I was recently undertaking a training session for a client of mine with a room full of new managers.
When I say new managers, I mean young and inexperienced, but eager to make the right impression and take advantage of new opportunities. The downside to this enthusiasm was that their soft skills were lacking and we needed to get them up to speed, and we needed to do this fast!
There were many things I wanted to go through with the team but I wanted to start with them as people first – their style, how they want to be viewed as leaders and their personal brand. This confused them, after all, what does Personal Brand have to do with being a good leader? The answer is EVERYTHING!
Personal branding is essentially the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group, or organization (Creating Your Personal Brand – Los Ellis 2009)
In basic terms, this means: What is it that you want people to think of when they think of you? Is it your expertise in a subject manner? Is it the way you treat your staff or your communication style? Is it your confidence? Are there general qualities you want to be linked to you and your brand?
Whether you are managing and/or working with teams or meeting someone for the first time, first impressions count and are formed within 7 to 17 seconds of the initial meeting! So your style, confidence, body language, and speech are all vital to making a good first impression.
When meeting someone for the first time, I want you to consider these points:
55% of a person’s opinion is determined by your physical appearance, including the way you carry yourself, your stance and your style.
38% of a person’s first impression is determined by the tone of your voice.
93% of people’s judgements of others are based on non-verbal communication like body language; posture, facial expressions, and how you shake hands with a person (women included).
Whilst we now have very famous CEO’s and leaders of business rocking up to work in their Adidas, Jeans, and T-shirt (think Google, Snapchat, Facebook, and AirBnB) how you present yourself must align with the industry you are in and the role you play within that space. Jeans and sneakers are not going to cut it in the Banking and Finance industry (even on a Friday), but nor is a three-piece suit appropriate for the Head Office of a Surf Retailer.
In the famous (or infamous) studies conducted by Prof. Mehrabian, words, the tone of voice, and body language respectively account for 7%, 38%, and 55% of personal communication. When conversing with people, it’s not so much of what you say but HOW you say it (and how this is reflected in your body language).
Social media has also EXPLODED in modern business so how you project yourself in this space can make or break the opportunities you have in your professional life, whether meeting a new client or recruitment opportunities. How is your Personal Brand represented in business sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter? Is your photo appropriate to this
How is your Personal Brand represented in business sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter? Is your photo appropriate to this area; do you have a relevant bio about your background, skills, and experience? Who do you want people to see? As a person who recruits staff for clients, LinkedIn is the first place I go when reviewing candidates and I have not proceeded when I have not seen something that excites me or aligns with the role or the experiences noted on a CV!
As a person who recruits staff for clients, LinkedIn is the first place I go when reviewing candidates and I have not proceeded when I have not seen something that excites me or aligns with the role or the experiences noted on a CV!
So, whether you are a leader in business, an up and coming team leader or attending a job interview, you MUST consider your personal brand and the environments and situations this will be the view to ensure it aligns with how YOU want to be remembered.