Many healthcare professionals are quietly involved with formal and informal groups ranging from Beyond Blue, World Vision, Cancer Foundation, Disaster Relief National & International, to the community free clinics. For various reasons, their work doesn’t garner much public recognition.

Although generous good works add depth to a practitioner’s reputation, it turns out that advertising a practitioner’s “prosocial behaviour” can backfire. Good deeds and a positive reputation are good, but it turns out that “bragging” can be perceived as selfish and a public relations and reputation no-no.

People often brag about, or advertise, their good deeds to others. Studies have shown that bragging about prosocial behaviour affects perceived generosity. Bragging conveys information about a person’s good deeds, leading to an attribution of generosity. However, bragging also signals a selfish motivation, a desire for credit that undermines the attribution of generosity. Thus, bragging has a positive effect when prosocial behaviour is unknown because it informs others that a person has behaved generously. However, bragging does not help—and often hurts—when prosocial behaviour is already known, because it signals a selfish motive.

Professional reputation and how you talk about good works…

How to recognise, or even publicise a practitioner’s philanthropic good deeds, is a delicate public relations issue in that it depends on how it is presented and perceived by others. Be cautious walking this line.

When “bragging” is taken as a grab for personal recognition, the motive isn’t seen as being generous, and reputation may take a black mark.

On the other hand, when “bragging” perhaps too strong a word in this context, is seen as marketing, it’s a matter of presenting information, and thus professional reputation scores a point for unselfish kindness.

It’s not what you do…it’s what you say and how you say it.

If you are a Chiropractor, Physiotherapist, Podiatrist, Psychologist, Osteopath or Health Specialist who owns their own practice or clinic and are looking for help with your practice or clinic then using Ideal Practice as your healthcare business coach is the first step.