Every contact, every touch point such as e-mail, voicemail, phone calls you make, and your social media footprint creates impressions that build your brand and image. As mentioned in last week’s blog, I believe we need to be mindful of the ABCD’s of our personal brand management. A is for appearance and B is for behaviour or gravitas which also come under the umbrella of executive presence.
Here is last week’s post Here Are Four Tips to Help You Project Brand Presence.
This week we look at the C of communication.
As business professionals we can spend just about all day at our desk without actually saying a word to anyone. Yes, we are communicating – however, it seems that most communication is online.
Are we in danger of losing that ease of just chatting to someone, having a conversation, or more importantly putting our point of view across in an engaging manner? Perhaps we haven’t quite come to that scenario yet as many of us are busy constantly setting up appointments, meeting new clients, networking and making connections with a number of new people.
Effective communication is important when building relationships with clients, potential clients or customers, colleagues and also the media. A stimulating conversation or well-told story may be the most interesting part of a meeting, presentation or media interview. Even witty small talk with a potential client can evolve into a new business deal or project.
Here are a few communication and conversation pointers to keep in mind.
A first impression that invokes confidence always includes your best communication tool; your smile. Steady and direct eye contact is also great for connection.
Connection and communication is also about listening – giving others your undivided attention. In conversation it is important to ask questions but also really listen to the answer. The 80/20 rule applies. You do 80 percent of the listening and just 20 percent of the talking. Most people will think you’re a great conversationalist if you let them do most of the talking.
Listen closely and think before you speak. Don't interrupt, let the other person finish their thought before you make your comment. Listen attentively, make good eye contact, smile and of course laugh along with their witty small talk.
Before going to an event, business or social, be prepared to discuss items of current interest including books, films, television shows, or current events.
You can find your next conversation starter by reading at least one daily newspaper, weekly news magazine, or watching a morning news show.
Practice the five words that help create and maintain small talk conversation Who, What, When, Where and Why to form open-ended questions.
Beware of being a pushy promoter. We’re often so passionate and excited about our business or latest project that we talk too much and over sell ourselves.
Take the time to get to know others first. People don't care about you and what you do until they know you care about them. Build relationships and trust first.
In business everything you do and communicate creates impressions.
Next week we will take that one step further and look at the D of your digital communication.
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You can also learn about the 3 Steps to Build a Stand Out Personal Brand in my free video series, NOOK, LOOK, HOOK. Find out more.
Sue Currie is a speaker and the author of IMPRESSario, Present and Promote the Star Within You. She is recognised as a leading authority on personal branding to boost image, profile, brand and business. Through her professional development and profile building programs, workshops, consulting and keynote presentations, Sue helps businesses and entrepreneurs position and present an influential professional brand.