How Do I Create a Personal Brand?

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What words and images appear in your colleagues' minds when your name is mentioned? Do you think they are generally positive, negative or just indifferent? When someone has an idea or an exciting task, does your name pop up as the person for the job or is it always someone else who gets all the juicy stuff?

If you feel that you could do with improving your standing in the workplace, you can, by creating a personal brand.

A ‘personal brand’ informs your reputation. It refers to the way other people see you. Are you an expert in your field? Can you be trusted? What do you stand for? Are you genuine and authentic? When you have a positive personal brand, people will instantly have positive thoughts, images and words to say about you. Your standing in the workplace will improve and life's opportunities will become more accessible to you.

As a Soft-Skills Trainer with over 15 years experience I often meet people who would like to be more highly thought of at work and become someone who is first in the queue when the goodies are dished out rather than half way down the queue or even right at the back!

A very good friend of mine, also a trainer, uses a phrase which speaks volumes about how people view each other. He refers to some people as ‘atmosphere hoovers' These are people who have the ability to walk into a room and suck up all the positive energy, leaving everyone else feeling flat! You know the type – they arrive for work in the morning and the way they walk, the way their body is slouched and bent, the lack of eye contact, negative language they use ” Here we go again, can't wait 'til five o'clock” kind of stuff!

On the other hand there are the ‘flag wavers.' These people walk in with a spring in their step, upright and purposeful, catching people's eye and smiling using positive cheerful language. The kind of person chosen to carry the flag leading the team into the stadium! Are you sometime an atmosphere hoover or would you rather be more of a flag waver? Of course these are extremes and most of us are a bit of both depending on our mood and so on. The thing to remember though, is that people note the negative language, both verbal and non-verbal and they file them away to be recalled at a later date as part of their perception and especially when making decisions – both personal and business related.

The truth is it isn’t hard to change and creating your own personal brand is the first step.

First step – Do your research. Observe people whom you admire, look up to, respect. Write down a list of words, phrases describing these people. Think about the language they use, observe the way they sit, stand, walk. What is their attitude towards things in general? How do they dress? Do they have any specific items of attire they always wear? I'm not for one minute suggesting you follow these exactly however to give you an idea, Tim Wonnacott is always seen wearing a bow tie. David Dimbleby wears colourful ties – there is even a facebook page called ‘David Dimbleby's ties'!

I'm sure you get the idea.

Second step – Map out the new you. From your research start to plan your Brand Me! How you want to be perceived by others. Map out a composite taking into consideration how you will look, move, interact with people, the language you will use and so on. You will inevitably end up with a real mix of things however don’t worry, start to consider how comfortable you are with your new brand and how easy it will be for you to fit into it. Don't try and become radically different, it has to be something you can move towards with ease. In other words, learning to adapt your personal style when you become aware of the effect you are having on other people, while still being true to yourself. Behaviour and attitude change are what’s important, not completely changing who you are.

Third step – Live the brand! Start to put the new Brand – Me! into practice. Do it at a pace you are comfortable with. Take your time, allow the changes to ‘bed in' so they become part of the everyday you and appear natural and authentic. Accept any observations people make in a positive way and enjoy the attention you are getting. Start to truly believe in the new you, after all there is a simple balance you should aim to achieve:

Your self-impression = How people perceive you.

Courtesy of Accuity Training

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