It’s that time of year when you’re measuring your success for the past twelve months and thinking about your goals for the coming year. While you’ve been pondering what you want to accomplish and how you want to be rewarded for your hard work, I’ve been reaching out to members of my brand community – The Reach Personal Branding Master Strategists – to get their best advice. They shared these ten time-tested tips for building your brand and expanding your success. Interestingly, their pointers (along with a couple of bonus tips from me) fall into two categories: self-awareness/authenticity and visibility/building relationships. Integrate these words of wisdom into your personal branding strategy, and put your career in the fast lane. Happy 2014!
Self-awareness and Authenticity
Effective personal banding is all about being your true self – and your best self – always. Here are some tips for increasing your self-awareness so that you can get clear about your brand.
- Become a neutral observer of yourself. Watch your actions, interactions with others, and how you present yourself. Ask yourself, “Is this on-brand for me?” Susan Chritton, Pathways
- Uncovering your personal brand involves introspection to identify the values, passions, and talents that make you stand out. But don’t forget your story. It’s a powerful way to connect with key people who are seeking someone like you – someone who is relevant to their needs, interests, and goals. Tell your story in a compelling way. Walter Akana, Threshold Consulting
- Writing your ideal job description is one of the simplest, most powerful exercises you can do to advance your career. Include more than just tasks and responsibilities. Incorporate company revenues, size of the team, culture, values, salary, benefits, and other details. You’ll be amazed at the results once you have this clarity. Larry Boyer, Success Rockets
- Never let anyone else define you. Although getting feedback from others is a great way to monitor your blind spots and enhance your brand, feedback is very different from a label. There are many good-hearted, well-meaning people who will try to define you using their frame of reference and experience. When they try to impose their definition on you, perhaps choosing traits that are low-risk, they may overlook your uniqueness out of concern for your emotional well-being. Stand firm. Your traits may seem awkward or different to them, but you know what makes you unique and what drives you. Only you can define you. Randi Bussin, Aspire
- William’s tip: Work your quirks. Know what makes you unique and integrate it into everything you do, every day. You’ll distinguish yourself from your peers and be memorable.
Visibility and Building Relationships
Business is about relationships. Here are some tips on growing your network and nurturing relationships.
- If you work in a large building, expand your network by taking different routes when entering and leaving your office. Use the opportunity to reconnect with people you know and introduce yourself to people you don’t. Project the happy, friendly persona of someone who is keen to network. If you’re seeking a future role in a different department of your company, ensure that this department is a regular visit on your flight path. Richard Andersen, Managing Partner, Point Ahead
- Practice empathy. Develop the habit of trying to understand something from the other person’s perspective. Susan Chritton, Pathways
- Never be so arrogant as to reject someone’s offer to help. Instead of turning within, gather the abundant resources being offered by others. Many people will offer to help, which gives them the opportunity to showcase their strength area – usually in a task that would take you a tremendous amount of energy and time to do yourself. You’re not imposing on someone who offers to help. Accept their assistance with an enthusiastic “Thanks!” Maria Elena Duron, Buzz to Bucks
- It takes a village to empower success. Be sure you have an “unofficial” board of directors to help mentor and guide you. Because they know you so well, they can also become your ultimate brand ambassadors! Randi Bussin, Aspire
- Integrate a personal (appropriate) photo into the end of your emails showing you doing something you are passionate about. Each month, change the photo, but be sure it is on-brand. The positive comments you receive are fun to read and will serve as reinforcement of your brand. Cheryl Berrington, The Berrington Group
- Are you invisible? In today’s increasingly virtual world, your online bio is a substitute You – and if it doesn’t capture the real you, you ARE invisible! So get gutsy. Kick out the corporate lingo and create a bio that reveals the real you. Replace tired jargon with your true voice, and pair your career history with content that brings to life your passions and interests. Your new 3D Brand Bio will sing with magnetic authenticity and propel people to want to know more about you. That’s good branding! Deb Dib, Executive Power Brand
- William’s tip: Personal branding is not about being famous. It’s about being selectively famous. Know your target audience – the people who are making decisions about you and those who will impact your goals. Focus most of your brand-building efforts on this important group. You will squander your efforts if you try to be visible to the whole world.
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