One of the nuggets of Emotional Intelligence is that our emotions stand between the data that our senses absorb and the rational part of our brain that processes this data. We know this instinctively, unconsciously. How we react to a message has a lot more to do with the messenger than the message. If we like the messenger, we are receptive to the message and allow it free passage to the rational part of our brain to process and absorb. Conversely, negative reactions to the messenger block or distort the message.
In light of this, it is important to consider what others “see” when we interact with them. Is there a green light? Do they react positively and give the message free passage?
The image that we convey as a messenger is our personal brand and everyone has one. Without even realizing it, we are projecting an image to others that is a personification of our internal values, principals and beliefs. As an example, think of your best friend. Now describe this friend using only 5 words. Repeat this exercise thinking of a co-worker that you don’t like. Chances are that neither of these people consciously developed their brand. Yet they have one.
How do you want others to see you? Take an active role in shaping your personal brand – in the image that you convey both verbally and non-verbally. Here is a basic roadmap for getting started:
- Who you are is more important than what you say or what you do. Core principals, values and ethics shine through. What core principals resonate with you? To get started, a simple internet can provide numerous lists on this topic. Narrow the possibilities to a personal top 5 by reviewing times when you were the happiest, or times when you were the most proud, or times when you were the most fulfilled.
- Consider who you want to be. Who do you admire? Who is your role model? What core principals do they personify? How can you “own” these same principals? How can you reflect these principals honestly and authentically?
- Craft appearance, mannerism and attitude in support of your brand. Visible appearance is important. So too is verbal communication and a positive mindset. Determine the role that profanity, complaints or gossip plays in your brand.
- Be consistent. Your personal brand will shine through in every role you play – at work and at play, with friends, family or business associates. It is not possible to have a brand for business that is different than your personal brand. Lack of consistency leads to lack of clarity.
- Write it down and reassess. Write yourself a personal statement about your brand and periodically reassess to ensure that your message is being delivered.
Too busy to develop your personal brand? You already have one – you just don’t realize it. Choose to be proactive and develop a consistent brand that will enhance your message, when ever and where ever it is delivered.