The importance of building and leveraging a social reputation

By Ben Adams

Joan Jett might not give a damn about her bad reputation (old reference, I know). But for us Charismos, our social reputation and our ability to leverage it is our life blood.

I’ve noticed a bias in most communication materials toward perfecting the first impression. This makes sense as a marketing technique to people who're starting out. However, my experience out there in the business and dating world is that the happiest people with the most social opportunities are those who successfully create positive social reputations and build relationships.

Acquiring new clients, friends and romantic partners is important. It’s also an essential step when you want to change your life. But this process takes more energy and work than using what is already available to you. I feel this is yet another Zen moment from Charisma Arts. Try not to swim against the current. Instead of pounding the pavement for new clients, imagine your existing clients giving you all their business and telling their friends about you. Instead of having to chase women, imagine your existing acquaintances thinking so highly of you that they wanted to introduce you to their attractive friends.

There's no rule that the only people you can get to know are strangers. I like to focus much of my time on the opposite! For instance, I get my hair cut at a salon downtown where I work here in Chicago. I've developed a friendship with my hair stylist who's a gay man and sought after by women for his abilities to make them look good.

My friend is happy to introduce me, in the most flattering terms, to women in the local Chicago hair and fashion scene. These are women I'd have to spend thousands of d0llars to meet in a club by buying bottle service to be near the VIP - and even then, I could easily be mistaken for one of those weird guys. My unique self might get lost in the sea of dudes trying to meet girls in the club. I'd be spawning against the stream with all the other male trout.

Here's another example. There's a clothing boutique in town which I walk to occasionally. I browse the racks and chit chat with the people who work there. I occasionally buy something. I've developed a reputation as a social guy there by remembering people’s names, sharing about myself and applying Charisma Arts ideas. The owner of this store - which is really a chain of stores, was there one day and noticed how everybody knew me. Soon enough, we're chatting warmly. We talked about travel – he spends most of his time in other cities searching for new models and buying clothes for his boutiques. He told me his must-sees in New York City. I sent him an email recently thanking him and sharing my stories about visiting one of the places he recommended. This is the sort of long-term move a Charismo needs to make to start building a reputation in desirable social circles and networks. It's enjoyable and possibly helpful in the future.

The Amway corporation has a theory they call the Endless Chain. Though I may not feel kosher with their business model, I like their thinking. They visualize social circles as chains. Every person in your social circle is a touch-point in another circle, and so on. Your options to meet new people are not limited to just going out and cold approaching. You can move laterally through chains and meet plenty of new people - so long as you're charismatic enough. :)

This is where I think people who proclaim themselves pick-up-artists and sales gurus typically go wrong. They're resigned to being unable to build relationships so must instead talk endlessly about creating perceived value with strangers. These people tend to come on too strong, too desperate and too weird.

Here are some steps you can take now to build and leverage your social circles:

  • Share yourself with the people in your life. Speak from the I-perspective.
  • Think of acquaintances as potential friends and allies.
  • Try to be patient, when you enter someone’s world. Trust often takes time.
  • Join a Conversation Camp. It helped me. It can help you too.

With patience, assertiveness and consistent application of the sort of conversational skills and understanding we teach here, you can start building a reputation among your peers which will reward you with new opportunities.

Learn more about Ben on our About Us page.