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"
As an image consultant the first piece of advice I impart, before I even discuss professional attire with a client is--be that for which you want to be known. Be all the core values that make you who you are and show that you are a valuable asset to your company. When you give your very best self, you become known for that -- in all of life, not just work. This effort starts with creating a positive first impression then goes way beyond that and becomes your lasting imprint--that for which you will be known. It is not just the Oprahs, Zuckerbergs, or Bransons of the world that make lasting imprints. We all do. We all have unique gifts that when discovered, developed and used in the best way, can leave positive and lasting imprints in our personal, professional and communal lives.
Image is so much more than your selection of clothing. You know the colleague who is always on-the-ball, organized and sharp or the friend who is positive and energetic no matter the circumstance. You also know the negative nay-sayers who are skeptical and critical. This is their core being at work. So when I begin work with a client, we start from the inside out. Image is about your tone, attitude, communication style, behavior, and manners. It is about every way you express your core values and your inner style. It is also significantly about how you choose to represent yourself digitally. You control your message, so what do you want to say?
I ask some initial questions: How do you want to be perceived? What do you want to be known for? The answers are not always easy, nor are they fast-coming. Once someone takes the time to ponder their purpose and how they want to be perceived, the focus of our work together is to develop and manage their personal brand to reflect their purpose, image and that for which they want to be known.
There are four aspects to image development that I work on with a client: the ABCD of their image and "personal brand", including Appearance, Behavior, Communication and Digital Imprint. In this five-part blog series, I will discuss in greater detail each aspect and I'll explain why it's important to manage each of these areas.
Next week, I will start with Appearance. If you plan to follow this series, I'd like for you to do some soul-work/homework. Select three words that best describe you and for which you want to be known. Next week I will explain why and how your Appearance is important in reflecting your personal brand and image.
"helping you express your most authentic self"
Choosing the right gift for your boss or co-workers does not have to be difficult! Just follow these Do’s and Don’ts to make shopping stress-free. The kind of gift you give depends on your relationship and the work occasion. Is this gift part of a secret-Santa or game exchange, or is it specifically intended for a certain person? Either way, keep the gift non-gender specific and impersonal--but I don’t mean unthoughtful.
THE DEFINITE DO’S
AND THE DON’TS…
Actually, any boss at any time, feel free to give your employees an iPhone watch.
The point of giving a gift is to express your gratitude with something that says “I saw this and I thought of you.” Be thoughtful, be thankful, and be appropriate.
Often, our first encounter with someone is online--through one of our social media platforms, an email, or on our website. The first impression you make may actually be digital. You want to be taken seriously as a professional and expert in your field, but do your digital platforms and communications offer a positive and authentic first impression? As soon as they land on your various sites someone considering conducting business with you or considering you for a position will quickly know if they want to engage. Pew research shows 93% of hiring managers will review a candidate’s social profiles before making a decision.
Consider the digital avenues you use as part of a marketing campaign that promote your personal brand. Do your website(s), social platforms and digital communications authentically reflect the person and professional you are and give the impression you want to make?
Conducting a regular, scheduled audit of your social media content is vitally important to your personal brand.
There are five things to consider when auditing your digital presence: function, images, content, compliance, and form.
1. FUNCTION: Start by making a list of your social media platforms. What social platforms do you use—and why? Do they serve your purpose? For example, if your Facebook page is intended to be a business platform, is it overloaded with personal content that is irrelevant? Create a chart of all your digital outlets, then check off the list as you conduct your audit. Review each platform's purpose, frequency of posting, the images on the site, and of course, your grammar.
Personal Business Hobby Frequency Images Grammar
Facebook X X Weekly X X
LinkedIn X Bi-Monthly
Instagram X X Daily
Twitter X Daily
Pinterest X X Weekly
2. IMAGES: Review all the images on your social sites. Tweets accompanied by an image are more likely to receive engagement. Do you post with images? If so, are they appropriate content for each of your platforms? If your Facebook page is used as a professional content site, then an image of you in your pajamas on Christmas morning is not what your visitors want to see. A picture of you and your team at the office "ugly sweater" holiday party—sure.
You can add levity and humanity to your social media sites— not TMI.
Are your profile pictures consistent across your platforms? They should be. Use a professionally-taken profile picture on LinkedIn, and on any platform that is used for business or promotes your expertise. Using a professional picture consistently let’s your digital visitors know they arrived at the right place. Using a photo that is also referenced on your website creates consistency across your media platforms, elevates your professionalism and confirms you are purpose-driven. Since you control your personal brand, make sure you are the only one that can post photos on your pages.
3. CONTENT: Do your social media outlets direct viewers to your website? Media Marketing guru, Jay Baer refers to your website as a brick and your social media platforms as feathers. The purpose of these feathers is to provide bits of information that make those engaged visit your brick-- where they can explore your content and expertise further and deeper and hopefully become a customer.
Make sure your website address is apparent on each social platform.
On your personal social media platforms, make sure to avoid any references to sex, drugs, guns and alcohol. If you are hoping for positive engagement, or to be hired, these topics are poison!
4. COMPLIANCE: Are you presenting yourself as a thought leader and expert in your field? Is all your content copyright compliant? If someone else wrote it, credit it!
If someone else thought it and it inspired you, reference them.
If you generate a significant amount of original content, Cision offers a white paper, "The Professional Communicator's Guide to Copyright Compliance & Fair Use," that can help you understand how copyright affects your brand.
5. FORM: Grammar matters. Spelling matters. Language matters--in all of your marketing materials, social sites, email communications and on your website. Grammatical errors reduce the quality of your posts and diminish you as a reliable and professional source. According to Richard Knobbs of K Creative, the perception is, “If they can't take the time for a spell check or some editing, they probably won't take time for their customers.” So to put it in the profound and simple words of Marketer and Author, Suzanne Evans,
“The way you do anything is the way you do everything.”
Slow down. Edit. Use spell check. Reread. Read again. Post.
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.