The 3 Rules of Personal Branding

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You know who they are…

They are the people who walk into the room like they own it. They have the right answer for every question and won’t consider any others. They never let you finish a sentence and they can always “one-up” you. When they leave the room there is a palpable sense of relief.

Clearly, this person doesn’t have the most effective brand. In fact, even though this person probably has never given any thought to the importance of personal branding, he or she certainly has one! This is a good example of…

Rule #1 of Personal Branding: If you don’t brand yourself, others will do it for you!

How about you? Have you considered the brand you’re projecting? How do people remember you when you leave the room?

Personal branding is integral to your job search success, but even more than that, personal branding is pivotal to long-term career success. Really understanding who you are and what unique value you bring is the first step in creating your brand.  Who are you? What do you stand for? What makes you unique? What are you passionate about?

Consider an exercise where you are asked to introduce yourself without stating your name. What would you say? To effectively introduce yourself, what information do you need to know? Does the audience you are speaking to influence the way you introduce yourself? Imagine first introducing yourself to a CEO of an organization, and then to a friend-of-a-friend.  Are your exchanges different?  How so?

Rule #2: Your personal brand message delivery and content must be tailored to your audience. 

Just like an expensive sports car, you comprise various characteristics and abilities. In forming your introduction, you could share any combination of these. To leverage each encounter you should not only adjust your non-verbal cues (including your attire and body language) but also your verbal ones (including speed of speech and intonations). It serves well to remember that only 7% of a message is received by the words you use. 35% comes through verbal cues and 58% via your non-verbals. If you want to be well received, pay attention to how you are delivering your message!

Even though you may have more than one unique value that you are bringing to the conversation remember that you don’t have much time to make a good first impression. Start off with the quality that is of interest to your audience. The CEO is more interested in learning about your business acumen than about what you do for fun.

Rule #3: Protect your brand!

Personal branding is an ongoing process in which consistency is critical. Suppose your organization has committed itselfto a stringent standard of ethics. Likewise, you also consider yourself to be a highly ethical person. The fact is that even just one unethical mistake on your part can shatter that brand.Good brand management is proactive in conducting damage control. This is especially true in the social media space. There are numerous tools you can use to scan how you are being perceived on the web. Use them! And if you find a problem, tackle it directly.

Final thoughts:

Lest you are now saying “I am who I am and I don’t care what others think about me,” consider the results of studies found in the Likeability Factor by Tim Sanders: likeable people have better health than others, outperform in daily roles, and were recommended for fast-track promotions and generous pay increases! Likeability as defined by Sanders is the ability to create positive attitudes in other people through the delivery of emotional and physical benefits. Likeability is a feature all of us should incorporate into our brands if we want to be remembered in a positive, impactful way when we leave the room.

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