I entered the room – somewhat late – okay very late. Everyone, (a small group as it turned out to be) was sitting around the speaker in a semi-circle. He paused mid-sentence, acknowledged my interruption, all eyes turned toward me, and I’d made my grand entrance. OMG – how embarrassing and I almost hyperventilated for the next ten minutes thinking, “How can I run from the room?”
Not the impression I wanted to make and of course I should have turned up on time and done a host of other things to help me and them feel a lot more comfortable. We run, run, run from one thing to the next instead of just taking a moment to … pause. Consider what you could do to make a (good) grand entrance in the months ahead as we head into the second half of the year.
Pause. Six months of the year nearly done and dusted. You’ve perhaps set some goals or at least an intention of what you hope to achieve this year. Take a moment to revisit those intentions and focus on one. What is the “one big thing” that would make a major difference to your life – whether work or personal. Focus on achieving that. Something else will always get in the way. But if you need to make one thing happen – be at that one place at a certain time – make it your intention to do it.
Impress. Make your mark and ensure your brand collateral, images, website, social media profiles and the like are an impressive insight into your personal brand. Is your LinkedIn photo and profile truly reflecting your brand and expertise? Does your Facebook cover photo need a new look? You want to leave the right impression on your clients, customers, employees, media, any page visitors and of course YOU.
Invest in you. Your style and image play a major role in how you express your personal brand. Go through your wardrobe and get rid of anything that doesn’t serve you well anymore. Start afresh with this new season and begin to build a wardrobe to enhance and express an image you'd like to project. Balance your individual style with clothing that will appeal to you but also appropriate for the work you do. Update other items outside of work – new active wear or sleepwear. Even a small purchase will revitalise you, your look and how you feel.
Network. Get out there. There are plenty of networking events on in every town and city now and they are a wonderful way to get to know others. Don’t think of networking as prospecting or an uncomfortable way to meet new people. It is about meeting like-minded people who you can build rapport with and perhaps eventually a working relationship. Be part of your industry association and go along to conferences and regular meetings. You will always learn something from these encounters and as a bonus build awareness of you and your brand.
Know what to say. At a networking event or a meeting introduction know how to answer the question, “So what so you do?” Come up with a short sentence that is about you, what you do and how you help others – your clients or customers. Try out a few ways of saying it until it feels right for the various scenarios where you may need to introduce yourself. When you are out and about networking, let more of the authentic you come across – in a mindful way of course. Proudly share your accomplishments and put your opinion across. Ask others about themselves and listen to their stories. Business manners and social skills are the ‘little things’ that count.
Upbeat attitude. Personal branding in my opinion is about making the most of who you are – changing what you can – and accepting what you can’t. Learn to identify your positive qualities and project the positive side of you. Often, we don’t realise how we come across to other people and for many of us the issue is generally how we feel about ourselves – our self-image. Our self-esteem influences our behaviour, actions, moods and relationships with people. To lift yourself out of any negativity, think back to a time when you nailed it, received an award, gave a great presentation or won a piece of business and hold your head high.
Say thank you. Be grateful for every step forward toward your goal. Often, we are our harshest critic and think that one step backward means stop. Pat yourself on the back or give yourself a small reward whenever you make a positive move in the right direction. Keep building on your successes. And remember to thank other people who may have assisted you on the way.
Learn more about how to project the positive attributes of your personal brand in my free video series Your Nook, Look, Hook, 3 Steps to Build a Stand Out Personal Brand
Sue Currie is a speaker and the author of IMPRESSario, Present and Promote the Star Within You. She is passionate about helping business executives and entrepreneurial professionals elevate their personal brand, image and professional presence. Sue’s suite of services delivered through workshops, consulting, coaching and keynote presentations provides a multi-faceted approach to gain high transformation for her clients.