Mediators Resign from the Club
If you've every uttered these words, you're a member of the club:
I must admit I hate having my picture taken.
I take a terrible photo.
I don't need a headshot
I'm a mediator not a movie star
It doesn't make a difference if my picture is there or not.
What club? The 'Photo-Haters Club', a variation on the He-Man, Woman-haters Club from the days of the Little Rascals. (yep, I'm that old). It's a very large group and I'm an occasional member. We sit around clipping ourselves out of old pictures and critiquing dated hair styles. You know, fun stuff. Of course, I'm joking but there is a serious problem with not making your picture available in your materials or website.
From a Metaphysical Standpoint
If your picture isn't present, your business is missing an essential component: YOU. Let me share a personal story that helped me begin to feel differently about seeing my smiling mug in pictures.
Over the past, I've avoided pictures like the plague- all pictures. When we moved into our house five years ago I took stock of all the pictures we'd collected. There were tons of my son, Jared, and daughter, Kaitie playing, laughing, on trips, at school. It was the story of their life.
But where was I? The pictures told an incomplete story because I was missing. My grandkids, whenever they come along, won't have any idea of what I looked like as a young woman. They won't be able to see where that early grey streak comes from; how their smiles are similar to mine; or see my pride and gratitude about having such a wonderful family. I'd erased myself from my own history.
What message do you convey to prospective clients when your picture is not part of your professional identity?
Getting the Big Picture
I'd done the same thing with my business. My materials were devoid of any pictures of me or any notion of who I am as a person. There wasn't a scrap of 'Dina-ness' to be found. Bad move because people do business with people they like and trust, not highly polished, professional brochures or websites. Mediation is a trust based business so marketing should help increase that connection of trust, not deplete it.
Thankfully, I've seen the big picture now. Seeing my picture actually means something to people. I got that message over and over, especially during my time as Corporate Ombuds for Fleet. People I never met face-to-face told me my picture was encouraging and comforting. Some folks even propped up the photo during our phone conversations.
Now, I market with my picture and damned proud of it. Members of ADRPractiebuilder.com often remark that seeing my joyful face inspired them to grab some joy of their own. That's a picture I definitely want to be in.
Getting a Great Photo
Right. You're convinced, but where do you get a great photo? No worries. Here's a few crafty tips for you:
- It's a photo, not all of you
Don't worry so much about the image of you in the photo because truly it can never capture all of who you are. It's meant to capture your essence. When that happens you'll be pleased with how you look.
- The outside is a mirror of the inside
Think of something pleasant. Stressing about your hair, clothes, the lights, etc will all show on your face. My daughter and I have marathon viewing sessions of 'America's Next Top Model' and the best pictures are the ones where the models are thinking about the mood or message they want to portray.
- Get the right tools for the job
This isn't a DIY project. Invest in professional photos. You'll absolutely get your value back in terms of quality and use. Find the best photographer for you. There are only two people in Boston who I trust to take my picture. Why? Because they are artists who are truly concerned with telling a story, selling a package of photos.
You can find someone in your town who works the same way. Next time you see a headshot you really like look for the photographer's credit at the bottom of the picture. If not, simply call the subject and ask who took such an amazing picture. Believe me, the subject and photographer will be each be flattered and you'll be assured a winning photo.
Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!