With the prevalence of social media, no longer is your personal brand separated from the professional. Interestingly, when researching this topic online, the vast majority of the themes and threads related to branding focus on Social Media, recruitment, and your online image.
There may not be much difference between personal and professional branding. Your professional brand is what matters to a potential employer, networking contact, or anyone who can help you find a job or grow your career. It’s more than a case of making sure your personal brand reflects who are as a person. It’s also making sure that the information available about you online is visible, available, and relevant – to where you are in your career and where you want to go next.
Personal and Professional Life
Broad access to Social Media and technology has contributed to the limited separation between how we are seen in our private and business roles. Either way, it is your personal brand that is the baseline for other people’s perception of you. The challenge is that the two very much work hand-in-hand. Both matter, of course. But only as much as your ability to genuinely portray yourself in such a way that people respect and relate to.
Competence, beliefs, relationships, politics and other variables affect your ability to build a strong brand. You do not have control over every one of these inputs. But, you do have control over developing a deeper set of skills when working with, influencing and communicating with others.
Your personal brand is key to how others see you. This includes behaviours, communication, influencing skills, leadership capability and similar attributes. How you make people feel is so very important to building and sustaining a strong image and brand.
Building a strong image
There are no shortcuts. For those of us who are serious about the perception, we create with others, the sincere and purposeful approach to working with people matters in all that we do. People cannot fake the building of a strong image.
You must deliberately influence the messages you are delivering. When coaching and working with my clients over the last decade or so, I have learned a few things about perception and brand and here are my 5 top tips.
Focus on what you can control
Don’t be obsessive about it. You cannot and do not need to try to influence every person’s view of you. It is impossible! So, focus on what you can control.
Understand different perspectives
Empathy is a very important trait and skill. Take into account other people’s perspectives. The ultimate empathy position is applied when you step into another person’s shoes. Standing where they stand, seeing what they see and hear what they hear. Understanding other perspectives and points of view assist you to garner their support and reaching mutually beneficial outcomes. Related to empathy is the ability to possess a giving and caring nature.
Know your values
Know your values. However, understanding why they matter so much to you provides the most beneficial insight. The connection between values and branding is strong.
Communication: make your point clearly and listen effectively. Listening and questioning are two of the most under-utilised skills when building trust and respect. However, deep and effective communication skills are essential in leadership, relationships and building a strong personal brand.
Improve yourself through self-development. The best way to sustain a long and worthwhile career is to never stop learning. Be active in seeking development opportunities through relevant new networks, existing relationships, and membership associations.
Developing your personal brand requires effort and desire. The first step, however, is to recognise that you have a brand. Once identified, the benefits, confidence and value gained is a powerful combination.
Now is a good time for your to consider how others see you. Take a few minutes to consider, what is your personal brand and does it represent all that you would like it to?
Image courtesy of Depositphotos
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Steve Riddle has a career spanning over 25 years across multiple industries, primarily in leadership roles. Prior to forming CoachStation and within coaching, advising and consulting roles since, Steve dedicated over 15 years to driving business improvement, transformational and cultural change within many industries and organisations. Previous roles have included Head of Customer Service and Complaints for Toyota Finance Australia and National Customer Experience Leader for GE Money.
Steve is recognised as a values-driven leader and coach who has the strongest desire to assist people to turn what they know into what they do.