Everyone has a story, according to Ogilvy Group MD Susan Redden Makatoa. It’s how you tell it that matters.
You don’t have to be a CEO or even an aspiring CEO to have a great story. You don’t need to have the most impressive resume in the room, or to have travelled to the most countries.
But you do need to put in some groundwork to ensure others are interested in the story you have to share.
That’s the message Redden Makatoa offered at an Executive Women Australia masterclass at Swaab Attorneys today, telling all the women in the room they have something to share. “I’ve done PR for twenty years and nobody has a story more interesting than you,” she said.
After telling her own career story — plotted out on a timeline, featuring ‘breeding breaks’ and ‘terrifying events’ such as delivering a TEDx talk last month — Redden Makatoa offered examples of everyday Australians who’ve used their personal story in order to build media profiles with purpose.
She then shared practical tips on how any woman can position herself to get her story heard, including three guidelines for building a personal profile.
1. Get amongst it.
Profile building is a continuous habit, said Redden Makatoa. Update your website every day. Use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to connect. Share articles, advice and useful information on social media. Attend events. Speak at events. Join industry associations and volunteer on NFP boards.
2. Be generous.
Link up with people. Endorse and recommend people. Make introductions and help those in your network connect. Celebrate the wins of others, such as promotions, new jobs and anniversaries — it’s so easy on platforms like LinkedIn to like or add a comment. Meet with an ‘up and comer’ in your industry and see how you can help them out. Pay it forward, where possible. “I will always have a cup of tea with people who ask for my time and I always get something out of it,” she said. “Commit to small acts of generosity and people will remember it and you can sleep at night.”
3. Make yourself useful.
“This is where the rubber hits the road,” said Redden Makatoa. “You’re out there, you’re active, you’re generous. But if you’re going to create content, it has to be useful to other people.” Use your knowledge and experience to help stimulate and inspire others. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be done. Write pieces that offer ‘how to’ style information and source resources and links that will be interesting to other people. Get your expertise online and if you deliver a presentation, publish it on platforms that will extend its audience.
Everyone has a story. Not everyone knows how to tell it. According to Redden Makatoa, if you work at building your profile you’ll position yourself as someone worth listening to.