry. She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner President Managers (OPM) program and also holds engineering degrees from Syracuse University and the University of Dayton. Her articles have appeared in more than 100 publications and Web sites around the world. Her monthly column, the Know How Network, is carried by more than 400 publications, and her monthly newsletter goes out to more than 50,000 people. Her radio program, Your World Your Way, is a weekly broadcast that looks at how Project Management fuels success.

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