If, as Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos says, “your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”, then your personal brand is built from the thoughts, words and reactions of other people. Therefore, if you want to take control of your personal brand, you have to manage how your present yourself publicly. To a large extent, this is something you have control over and talking your way to the top is easier than you might think.
There are 5 ways to boost you communication skills to benefit your personal brand.
1. Market your personality
Personal branding is, in essence, selling someone your personality. The way you act helps shape your brand, so you should project a powerful, identifiable personality so people can easily feel they know you personally, even if they’ve never met you.
That doesn’t mean you need to develop a new personality – remember how important authenticity is? But, rather, it means you need to learn to present yourself to your advantage. Are you kind and enthusiastic, like American comedian Stephen Colbert? Are you witty and raw, like TV host and political commentator, Rachel Maddow? Are you confident and crusading, like TV presenter Glenn Beck? Be yourself and be clear about what that is. Authenticity is key.
2. Put work into how you look
Making an effort with the way you dress and groom yourself doesn’t just speak volumes about who we are and how seriously we taking our profession, but also tells other people what we think of them. Dressing smartly and appropriately suggests you feel those you’re coming into contact with are worth impressing and that you respect them.
3. Be present and active on social media
Social media is an unavoidable part of growing your social media brand and, if you haven’t got a presence across at least a few key channels – think Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, for starters – you need to download some apps and cultivate some communities right away. The benefits to your personal brand are numerous; it helps people to feel they know you, it allows you to communicate with people 24/7 and to create and share good quality content, including videos, artwork and images.
But, there’s also a flipside to social media; be warned that many potential employers or contractors will check you out online – and what happens online stays online.
4. Network all the time
They say “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, and that makes networking one of the most valuable things you can do for building your personal brand. Build relationships with diverse people who are making waves and consider what you can do for them. Really getting to know as many people as possible not only makes you better know among the movers and shakers around you, but puts you at the forefront of people’s minds when opportunities present themselves.
5. Speak up
Speaking up is making yourself visible. Take any opportunity to give speeches and to speak up in meetings with your ideas; people need to hear you as well as see you in order for you to be memorable and credible. But, don’t make the mistake of speaking up so much you neglect to listen; be sure to value other people’s opinions and to encourage them to express theirs.
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