I found this article about branding. I thought it was interesting because kids (and many adults!) don't think about the perceptions they are giving to others about themselves. When I look at pictures posted on line I often wonder, "What were they thinking?"
As I work to put together a presentation for kids I am keeping these ideas in mind.
5 Keys to Building Your Personal Brand
Posted: 05/20/2014 12:37 pm EDT Updated: 07/20/2014 5:59 am EDT
I talk about personal branding a lot and I have a whole chapter in my book dedicated to it,
because it matters. As we know, many of us think that if we just keep our head down and do
the work, that all else will take care of itself regarding our careers. But as many of us also
know, that's often just not true.
One of the key aspects of our career that really matters is your personal brand -- which is
essentially how you choose to present yourself. Everyone has one. Many people don't know
what their personal brand says about them; and few do something positive to build it,
enhance it, and leverage it to support their career success. I am still surprised by how many
people think they don't even have one.
So what does your brand say about you? What do you want it to say? Building a successful
personal brand starts with knowing yourself. Here are my top five tips for creating your
personal brand and enhancing it so you can achieve your dream level of success (whatever
that looks like for you).
1. Be authentic
Many branding experts will tell you how to shape and craft your personal image to within an
inch or your life. Think about politicians who are melded and moulded until they are exactly
what they believe their constituents want them to be. This may work in politics (a point no
doubt we could argue on) but I have rarely seen this work as a sustainable career strategy --
or certainly not for anyone who actually wants to be happy at work.
You need to develop your personal brand in light of who you actually are. Look at your
strengths, your likes, where you shine, how you like to dress etc. When you strip away the
mask, who are you really, and how can you show up in a way that allows your true authentic
self to show through? That is the essence of your personal brand, and the only essence that
you want to build on. Fake it till you make it is not something you want to project when we
are talking about your brand.
2. Make sure you can 'be you' where you work
Once you have worked out who you really are and therefore what your personal brand
should be, the next step is how you bring your full and authentic self to work everyday in a
way you can flourish. If you feel confined, constrained and like you just don't fit with how
you are expected to show up in your work, then here is a hint -- you may be in the wrong
job. So have a think about your passion, purpose and reason for being, and see where it
leads you. You may need to make a change to truly thrive at work.
3. Be known for something
To really shine, you need be clear on who you are, what you want, and you need to harness
and build your skills and knowledge. The key is to not only build them, but to become
known for them, in a way that differentiates you from everyone else. It's not just enough
that you know what you know -- others have to know that you know it. This is how you
become a thought leader or an expert. And remember to be specific. If you think you can be
known for everything, you run the risk of being known for nothing at all. Get clarity, build
your deep expertise, and then you can become known for it.
4. Get your behavior in check
Many of the things that are critical to building your brand are not about knowledge, they
aren't about how you look, and they aren't about how firm your handshake is (but yes, firm
is always best). A huge chunk of being well regarded is actually about behaviors. I cannot
stress this strongly enough. What you are known for is as much about how you do what you
do, as it is about what you actually do. So think about things like being kind, being
respectful, showing up on time, listening to others and not being a gossip. Behaviors matter
-- big time. So focus on mastering yours.
5. Build and own your personal brand online
How you show up online is just as important (or maybe even more important these days)
than how you show up in person. It can literally make or break you, in terms of others'
perception and your reputation. If you haven't done a Google search on yourself recently,
then you need to do one. Knowing what is out there on the web when people are looking for
you, whether it is a future employer, a new manager or a client, is critical to managing your
brand. Think about your social media presence, your personal website or blog, how and
where you comment online, then look at what you are saying and how people are
You have a personal brand whether you like it or not. Think about how you show up, how
others perceive you, what you know and who knows it, and what your online profile says
about you. With all that in mind, you will have gone a long way in building a brand that
works for you.
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