Ep 63, Best Of: Managing Your Reputation | Summary and Q&A

August 2, 2022
Stanford GSB Podcasts
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Ep 63, Best Of: Managing Your Reputation

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In this episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart, Matt Abrahams and guest Allison Kluger discuss the importance of reputation and how to manage it effectively. They explore the concept of reputation as the echo that precedes and remains after you enter a room. Allison shares insights on building and maintaining a positive reputation, including being mindful of how you present yourself, striving for consistency in your actions, and being aware of the perceptions others have of you. She also highlights the significance of trust, warmth, and competence in shaping one's reputation. In addition, she encourages individuals to be authentic and true to their values while being mindful of their audience and intent. The episode wraps up with a discussion on the importance of clear and effective messaging in communicating one's desired reputation.

Questions & Answers

Q: How does Allison Kluger define reputation?

Allison defines reputation as the echo that precedes you into a room and the echo that remains after you leave. She emphasizes that a great reputation is like currency, as it can work for you even before you enter a room, predisposing people to like and listen to you.

Q: Why should we worry about our reputation?

Managing our reputation is crucial for our success, both professionally and personally. How we present ourselves and how others perceive us play a significant role in determining our outcomes. A positive reputation can open doors, create opportunities, and establish a sense of trust and credibility.

Q: How can we build and manage our reputation effectively?

Building and managing our reputation requires awareness and conscious effort. It involves being mindful of how we enter a room, making positive first impressions, being present and attentive in conversations, and consistently showing up as our authentic selves. It also involves curating our values and beliefs, so others have a clear understanding of who we are and what we stand for.

Q: How can we articulate our desired reputation?

Articulating our desired reputation involves being true to ourselves and our values. While it's important to be authentic, it's also crucial to be aware of how others perceive us. We can rely on feedback from colleagues, friends, and work evaluations to get a sense of how our reputation is being perceived. If a mismatch exists between how we intend to be seen and how others perceive us, we may need to be more strategic and intentional in our actions.

Q: What is the trust radar, and how does it relate to reputation?

The trust radar, introduced by author Daniel Diermeier, consists of four elements that are important for building trust and maintaining a positive reputation. These elements are expertise, empathy, commitment, and transparency. By embodying these qualities, individuals can establish trust with others and repair or maintain their reputation effectively. For example, the trust radar played a significant role in the success of Tylenol during the tainted Tylenol crisis, where they demonstrated transparency, commitment to customers' safety, and expertise in developing tamper-free packaging.

Q: How can we balance warmth and competence in our communication?

Balancing warmth and competence is essential for effective communication and reputation management. Being overly competent without warmth can come across as arrogant or cold, while being overly warm without competence may give the impression of lacking substance. The key is to find the right balance between these qualities, being authentically warm and competent, and connecting with others on both emotional and intellectual levels.

Q: How does reputation management extend to the virtual world?

With the rise of social media and online presence, reputation management has become more complex. It is essential to be mindful of the various "selves" we project online and ensure consistency across platforms. Reputation management in the virtual world involves being true to oneself, being aware of how our online presence aligns with our intended reputation, and being conscious of what we choose to share or post.

Q: What advice does Allison give for managing reputations in challenging situations?

Allison's advice is to focus on how we choose to deal with challenging situations rather than letting the situations define us. It is essential to respond in a way that allows us to learn, grow, and turn a potentially negative experience into a moment of triumph or value creation.

Q: Who are some communicators that Allison admires, and why?

Allison admires Tyra Banks and Michelle Obama as communicators. Tyra Banks is seen as underestimated but possesses authenticity and values that shine through her communication. Michelle Obama is praised for her warmth, strength, humor, inclusivity, and authenticity, making her an exceptional communicator.

Q: What are the essential ingredients for successful communication?

The three ingredients for successful communication are aim, audience, intent, and message (AIM). AIM involves understanding the audience, determining the communication's intent, and crafting a clear and impactful message that resonates with the audience.


Managing our reputation is crucial for success in various aspects of life. Reputation is the echo that precedes and remains after us, and a positive reputation can open doors and establish trust. Building and managing reputation requires awareness, consistency, and authenticity. It is crucial to be mindful of our actions, strive for consistency, and curate our values to align with our intended reputation. The trust radar, which encompasses expertise, empathy, commitment, and transparency, plays a pivotal role in reputation management. Balancing warmth and competence is also essential, as it portrays authenticity and effectiveness in communication. As our reputations extend into the virtual world, it is important to be mindful of our online presence and maintain consistency across platforms. In challenging situations, focusing on how we choose to deal with them allows us to turn them into moments of triumph or value creation. Finally, successful communication requires a clear aim, understanding of the audience, intent, and crafting a meaningful message that resonates with the intended recipients.

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