By Lesley Everett (pictured), Personal Branding Consultant from Walking TALL. She is author of “Drop Dead Brilliant: Dazzle in the Workplace with Confidence and Panache”, McGraw-Hill - walkingtall.org
We all have a brand image whether we’ve consciously cultivated it or not – but what does yours say about you?
Is the perception that others have about you really what you think it is, what you want it to be – or, is it miles off message?
Your personal brand is what people say about you behind your back, it’s the words they use to describe you to others and it’s how you make others feel about you – just like a corporate brand or a product brand. We don’t always think about how others see us therefore our personal brand is often left to chance.
We are now in a business world where people represent a brand more strongly than any slick website or glossy brochure ever can. Therefore it’s time to take control of your personal brand and manage the perceptions of others more consciously.
Personal Branding is not just about creating a great image – a superficial image that doesn’t reflect your true individuality and personality will always be transparent and clearly be unauthentic. Creating a powerful personal brand goes much deeper than that.
We have developed a 7 Point Plan for Personal Branding, called 7 Big Strides to Walking TALL.
These tips are based on over 12 years of working in the corporate sector and looking at what executives and professionals need today to stand out from the crowd.
Stride 1 – Who You Really Are
What are your Personal Brand Values? These are your fundamental strengths, your individuality, your motivators and drivers, and your personality. Uncover what you’re outstandingly good at. Often we forget these personal values in a busy business world.
Now it’s important to get feedback from others on how they see you, in three words. How do these words correlate to how you see yourself? Are you happy with them?
The collection of perceptions from others is your brand, so make sure you manage the perceptions in a way that is authentic to you. Make sure people really ‘get’ who you really are.
Stride 2 – The First 7 Seconds
It takes just 7 seconds for people to judge us initially. We make an immediate impact on people from the moment we meet them and how often do people get the wrong impression of us? There are 3 steps to a first impression:
1 - What you look like
2 - What you sound like
3. - What you say
Stride 3 – Dress Like You Mean It
Style and grooming are the packaging of your personal brand. Do you present yourself in a way that invites trust and credibility as an immediate perception of your brand?
Your dress should be an extension of your personality and personal brand – what does yours day about you? Think about those smart casual days...
Stride 4 – Silent Indicators
Your ‘Body Talk’ can speak volumes about you. A genuine smile, a good handshake and positive eye contact are essential when you meet people. You will be judged on them. Think about the impact a weak handshake has – this will get in the way of projecting your true professional qualities and abilities.
Stride 5 – Speak Easy
What does your voice convey about your brand? Have you listened to your voicemail message, to hear how professional you sound? Never underestimate the potential power of your voice.
Stride 6 – Be Interested and Visible
Being interested in others will make you a more interesting person. A great way to develop social skills.
How visible are you within your organisation – do people really know who you are, or do others have to describe you in great detail for people to know who you are?
Having a great brand is not enough - it is important to manage your visibility within your organisation or target market to project your brand.
It’s not always about seeing people face to face – although that of course is important, especially if you work from home or send lots of emails – you can be visible in other ways.
One example might to be aware of other peoples’ interests and roles when reading articles in newspapers, magazines or on the Internet. Take a copy and send it to them with a small branded notelet and a message.
Getting great at presenting is another effective way to gain exposure and visibility.
Stride 7 – Each Time, All the Time
Consistency is crucial. For any brand to be 100% successful, it has to be 100% consistent. Think about those dress-down days once again!
Today’s the day to take control of your Personal Brand and start managing those perceptions, which in turn propels you towards greater success.
Lesley is one of a number of speakers on leadership, marketing and personal development appearing at a one day event, ‘Authentic Leadership – The Global Perspective’
It aims to provide senior level executives with the latest information on authentic leadership and diversity in today’s global market.
Topics will include:
· What is an authentic global leader?
· Uncovering, projecting and leading with authentic values
· Being a leader with integrity & inspiration
· Attracting a new generation of ethical consumers
· Unlocking the ‘rebel’ in you to reach your spirit, passion and purpose as a leader
· Attracting the best in future talent
· Being different and making a different as a truly authentic leader.
Just 100 places have now been released for this unique seminar, costing just £550 per delegate including lunch and refreshments.
To reserve a place, call Tel: 01344 427977, or visit authentic-leadership.info.
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