How do you present your personal brand at work?
What would you say if a visitor came to your office looking for you? The messy, short one? The one who is always busy and wears her glasses on her head.
How would a colleague describe you to someone in another department? She is a good project manager but never responds to emails. Excellent with technical stuff, but not great at people skills. Great to work with, but a little bit of an airhead.
This is Brand You. It’s how people perceive you at work (and outside of it) and how they form opinions about you. It would be easier to be more productive at work if we knew more about how impressions are made and how we can improve them.
Salma Shah, founder of Beyond and one the trainers at womenintechnology, was my interview subject. She is an expert on personal branding, leadership communication, and conflict resolution.
Salma, What’s a personal brand?
Your personal brand is your reputation’. How do people describe you to others? It is the emotional footprint you leave on others. Are you a leader, trustworthy, and successful person? Or are you creative, unorganized, and unassuming?
All aspects of the package include body language, posture, clothing, facial expressions, and accessories. Being authentic and being self-aware are the keys to building a personal brand that is successful.
The subconscious decisions that influence how others judge us are based on many factors. Many of us are highly sensitive to fake behavior. Faking it is a huge brand saboteur.
You must be true to yourself and then use your skills to make a better impression.
Ah, so I already have a personal branding?
Everyone already has a name and a brand. The question is: Are you in control? Your colleagues and friends already know you in a few words. Your’reputation’ is also your emotional fingerprint.
Are you aware of the way others perceive you? Are you sabotaging the image of yourself by being ignorant or naive? What supermarket would you choose if you were a supermarket? Waitrose or Lidl
OK. OK. Or the John Lewis Food Hall on Oxford Street. How can I improve my personal brand?
Yes, you can work on branding. What is your motivation for creating your personal brand? Is it a pressure to be like everyone else?
Is there an internal disconnect between what you are and how you are perceived by others? Is it time to improve your external image? Do you want to be seen as a leader, professional, and successful?
Maybe the changes you need are inside. Work on your confidence, communication skills, and how you communicate.
It can be difficult to make changes inside. How does it work when you offer courses?
Two camps have emerged from my experience running workshops on personal branding. The converted come to learn tips and tricks on how to stand out from the crowd. There are also the skeptics, who argue that it is unfair to expect people to dress differently or behave in a certain manner. I’m an expert in what I do, and it is what is inside that matters. My natural brilliance should be seen by others.
The workshop will end with the skeptics complaining about how they are constantly overlooked for promotions and feeling undervalued by their bosses.
Personal branding is a big part of how others view us. But that all depends on what we show. How I view myself at work is different from how I view myself with my friends.
People with a strong personal brand are more likely to have a clear sense of their private and public values. If possible, their public and private values are aligned to give them clarity, positivity, and purposeful confidence in all areas of life.
Personal branding is about communicating your key messages clearly and consistently through your appearance. Visual triggers are what make us human so reflect yours.