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4 Ways To Safe-Guard And Grow Your Reputation
1. Never appear desperate in your self-defense against the slander of others
Do not let yourself get angry or defensive at the slanderous comments of your enemies, it reveals insecurity, not confidence in your reputation. Take the high road instead, and never appear desperate in your self-defense.
2. Sow doubt and spread rumors about your rival
An attack on another man’s reputation is a potent weapon, particularly when you have less power than he does. He has much more to lose in such a battle, and your own thus-far-small reputation gives him a small target when he tries to return your fire.
P.T. Barnum used such campaigns to great effect in his early career. But this tactic must be practiced with skill; you must not seem to engage in petty vengeance. If you do not break your enemy’s reputation cleverly, you will inadvertently ruin your own. Even if they vehemently deny it, people will still be wondering why they are so defensive. Barnum used this tactics to ruin his competition’s Peale’s reputation by sowing doubts about Peale’s museum stability and solvency. Doubt is a powerful weapon: Once you let it out of the bag with insidious rumors, your opponents are in a horrible dilemma. On the one hand they can deny the rumors, even prove that you have slandered them. But a layer of suspicion will remain: Why are they defending themselves so desperately? Maybe the rumor has some truth to it? If, on the other hand, they take the high road and ignore you, the doubts, unrequited, will be even stronger. If done correctly, the sowing of rumors can so infuriate and unsettle your rivals that in defending themselves they will make numerous mistakes. This is the perfect weapon for those who have no reputation of their own to work from.
3. If you go too far in attacking another’s reputation, it draws more attention to your wrongfulness than to the person you are slandering.
Thomas Edison, considered the inventor who harnessed electricity, believed that a workable system would have to be based on direct current (DC). When the Serbian scientist Nikola Tesla appeared to have succeeded in creating a system based on alternating current (AC), Edison was furious. He determined to ruin Tesla’s reputation, by making the public believe that the AC system was inherently unsafe, and Tesla irresponsible in promoting it. To this end he captured all kinds of household pets and electrocuted them to death with an AC current. When this wasn’t enough, in 1890 he got New York State prison authorities to organize the world’s first execution by electrocution, using an AC current. But Edison’s electrocution experiments had all been with small creatures; the charge was too weak, and the man was only half killed. In perhaps the country’s crudest state-authorized execution, the procedure had to be repeated. It was an awful spectacle. Although, in the long run, it is Edison’s name that has survived, at the time his campaign damaged his own reputation more than Tesla’s. He backed off. The lesson is simple—never go too far in attacks like these, for that will draw more attention to your own wrongfulness than to the person you are slandering.
4. Use humor or gentle mockery at your rival’s expense
When your own reputation is solid, use subtler tactics, such as satire and ridicule, to weaken your opponent while making you out as a charming rogue. The mighty lion toys with the mouse that crosses his path—any other reaction would mar his fearsome reputation. Once Barnum did have a reputation of his own, he used the fake hypnotism demonstration: He ridiculed his rival Peale’s reputation. He was extremely successful. Once you have a solid base of respect, ridiculing your opponent puts him on the defensive and draws more attention to you, enhancing your own reputation. Outright slander and insult are too strong at this point; they are ugly, and may hurt you more than help you. But gentle humor and mockery suggest that you have a strong enough sense of your own worth to enjoy a good laugh at your rival’s expense. A humorous front can make you out as a harmless entertainer while poking holes in the reputation of your rival. – See more at: http://48laws-of-power.blogspot.com/2011/05/law-5-so-much-depends-on-reputation.html#sthash.KBN1rsHk.dpuf