Blogger: Mary Keeley
I’m away at our agency’s bi-annual client retreat and won’t be able to respond to your comments today. But I hope this topic on how to create a professional persona for industry professionals will generate lots of conversation, affirmation, and insights among you. I look forward to reading them when I’m back in the office.
Your Verbal Interaction with Professionals
Myers-Briggs Foundation makes the distinction between extroverts and introverts this way. Simply summarized, extroverts re-charge their energy when they are actively involved with people. Introverts re-charge their energy by being off by themselves with time to reflect. You can get a more comprehensive explanation here.
I think it’s fair to say that among the publishing culture as a whole, most writers and editors and even agents are at least mild introverts. A strong extrovert wouldn’t have the patience to enjoy sitting at a computer with their ideas being their only companions for long stretches of time. Here are several traits of each type and tips for your interactions:
- Tend to be good listeners. TIP: You may be more likely to pick up on nuances in a conversation or meeting and adjust what you planned to say for a positive result.
- Your energy can be used up quickly after a situation in which you have to interact socially or professionally. TIP: Schedule quiet time afterward to recharge. If you are asked to join a group socially afterward, feel comfortable being honest and saying something like, “Thanks for the invitation, but I just used up all my words; I need some downtime to re-charge.”
- Can be very effective communicators. TIP: This is a great asset for a professional persona when you use it wisely (see next bullet point).
- Can talk too much, risking a slick, unpolished impression. TIP: Same as for your writing, don’t be so wordy that you bury the real substance of what you want to say under a lot of superficial banter.
- Can carry on too much small talk, which can tire out the introverted agent, editor, or audience before you get to the point of what you want to present. TIP: Be quiet for the first few minutes to discern if the professional you are meeting with is an introvert or extrovert. Adapt your approach accordingly.
Your Personal Image
You are the primary representative for your work. A blend of confidence, friendliness, and professionalism is necessary in communicating in the business side of your career. Here are a few contributing factors.
- Dress appropriately for a business meeting with publishing professionals. TIP: It’s especially important for your first meeting with an editor and later with your publishing team to be current in dress code and style. They will evaluate you on your polished appearance. You might think this is harsh and unfair, but understand they are viewing you a one of their authors and as such, you will be representing the publishing house.
- Always be on time for interviews, meetings, PR events, and book signings. TIP: Pad your schedule with extra time to allow for traffic jams, getting lost, construction zones. On the flip side, don’t arrive half an hour early, giving the impression you didn’t remember the meeting time correctly or that you are an eager amateur.
- Cultivate that confident, friendly demeanor I mentioned. TIP: Scripture is loaded with affirmations like, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm139: 13 -14a). This is your foundation. I also suggest you read a book on the subject by a Christian author, like Carol Kent’s Speak Up with Confidence: A Step-by-Step Guide for Speakers and Leaders, where you’ll find many helpful tips.
I hope you enjoy a lively discussion sharing experiences, good and failed. Offer additional tips, observations, and encouragements.
Verbal interaction and personal image create your professional persona for publishing professionals. Click to Tweet.
Introvert or extrovert, create a professional persona for publishing professionals. Here are a few tips. Click to Tweet.