Learn how you can become better known and respected amongst your peers in the aesthetic specialty
A common question many Aesthetics readers ask is, ‘How can I boost my profile in the industry?’ The aesthetics community is small and there are many ‘big’ and ‘famous’ aesthetic practitioners in our field who are known by pretty much everyone.
So how do you boost your profile, achieve professional satisfaction and respect amongst your colleagues? Aesthetics speaks to Mr Dalvi Humzah and Sharon Bennett – two practitioners and Aesthetics Media Clinical Advisory Board members who are exceptionally well-known and respected amongst their peers in the specialty – to gain their insights and tips on how to grow your profile.
So, you want to be known, but why do you want to be known, and what do you want to be known for? Bennett notes that if you simply want to be famous within your field then you need a fresh perspective.
She explains, “Firstly you need to think about who you want to be, and what you want to achieve. For most, boosting your profile within this industry doesn’t happen overnight and it means working hard, becoming an expert in something and sharing that with the community. The leading lights you see ‘effortlessly’ presenting on stage put so much work and study into their field and that’s how they got there; they are organised and focused.”
When Bennett and Mr Humzah reflect upon their careers, they note that they didn’t actively set out to boost their profiles, although they do acknowledge that much of what they did in the past achieved just that.
Mr Humzah jokes, “If someone asks me how to do it, I often just say, don’t try. A good mentor once told me to just develop as much as you can and be good at what you do – develop a professionalism and then people will recognise your abilities.”
Bennett suggests that being known and respected across the field does come with its benefits. “You get a lot of professional satisfaction when your peers respect you, come to you for advice, or for mentoring or shadowing. Having this profile and respect is exceptionally valuable for your patients too. It can give your patients faith that they have chosen the right practitioner,” she says. Mr Humzah adds, “As a professional, especially in a medical field, everyone wants to be respected in their specialty and it’s a great feeling when you believe you have accomplished this.”
Mr Humzah acknowledges that it’s important for practitioners to be on top of their game by knowing as much as they can about their particular subject area. He also says that learning never ends. He says, “You need to be constantly adapting, continuing your learning and developing over time. If I was still doing the same thing 10 years ago I wouldn’t be very known or respected in my field as things have changed and are completely different now.”
Bennett echoes this, noting that formal education, such as the Level 7 Master’s in Aesthetics, will give practitioners a further authoritative voice.
Associations such as the British College of Aesthetic Medicine (BCAM) and the British Association of Cosmetic Nurses (BACN) are among many industry-specific groups that can aid your professional career, and help raise your profile. Bennett says, “In my experience, being a representative of an association can really open doors. With the BACN I have found myself sitting around a table with Government ministers, advising trade publications and representing the association in Europe, which has absolutely helped my professional profile.”
However, you don’t need to be on the committee to benefit from these associations notes Mr Humzah, who is currently assisting BCAM by writing its membership exam. “These groups are a place where you can be a member, but that is all you will be unless you take the next step of getting involved. This means attending their events and annual meetings from a local level, putting your hand up to speak, or helping out at local level events.” An overview of the different industry associations can be found on the Aesthetics website.1
Both Bennett and Mr Humzah are on the Aesthetics Media Clinical Advisory Board and have been active authors in the field, something which they encourage others to get involved in. Bennett notes, “When you write, especially about something that is new, interesting and different, it gives you the opportunity to demonstrate that you know your subject and it will often present you with other opportunities. There is no point in writing something you know nothing about, so be sure you know the subject matter well, do your research and reference where appropriate. You might want to start by writing about your opinions – people are interested in other’s opinions, whether they feel they are right or wrong.”
Mr Humzah adds, “Approaching trade publications in the sector shows you are actively involved in research and developing the future of your specialty. Writing is kind of like the chicken and the egg; the more you write in specialty journals the more journals start to work with you.”
We all know the importance of attending industry events such as the ACE and CCR conferences for networking and learning opportunities. However, they can also be opportunities to boost your profile, provided you have something interesting or different to say to help further the learning of others.
Speaking and lecturing in front of your peers is a good way to get your name out there. Many practitioners will be approached to present, however you can also actively approach event organisers and companies to show you are eager to talk, remembering to be clear on what subjects will be valuable to others and why you’re qualified to speak on them.
Bennett says, “Like writing, it’s hard to deliver a great presentation when you don’t know your subject so you should know it inside and out. We encourage our BACN members to present at their regional meetings as they have a really friendly and forgiving audience, so it is great practise. You need to not only practice your presentation, but how you stand, what you wear, how you look and come across to send the right messages to the audience.” Mr Humzah adds that people need to find their own style when it comes to lecturing, “Don’t be anyone but yourself. If you are apprehensive you can seek training to improve.”
Aesthetic manufacturers and suppliers frequently seek spokespeople to educate their clients and endorse their products and it can be a great opportunity to boost one’s profile if you’re particularly knowledgeable about certain brands. Bennett says, “In my experience, most companies want people who know the products well and can demonstrate a skillset in using them.
This comes before their presenting skills for example, because that is something that is more easily taught. The bigger companies generally invest a lot in training their key opinion leaders and will do a lot of promotion for you, provided you work hard for them too. As a representative for companies you may become one of the faces of their brand and be able to speak at events they host or sponsor and train others so I recommend to stay loyal to them.” Mr Humzah advises that practitioners should carefully consider who they work with.
“Work with a company that you believe in and never compromise your integrity – always be professional and true to that. Remember that the company has an agenda and you need to be prepared to work within that while still maintaining your boundaries,” he explains.
Bennett and Mr Humzah have been very active in both entering and judging industry awards such as the annual Aesthetics Awards. Bennett explains, “Entering awards can really up your profile and I have found that they can make a big difference both personally and for your clinic amongst both your peers and patients. It draws attention to you – if you win a category such as Aesthetic Nurse of the Year it brings opportunities that might not have come their way before. Even being shortlisted is a great achievement too.”
Mr Humzah and Bennett note that becoming a judge can also help with your professional profile as judges will be promoted on the award body’s website and social media. Again, many people will often get approached to become a judge, but sometimes it’s up to the practitioner to actively show their interest and demonstrate why they are of value and suitable for the role.
Although being well known in the specialty can present with many advantages, practitioners should be mindful of certain challenges. “Don’t think for a moment that having a profile is all sunny,” Bennett emphasises.
Mr Humzah notes that when you have a high profile, you are more exposed to criticism. He says, “You will be challenged when giving a talk for example, but dealing with this falls back to your knowledge base and keeping up with the latest new ideas, studies and what’s happening in the sector.”
Bennett adds, “Some people within the aesthetics industry can be unkind – especially on social media rather than face to face – and I have experienced it a number of times. Regardless of if you believe you are doing the right thing, remember that not everybody thinks the way you do. You need to recognise that you will face this challenge and I find that having my good loyal friends in the industry by my side helps me deal with any negativity.” Mr Humzah acknowledges that sometimes difficulty arises in maintaining your profile and being consistent.
He says, “I think people need to be careful of being a ‘butterfly’ in the industry – people who flutter about with different companies or groups of people one week, then they are with someone else the next week. This might get you a quick overnight profile, but there is no consistency and I think they risk becoming famous for being famous!”
Mr Humzah adds, “It’s also important that you maintain a degree of professionalism, which can easily slip the more comfortable you become. Remember, it’s very hard to build your reputation but very easy to lose that in one night.” Bennett emphasises, “You must never forget you are a medical practitioner before you are a salesperson. If you are going to be taken seriously in this industry – or specialism – by your peers then you need to maintain a medical focus.”
Mr Humzah and Bennett both agree that although there are some ‘overnight stars’ in the field, having a high profile usually follows hard work over a long period of time. Bennett says, “Just be genuine and work hard. Becoming an expert takes time, and you should focus on an area of practice you are genuinely interested in spending time on and are passionate about and then share that with the community – I think you will then get a lot of opportunities.”
Mr Humzah concludes, “You have to be who you are and stay true to yourself. Doing what you do well will get you noticed. Then, remember you should be ready to grab the good opportunities that come your way.”
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