When not to "fake it till you make it"

Recently, I was invited to present to the local business chamber Networking for Knowledge (Marketing) group. This is a wonderful group that meets throughout the year to learn about other businesses, their challenges, and ideas towards marketing.

My talk started with a tour of our clinical rooms and discussion about the areas of treatment that we offer in our practice. The rest of my presentation was themed around the importance of ongoing learning in business and how we must continue to push our knowledge and understanding of all the aspects that help make us successful in our missions, including marketing. 

People I come across often ask me, how do you know about marketing? Well...I went out and read all I could, continued to submerse myself in marketing topics online, and coupled this with my own experience through my career in healthcare.

There are two things that I feel are important to remember as we learn about marketing strategies. In healthcare, I really believe that we need to be mindful in the use of knowledge and use it in an ethical way and that we don't abuse "fake it till we make it" because this term has been taken way out of context!

Many of our clients are in vulnerable situations and looking for help. We need to respect the relationship and foster openness.

Fake confidence if you are feeling shy or out of your comfort zone if you need to, but don't fake clinical skills you don't have. Have you heard of the power pose by Amy Cuddy? – if you haven't, check out her TED video here (I love it, and I have gone back to watch it many times!) – it can really help when you are feeling uneasy delivering a talk, walking into a room of referrers, or opening your practice doors for the first time.

"Fake it till you make it" originated from the notion of positive self-talk when feeling nervous about a situation, often networking or public speaking. Over time the saying has morphed into people feeling the need to fake their skill until they become good at something or become successful. I see this, not often, but sometimes in healthcare; people marketing themselves as an expert in a particular area, or just having a go and not advising the client that this is not really their area of skill. A great healthcare professional is able to acknowledge the areas that they are not particularly great at – out loud and be transparent with that information. I am not great at treating shoulder injuries and keep my skills dedicated to the hand and wrist. Faking that I am good at shoulders until the day I finally am, is not something that I feel comfortable with, so I always refer those clients on.

I know if I was the client, I would want to know I am paying someone who is open and honest about what they can and can't do! Agree?

When we are thinking about our brand in healthcare, we need to be careful of who we target as our audience. It is really hard to try to be everything to everyone. Try to choose a few particular skills that you know you are good at and amplify those in your practice so you can create a space where you excel and feel positive about what you are doing. Being positive and feeling confident comes across in treatment.

Think about your team as well. Unconfident staff can be detrimental to your practice, so make sure you take the time to provide rich learning environment and target your staff's skills so you take advantage of their knowledge before unleashing new areas of service.

Marketing, Self Growth

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