- Who & Why?
Category Archive for: ‘first impression’
Ever stop to think about how much your thoughts shape your world? Most of us tend to never even stop and think about our thoughts. We are too busy doing our “thing” in life.
Consider the fact that on the Internet I read we have anywhere from 50,000 to 80,000 thoughts a day. How in control of your thoughts are you? Do you think it matters to the overall scheme of your life- to make money, get rich, retire wealthy and then finally “be happy”?
In this post, I ask you to consider that your thoughts impact your everyday behavior and interactions with others. As such, your thoughts impact your personal brand tremendously.
For instance, if you are running around like crazy because you have so much on your “to-do” list, the odds are you have random (and maybe not so random) thoughts flying through your head. If you never stop to assess the situation here’s what we likely see- a frantic, out of control, less-than credible person running around trying to get their life in control. On top of it all, odds are you are likely cranky or unhappy- with friends, family, colleagues, with yourself and with the world.
So try this challenge on for size: For an entire day try to be as aware as you can of every thought you have. Then quickly assess: if you met someone who didn’t know you, would they want to get to know you and then hire you based on your thoughts? Put yourself in our shoes and try to imagine what we all see when you are “thinking” and running around. Is it a personal brand you want to own?
For more on this topic, stay tuned for my interview with Byron Katie on June 19, 2014.
In my line of work, we are always studying perception value: that of clients’, their target market, the public’s, etc. We do this in an effort to be able to accurately gauge, and thus control that almighty first impression. You know the moment, even if you want to try and forget some of the not-s0-good ones you’ve had. It’s all about when you first notice someone- from across the crowded networking room or at a meeting. Do they “sit” well with you or not? Do you “like” them or not? Do they look smart and credible or not?
So what exactly equals a good first impression? Is it something we can quantify somehow so we can recreate the success formula over and over again- or at least know when we don’t see it?
A litigator was recently lamenting to me about a jury trial she was involved with. She was really upset because she had lost the case as the prosecution, but not on the merits, in her opinion. The jury had said that they did not find the defendant to be the harasser (ie, guilty) because he had been “nice” to his wife in the courtroom when he had opened the court gate door for her. So in essence it appears, at least on first blush, that the jury was more swayed by the defendant’s demeanor towards women, ie being a gentleman, rather than the evidence.
Lesson: first impressions go a long way, even in jury trials. It’s all about that first impression we form that we just cannot shake, despite the facts to the contrary even sometimes.
In my opinion, first impressions are a moving target because you cannot predict the mindset of the audience who first perceives you. However, you are firmly in control of how YOU want to show up at first and the energy and personal brand you want to lead with when you meet new people and leave first impressions. If you believe you are doing and resonating your best self and best personal brand, then we will all get a fabulous first impression from you. As humans, it is not always conscious processing we go through to get there, but nevertheless we consciously know and feel the end result- whether we like you and want to get to know you better or not.
SO GO OUT THERE AND MAKE A FABULOUS FIRST IMPRESSION AND COME TELL US ABOUT IT.
Have you ever wondered if people really care what you do for a living? I go to so many events where people stand up to introduce themselves and lead with what they do- “I’m a lawyer, I’m a dentist, I’m a CPA, I’m an engineer”. Blah blah blah.
Do you really think that you will captivate us, inspire us and have us remember you this way? In a world where it seems every other person is a coach, lawyer, doctor, accountant or engineer, who really cares that you are one, too?
So a few days ago I posted a video from a few years back by Simon Sinek where he explains the reason your “why” is so much more important than your “what”. I love this video because it helps me explain why your personal brand is so important. Even better, Simon’s video articulates my entire personal branding mission and work so well.
The point is that your “why” is the sweet spot. It is where I get to have that emotional connection with you. If I “get” your why immediately, then your personal brand is optimal: I remember you, I feel a connection to you, I am inspired by you, you seem credible and I’m much more motivated to get to know you….and hire you or refer you or promote you.
The reason most people do not lead with their “why” is because they do not know their why. Often they are so involved in the substantive work, they cannot be bothered with superfluous stuff like the why. Or it is too painful to really look inside to figure out the why. I’m not going to kid you- we spend TONS of time in so many different ways with clients so that they can find, own and build a brand around their “why”.
So, what is your “why” around what you do? Email me your answer and I’ll help you develop it offline.
We are often preaching the personal branding concept that “perception is reality”. What we mean is that someone else’s perception of you is their reality and thus, correct- you can’t expect them to perceive you otherwise, at least not at first.
But the real inquiry is how do you perceive yourself. This is the starting point for our personal brand analysis because if you don’t know how you see yourself, then how can we alter your personal brand to serve you well.
It seems the entertainment industry is on board with this simple, yet powerful premise, too. I heard an interesting statement the other day on Anderson Cooper’s show. Actor Blair Underwood (remember him from LA Law?) was speaking of appearing on the new show, “Who Do You Think You Are?”. He said the entire premise for him is, “How you perceive yourself impacts how you present yourself.”
We, here at Puris Image, tend to agree with our actor friends. Your self perception plays 100% into how you present yourself and thus, how your personal brand is perceived by society. So stop and ask yourself a few of the following questions in order to identify how you perceive yourself:
- Would you hire yourself given the way you show up today- based on what you wear, what you say, the kind of service you give clients/customers?
- Do you perceive yourself as:
- knowledgeable/an expert
- truly about your clients’ best interest
- a “winner” or someone on the sidelines of life/your profession
Be honest with yourself when answering these questions- the truth does hurt, but leads to great places for us all. Let us know if you have any questions or need help with your answers.
Last Saturday night, my husband and I went to the Chris Botti concert again this year. For those of you who don’t know Chris Botti, he is a brilliant trumpet player. He was “discovered” by David Foster and has a growing fan base. He has a remarkably strong personal brand.
Botti not only plays the trumpet fabulously, but he connects with his audience in an amazing way via his instrument. Oftentimes for artists who play instruments, it can be a bit more difficult to establish a strong personal brand. The artist has an instrument coming between him and his audience so it is hard to make eye contact and stay connected. However, Botti manages to blend just the right amount of eye contact, conversation in between sets, and personal connection stories about himself, his band and his music. And of course, his music itself establishes a fabulous connection and brand to his audience. In fact, he always has his trumpet in his arms on stage, even when he’s not playing. That is all a recipe for a strong brand.
Botti always manages to have meaningful dialogue with his audience as a way to connect and help us get to know Botti the person and personal brand. Last year he told us how he left college in his last semester because he just had to go play with Sinatra’s band and follow his dream of becoming a famous trumpet player. Obviously it paid off. This year Botti made a point of discussing with us the importance of showing up well wherever you go and impressing your peers as a means of building success.
What this means for all of us is that having a strong personal brand comprised of the visual elements and the core value/integrity pieces is how you impress your peers. These peers then often serve as your referral base and source of contact to others who should and need to know of you and your personal brand. So go out there and impress your peers with your genuine and strong personal brand!