Personal Branding Image Consulting ,Atlanta
Behavior is a mirror in which everyone displays his own image. - Goethe
I have two pre-teens. Not since they were "two under two" have they been as difficult as they are now. Yes, their current erratic behavior, emotional outbursts and appalling lack of interest in grooming are due to their surging hormones, but there is a consolation. I am frequently complemented by other adults on how kind, confident and polite they are. I always respond with a secretly amazed "thank you", then wonder if they perhaps mistook my kids for someone else's, because who my kids appear to be in public are not the 11 and 12-year-old I observe at home. I constantly remind them: there is only one you, behave like you want to be remembered all the time, not just some of the time.
Does your professional behavior reflect the real you and the image you want to project?
Behavior is another obvious expression of self that impacts your image and demonstrates to others who you are. Behavior includes manners, etiquette, and body language, but these aspects of behavior are teachable and coachable. Many times habits, lack of manners-training, social awkwardness, or lack of confidence prevent individuals from behaving appropriately in many business situations at the detriment of their image. There's a misconception that manners and etiquette are too formal, pretentious and class-driven. Consider them instead as commonly observed methods and practices to help people feel comfortable, included, and considered. There are many books and professional behavior training courses that cover business meal etiquette, telephone etiquette, meeting etiquette, note writing, and cell-phone etiquette, as well as, the physical expression of confidence in terms of body language. It is imperative to have good manners and practice proper etiquette in all aspects of your personal and professional life, but ultimately it is your core values that influence your behavior first.
Human behavior flows from three sources: desire, emotion and knowledge. -- Plato
As you have identified the core values for which you want to be known, consider this: does your behavior reflect your core values? Say you desire be known as an influential team member--generous and knowledgeable. Does your behavior speak to those qualities? There are actions you must take and behavior you must engage in to BE that for which you want to be known. For example, being influential requires that people trust you. How do you garner that trust? Are you honest and authentic in your communications? Are you emotional and show passion about your subject? Do you take a position and stick to it? Do you engage others with your knowledge for their benefit, so that they become educated and inspired to share your message? You will not be influential if you have wishy-washy tendencies. Think about the many politicians whose positions on an issue "evolve"--another way of saying I changed my mind. It is very hard to trust someone who wavers in their affirmations and core beliefs.
I invite you to challenge yourself by considering the many times you have honored your core values with your behavior and the times you did not. Be honest with yourself, then BE that for which you want to be known.
--helping you express your most authentic self
As I explained in the introduction of this series last Wednesday, there are four elements that I refer to as the ABCD of a personal brand: Appearance, Behavior, Communication and Digital Presence. These are not only important for making a positive first impression, but imperative to our lasting imprint--that for which we want to be known. Since image is visual, the first aspect I will discuss is Appearance and how people perceive us.
Appearance includes our clothing choices, fit, quality and grooming. A professional appearance is not only important when trying to make a positive first impression, but must be considered every day as we dress for work. Appearance is imperative to one's lasting imprint. Everyone understands that who you are, what you think, your performance, and your values ultimately define you, but the fact exists that we ALL have biases about appearance. In fact, we make up our mind about someone within the first seven seconds of meeting them.
The first determination we make about someone is their trustworthiness and competency. "That, from appearance?" you ask. A recent study, conducted by Harvard social psychology professor Amy Cuddy, confirms that when we meet someone, we first evaluate their trustworthiness and second we determine their competence. There are nine other attributes that we consider within those first seven seconds including intelligence, socio-economic status, and sexuality--all determined by a first impression.
We owe it to ourselves to be the best we can be--from the inside out! We don't want someone to stop at the distraction of a wrinkled shirt, a jacket that is too tight, scuffed up shoes, an ungroomed face or a blouse that is too low. These faux pas can give the impression that we are lazy, sloppy, incapable of details, lack confidence, are unintelligent, and more. Iconic designer Coco Chanel said, "Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman." Of course this applies to both men and women. Our appearance can help people see our core values--who we really are--by helping them get past what's on the outside and get to the nitty-gritty good stuff inside. We want to invite people to come in and get to know us authentically. Don't let your appearance be a distraction! The goal is not to be remembered for what you wear, but who you are, what you said, your ideas, and your actions---that for which you want to be known.
Last week I asked you to come up with three things--core traits or values--for which you want to be known. Did you write them down on a sticky? Grab that sticky and contemplate how you express those three adjectives in your life and work. Does your appearance reflect those values and traits? Or does your appearance distract people from truly seeing who you are?
"helping you express your most authentic self"
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I write about the topics that make you stand out and help you be that for which you want to be known. My passion is helping you as a professional, discover your values and your inner style and project them authentically and confidently though your words, actions, appearance and digital presence.