Personal branding is a way of establishing and consistently reinforcing who you are and what you stand for in your career and life.
Everything you do either strengthens or dilutes the personal brand you’re trying to create.
For good or bad, every day, every interaction, every word, every face expresion defines who you are, and what people think about you. After doing some research and weighing in my personal experience, I found that there are short and long term ways to build your personal brand.
In this post, I am focusing more on the short term personal brand builders and listing long term for you to think about.
Before you start taking action, you have to define your value proposition.
Short term personal brand builders:
1. Communication strategy: what language will you use? While technical terms are great to explain specific situations, my recommendation is to keep your language simple. If you are looking others to see you as an expert, you can find ways to explain complex stuff in simple words.
2. Social media strategy: your personal brand goes beyond your work environment. The great deal about social media is that you can share other aspects of your life, in a casual way. Great way to show that you are not only business talk.
3. Attire: define how you want others to see you. Whatever you choose, my advice is on the clothing itself. Always clean, ironed, with no holes or rips. I recommend staying away from clothing with big slogans or showing brands. Be a trend setter!
4. Practice your pitch: always be ready to ask questions to other people and use the FORD method (Family, Occupation, Recreation, Dreams). Having a great conversation is great, because then others will be interested in knowing about you (and your business)
5. Be visible: Don’t hide!!! Show up in office common areas, be a little loud, own the room! (see more about this one from a previous post here
Long term personal brand builders:
1. Say Yes To Relevant Opportunities: One way to shape your professional reputation is to engage in projects, roles, or initiatives that strengthen your desired identity. Actively seek out and volunteer for high-profile roles and assignments where you can demonstrate your new brand in action.
2. Speak At A Conference, or team meeting: volunteer to share a project update at an upcoming company meeting or conference that reinforces an area of expertise you want to be known for. Ask to go to conferences, make connections with organizers to participate in different activities.
3. Ask One Question At Every Meeting You Attend: be that person in meetings. Don’t do question overload, but be visible. If you don’t say anything or ask anything in a meeting, others simply won’t notice you, and you certainly won’t be building a reputation for anything other than being the “quiet one.”
I recommend you asking a relevant question related to your expertise that helps deepen the discussion or clarify a particular topic.
4. Network Internally Beyond Your Immediate Team: Use your time in the office wisely. Watch the leaders in your organization, they are not shy. You shouldn’t be either. While certain days it is okay to be by quiet by yourself, use your time to talk to people and get to know others. Keep your name relevant… you never know when a succession planning conversation will happen, and your name needs to stay fresh at all times.
I recommend you almost never eat lunch alone (see earlier post here), assign time on your calendar every week to walk around and talk to someone new.
5. Network Externally: One of the best ways to amplify your personal brand is to leverage the reach of journalists, influencers, and industry leaders.
I recommend you serve on boards, engage with other industry leaders and journalists. Join relevant groups and make connections. Engage in both online and offline communities.
In summary, as stated earlier in this post – if you don’t define yourself and promote yourself a certain way, others will. Take control of your life and career!