Your Personal Brand
We know that your visual image accounts for more than 55% of how you are initially perceived to the world but how does the entire package, which is you, add up.
There are five separate, linked areas that make up the ’you’ that you are.
From the above image, of the elements which make up your ‘Image’, ‘Your Brand’, the who that you are – there are 32 individual elements which fall into 5 separate categories and the 2 smallest elements of Appearance and Body Language will have the greatest impact on a person that you meet for the 1st time. Sadly, this means that your Reputation, your Communication Style and your Natural Presence, (which are more to do with who you really are) can be rendered irrelevant should your appearance and your body language be under par and unimpressive to the person with whom you are trying to impress.
From the minute we make our mind up about something, whether it is positive or negative we will find supporting evidence around us to agree with our decision.
Let’s say you decide you like someone at work. The next day, they are late for a meeting, you will forgive them. The day after that, they borrow your notepad, you probably won’t mind and the day after that they go to lunch with another person during the time they said they would cover for you. You might by now be starting to question their motives. The following day you hear them talking about you, you start to get suspicious and by the seventh day when they have taken your car spot, you now don’t like them.
Depending on the degree and depth of your like or dislike and your attachment to your feelings it can take anywhere from 7-15 touch points for an initial impression to be swung around to the opposite.
This is great if the person you have had dealings with decides that they like you to start with. You have a great deal of leeway to make the odd mistake as you move forward. Not an ideal direction to take, but it may not have disastrous results. Now should they initially decide that they do not like you, for whatever reason, you can be struggling to regain this lost ground. You have no room for error for quite some time.
Whilst I know it is what is inside that is important, it is your knowledge, it is your skills and it is or should be based on who you truly are and not what you look like that people judge you by. The sad truth is that the way you look, your clothes and your posture are what they will more than likely remember.
“People will not remember what you said or did, but they will remember how you made them feel”. Maya Angelou
Leave people feeling good about you and they will have good thoughts about you.
Let’s look at how you can impact people. Everything here is equally important to developing your personal brand. Never underestimate the value of your image, or over-estimate the value of your skills in the beginning. Everything balances out initially. It is with time that the non-visual will overtake and common sense prevail.
This is simply what you look like -exactly the same as judging a book by its cover
- Physical appearance – purely the way you look
- Clothing – the clothing you wear
- Grooming – your personal grooming, how you do your hair, the way you apply your make up, the way you present yourself.
Is the message your body is giving without you having said a word
- Mannerisms – these can be head tilts, foot tapping, any action that you make that is particular to you
- Posture – how you stand up and the way you sit in a chair.
- Gestures – are hand movements
- Facial expressions – expressions you make with your face
- Territory – the space around you, your territory is like your private wall. Some people allow people in and others keep people at the distance.
- Positioning – This is where you place yourself in a crowded room.
- Movement – This is how you walk and the movements you make when you are speaking
Nothing which can be seen – it is either heard or experienced
These other beliefs that other people have of you. If you are smart you will be in charge of the reputation is built around you rather than being the result of what other people are saying. As you will see, this area is judged on what you have done, can do and are expected to do.
- Visibility – what people see that you do
- Track record- what people know that you have done in the past
- Experience – what is your previous experience , it can be relative or not to what you are currently doing
- Qualifications -what you are qualified to do
- Ethics – what are your moral actions
- Values – what it is that you value in life
How you communicate is relative to the second largest element of a first impression. How you speak which allows for 38% of first impressions and includes the spoken and the written word. The written word is highly valued especially in terms of an application or email communication with a person you have not yet met.
- Speaking style -how you speak, the speed and depth of your voice. Voice – your accent
- Vocal variety -the amount of interest in your voice
- Language -simply the language you speak
- Writing style -your penmanship or your use of grammar and spelling.
- Listening style – do you actively listen to people you are speaking with?
- Thinking style – How do you respond to questions?
- Presentation style – How do you present your ideas?
This is the real you. It is very hard to fake this side of yourself for long.
- Natural self – this is just you being you.
- Rapport -do others feel comfortable with you
- Charisma – charismatic people draw other people to them
- Confidence – confident people are comfortable with what they are doing
- Self-assurance – self-assured people do not need others to tell them they are doing a good job.
- Self-esteem people with self-esteem do not need others to tell them they are OK
- Warmth – People with warmth make other people feel welcome
- Humour -People with humour naturally make other people laugh
- Etiquette -Etiquette is knowing how to act in any given circumstance so that you look in place as opposed to out of place
Don’t let yourself down by ignoring the little actions which initially could make or break that first impression. If you are confused or nervous about how you appear to others, contact Clare for an Image Management audit and make sure that you are known for what matters. Your skills.