In a recent Stanford study on body language, researchers have discovered that we can predict both the ability to learn and level of creativity using body language analysis. The Seven Second rule is quoted so frequently that it appears in Forbes, Business Insider and the Association for Psychological Science as warning that impressions can be made in the blink of an eye!! Personal branding isn’t just about how you look, act, and speak, your beliefs and even your mood influence the impression you make and how you will be perceived in the long term.
Personal branding takes your life philosophy (fundamental beliefs), personality (character, nature, temperament and psychological disposition) and aspirations (career, social, family, community), and turns them into something that is systematic and defined. And don’t kid yourself, even if you have never spent one minute thinking about your personal brand, you have one!! It is seen and felt by the people around you every day.
Reflecting upon what you wish to project to the world, and the type of person you are, is essentially the beginning of consciously establishing the image that reveals your personal brand. It guides decisions about the kind of impression you will leave in the mind of others.
Your brand keeps you on course. It informs your image, the impression you make and what impact you want to have on the world around you, consistently. There are 5 basic steps to develop clarity about your personal brand and to be consistent once you have defined your brand. Defining a strong personal brand allows you connect with people who will respect and trust you. Here’s how:
- Build a story that fits you and addresses something in your market
- Think about what you would like people to say about you in the future. Imagine yourself at your own funeral and consider what you would hear at your eulogy. Once you know how you want people to remember you, you can create goals to build your life, actions, relationships, and contribution around that vision.
- Create a strong personal vision
- Think about what makes you unique and where your talents lie. We waste enormous amounts of time trying to get better at things that we will never completely master or that we may not even like to do. Find the things that you love to do; that bring you real delight and that leverage your skill. Staying in this sweet spot of skill and enjoyment brings energy and inspiration.
- Determine your target market
- Whether you are positioning yourself for that next promotion, looking for support for a project or trying to win the team over to your point of view, we are all ‘selling’ ourselves, or our ideas, every day. Take a look at the people around you. Who are you helping and who is helping you? Once you have defined your career, and life goals, it should be quite easy to determine who you want to include in your circle
- Determine how to connect with your target market effectively –over and over again
- Once you know what you are ‘selling’ and who you are selling to, it’s time to ensure you connect regularly. People trust and have confidence in people they know and respect. A great way to build a solid connection with your market is to ensure you are providing value each time you interact with them. Considering what is important to them and how you can help them realise their goals will allow you to build a strong and authentic relationship.
- Monitor and Manage
- Finally, it is important to remember that no matter how well you have defined your personal brand and your target market, you, and your market, will change over time. Think about how you will monitor and manage your personal brand so that as things change, you evolve consistently and always stay in touch with your tribe.
Personal branding includes how you dress, move, interact, and present yourself. And it must be congruent with your self-image – both current and future. It doesn’t matter how great you are at your job, or if you excel in a specific area. Defining your personal brand can be a great help in realizing your hopes and aspirations… and getting noticed. Developing a personal brand helps you make a conscious decision about who you are and how you wish others to see you – whether that is for your job, career or social life!! Personal branding allows you to see how you fit in your organisation and to highlight your contribution.
There are so many benefits to taking the time to brand personally, but one of the most important to me is that branding makes me sit down and reflect upon my actions, belief, and who I want to be. It requires me to take a long hard look at who I am.
So what is your story? What impression do you want to make on others? What impact do you want to have on the world around you? When you look in the mirror, do you see the person you are? The person you aspire to be? The person you wish others could see? Set your goals today and then walk, talk and dress to fit your Brand, and pair that with your ‘elevator pitch’ that expresses to the world who you are and the difference you make.
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