- Who & Why?
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.
In my coursework about personal brand management, the emphasis is always on finding our uniqueness so that we can stand out from the crowd, be credible and then make money and be happy. Otherwise, how would you and your business ever get noticed and get work.
However, I also like to harp on the concept of sameness. This concept’s foundation is in A Course In Miracles. In particular, I love the phrase “Make today different by seeing everyone the same”. The belief is that if we all saw one another as the same (no less and no more), then we could relate better to others and create harmony rather than tension and animosity and hate.
Does this fly in the face of uniqueness and am I crazy for preaching out of both sides of my personal branding mouth? Well, not at all.
In my opinion and expertise doing this work for years now, here is how it works: the more you recognize that at the end of the day, we are all the same regardless of our external shapes and sizes and personal brands, the more you will be able to express your uniqueness as a contributing factor to make the “whole” of society better and more prosperous and joyful. In other words, our personal brand uniqueness can be used as a vehicle to bring harmony and light up our sameness rather than highlight one person’s strength while putting down another’s weakness.
Try this methodology on for size and see your world and personal brand strength change for the better. Email me if you have questions.
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.
I recently had a corporate client point out to me a very interesting observation. She works for the CEO of a very large corporation. The CEO is all about corporate culture and having the brand of the company match the personal brands of all employees. However, it seems that this concept- and the brand- is stuck at the top of her organization with her CEO.
What does that mean? Well, even in organizations where the CEO is forward-thinking and understands the relevance of personal branding and managing to your organization and employees’ personal brands, things go awry. In this case, the CEO’s office established the “rules” around the brand and culture. The problem became having management and their direct reports implement and cultivate this brand and culture.
What good is brand and culture, if there is no follow-up to make sure everyone: 1) understands it and 2) applies it to see benefits? In other words, it is not enough for the CEO and upper management to be aboard the personal branding train.
So what does this mean for you? Well, even if you run a small business or are an employee- look around. Is personal branding and brand management really understood with clarity across your business? Is that knowledge then applied with consistency across all employees so that we all get the same feel for what you do for a living? If not, take a step back and see if the personal brand and brand overall got ‘stuck at the top’ somehow. You don’t have to have a large organization to have a problem with concepts being stuck at the top. There must be a plan to have the branding message filter down and span out to your target market- regardless of your size or position in any organization.
Inherent to the personal branding process is the ability to be able to know your uniqueness, own it and let others know it. Of course, if this was easy to do everyone would be an expert at personal brand management, have more business and be happier in general.
Yet, as I always say, we find that people have a hard time being outstanding and shining brightly AND letting others know it. Inherently, the problem is low self-confidence. Therefore, we become “closet professionals” as I like to call it. We go around hoping someone will somehow notice how great we are, like us and then hire us.
Last week I had the pleasure of hearing a speech by Edith Ramirez, the Chairwoman of the FTC. She spoke at a local female lawyers luncheon. Ramirez is a bright and capable lawyer, having been on law review at Harvard with President Obama.
At the heart of her talk was the concept that women and minorities are not good at marketing themselves, or tooting their own horns. She highlighted how an essential part of being a good attorney is having self-confidence, something we directly measure for our personal branding clientele. If you are not self-confident about what you do, clients will feel it.
Ramirez stated that it is ok to say, “I’m good. Hire me!”
So how good are you at saying, “I’m good. Hire me”? Do you have self-confidence and passion around your profession, be it a lawyer or otherwise? If not, why not?