All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘nonverbal communication’

Relatability Part II: Great Brands Are Basic


Over the years I’ve learned one thing for sure.  I’ve learned that because we are human, we tend to complicate everything…constantly. In particular, in my world of brand development I watch clients struggle with their brand and how to relate to their clients and prospects.

I’m guilty of the same thing, so I really get it.  For years, I struggled with how to tie in the fact that I was a former, successful securities lawyer with being a people branding/marketing expert.  What the heck did one have to do with the other and why would anyone believe me?  What if people thought I was a fraud? Worse yet, was I a fraud?  It wasn’t until I really came into my own “being” a branding expert that I got that the two careers/concepts can co-exist very well.  I realized that being a securities lawyer was a very natural basis for being a branding and marketing expert.  Guess what- others believed it, too.

Just the other day, I had a client who used to be a super-star college football player.  His career was on such a course for success that the media talked about not “if”, but “when” he was going to get drafted and by whom.  Fast forward 15 years later and he is not playing football.  He is in professional services. His big struggle: there is no relating my past as a football player with my work in professional services.  He was frustrated.

So I just asked him to start telling me about what a typical football game was like for him and what his methodology, or state of mind, was on the field.  As he started to talk, a curious thing happened: his eyes lit up, he became animated, he sat up taller and had real clarity and conviction- and dare I say….confidence!  The next thing that happened was even more fabulous- he naturally took my nonverbal cue and started to tie in his mentality for success on the football field with what he does for his clients right now.

It made perfect sense to me. His explanation and analogy was relevant, easy to follow and left him very relatable for me.  I got it, I got him, I got his brand, and by extrapolation I could see that his expertise on the football field made him an expert in his current occupation.  I liked him and related to him!

So what does this mean for you?  Always go back to what you know best and make it relatable to your current situation/career/audience.  Don’t get hung up and make things complex- keep it simple.  Just because football and professional services are not often viewed together does NOT mean that you are not relatable in tying in your expertise in both areas.

For example, do you love to cook? Maybe you are even really an expert at cooking, even if your “day job”/career is being a lawyer.   Start tying in your ability to cook with your ability to be a great lawyer. Just start talking about the latest dish you made and why. You’ll start to see that your mentality in approaching a situation (i.e., your brand value) is what’s valuable to both being a cook and a lawyer.

Anytime you go back to the basics of your expertise and love of anything, you can become easily relatable to clients and prospects in your current field.  

How’s Your Follow-Up?


We are always amazed at how little people put into follow-up.  By follow-up I mean following up with prospects, potential partnerships and, in general, with people we meet at networking events.  It’s as if the moment is too fleeting for people to ask for a business card, take notes on the back of it and then follow up with that individual in a day or two or even, ten days.  What’s worse is that the implications on your personal brand by not following up are disastrous- not to mention the countless amount of lost business and connections.

I test this theory out all the time.  In fact, I’m getting ready to test it now.  I was just at the Women’s Business Enterprise Council (WBEC) West conference that came to us in San Diego. I met tons of people, as usual.  I have my list of people I will follow up with in a day or two.  My follow up was based on those I connected with personally, found good potential alliances,  and those who asked for our services.

I’m waiting to see if any of the people who asked for my card and said they would be in touch, will actually reach out to me or not. My theory is that only 30% of those people will reach out to me. It’s not personal at all if they don’t reach out- it is just bad business and poor personal brand development.  If I were to follow-up with those same people, I bet they would be more than happy to reply, but the point is that they miss the opportunity to be the pro-active ones who reach out first.

So what is follow-up, anyway?  Follow-up does not mean adding someone to your mailing list and spamming them. That is the surest way for me to dismiss people.  In fact, I really get upset when I show up on someone’s newsletter list and I didn’t subscribe.

Follow-up means sending a personalized email recounting details of the meeting between the two of you and requesting action between the two of you as a result. The action should be something along the lines of a “reunion” of sorts over lunch, coffee, etc. Better yet, follow-up can also be via a phone call, if time permits.

So don’t just waste your time attending events and conferences.  Follow-up with the folks you meet and establish connections so you can strengthen your personal brand.

So what is your most effective follow-up technique? 

Keep Your Thoughts Private & Your Personal Brand Fabulous


I was listening to a Sunday service yesterday where the lecturer was talking about how nice it is that our thoughts are not projected out loud.  Then she asked a question that made me laugh, but also made me think about the personal branding work we do.  She asked us if we often show our thoughts externally to others.

So I started thinking.  How often do you walk down the street and see people reflecting their thoughts to us all?  Some people mumble their thoughts out loud for us to hear.  Others literally show up in life visually reflecting their thoughts- for good or for bad.

You may ask, “How do they do this?”  There are so many ways, but let’s just take one- our eyes.  The eyes are the gateway to the soul, they say.  So how often do your eyes tell us exactly what you are thinking?

I was in a meeting a few weeks ago. It was boring and the people were acting in a way with which I completely disagreed. Apparently, I was “thinking” out loud through my eyes.  One of my colleagues was gracious enough to lean over and tell me she was reading my discontent through my eyes.  I was so grateful for the feedback.   I immediately fixed the problem:  not only did I change my gaze, but I changed my thoughts regarding the meeting.  That’s the only way it would work.

Because I had changed my perception and thoughts about the meeting, I was able to change my gaze, posture and entire outlook regarding the meeting and the participants.  After that, any thoughts that you read via my eyes and “being” were fabulous for my personal brand because I was happy, engaged and a willing participant.

So next time you believe you are keeping your thoughts and opinions to yourself,  look again.  Are you really keeping your thoughts private or are you reflecting your thoughts externally to us all?  In order to resonate joyfully with your audience (ie, the world) and have a fabulous personal brand, watch your:

-thoughts, above all else

– eyes


-facial expression

-intonation (vocal, email, text)

Watch Your Body Language Over The Phone!


Your effective personal brand is in large part about how you communicate who you are to your target market and clientele.  Given that 78% of all communication is non-verbal AND given  that we spend so many hours on the phone selling and working, having effective body language and posture over the phone is just as critical as having effective body language during an in-person meeting.

When we are going out to see clients or prospects or to a networking event, we spend time and effort (hopefully!) on our visual appearance.  We take time to (hopefully!) give ourselves a pep talk and get ready to be “charming”.  However, people notice and pay attention to your phone voice and tone, too.   So why shouldn’t you spend time getting ready to make phone calls, too?

Your posture and how you feel about yourself as you make or take a phone call speak volumes to the other party on the call with you.  I’ve run many experiments to test this theory. We’ve had people answer the phone in a less-than pleasant mood, while slumped over in their chair wearing pajamas.  The party on the other end of the call often times remarked concern and asked, “Is everything ok? You sound not well.”  Is this how you want to be remembered on the phone?


  • Dress the part- while you don’t have to wear a suit to make a phone call, ask yourself if you’d be happy to be on a visual call while you are on the phone.  If the answer is “no”, then your phone voice and tone will resonate that same lack of self- confidence to the other party over the phone.
  • Smile as you talk.  Your smile will transfer non-visually into an effective personal brand for you over the phone.
  • Sit up straight in your chair as you talk on the phone.
  • Give your full attention to the party on the other line.  Shut down your email and do one thing at a time so you can do it well.
  • Uncross your legs so you are grounded and feel stable as you speak.
  • Listen and pause- don’t do all the talking.


Communicating With Aggressive Customers


As a business owner or employee, we all have this problem sooner or later: a customer becomes aggressive, and even hostile, during a business interaction or negotiation.  What should we do?

First, I can tell you what NOT to do from my years of personal experience and observation of others in action.  Rarely does it work to interrupt the customer and offer up reasons as to why they are wrong.  I see this technique happen all the time with my clientele when I am working one on one with them.   My clients often tell me they feel the need to try to stop the customer and make them feel better by giving them the correct version of what happened.

The problem here is that by doing so you are: 1)angering the customer even more because you have interrupted their rant/rave 2) offering up what sounds like poor excuses to justify screwing up, leaving a very poor personal brand of yourself for the customer and 3) showing the customer that you are not able to “confront” them and have an intelligent conversation with them.

When you encounter an aggressive customer, I recommend you do the following:

1. Realize this situation is NOT personal to you- the customer isn’t aggressive with you.  They hardly know you. They are aggressive with the situation and you just happen to be the face of the situation upon whom they can vent. They don’t know you. They don’t know you are a kind person and on their side.

2.  Allow the customer to fully vent or finish their cycle of aggressiveness- Of course, this makes sense so long as they are not physically threatening you. But 9 times out of 10, people just want to be heard.  If you just allow them to be heard, you have given them 90% of what they need and want in that moment.

3. Acknowledge their reason for being aggressive- no matter how nuts you think the customer is being, remember that to them their aggressiveness is very real and right. They may go home and realize they were a jerk, but in that moment they feel hurt and thus, aggressive.  Realize this fact and say something to acknowledge them as humans. It could be as simple as saying, “I totally understand how you would feel this way”.  This statement doesn’t mean you agree with them, but that you get them.

4.  Look them in the eyes and don’t let your gaze drift- holding your own and being able to confront a situation means being able to be with a person in that very moment and looking them in the eyes. I’m not saying stare them down. In fact, that is exactly what NOT to do. But looking with compassion into another human’s eyes, immediately deflates any tense situation. Non-verbal communication is at least 78% of all communication. So by holding a steady gaze, you are saying volumes without saying a word. In fact, a firm and compassionate gaze sets you up for a completely effective and confident and strong personal brand.


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First, Know Yourself So You Know What To Market.