At this time of year, we witness every imaginable emotion, from anger at baggage handlers stealing from checked luggage, to exultation at the courage of fourteen year old Malala who faced the Taliban and didn’t let them stop her from changing the world for the better. We are barraged with a range of stories and incidents including the famous people we’ve lost during this year, to the heights of human accomplishment.
How do we bring this broad scope home into our hearts, to our personal brand? What does it mean about who we will be in this coming year, and how we will move forward with our own personal message? I say, forget about those specific resolutions, i.e.: go to the gym, take vitamins, and water the plants more often. Start the New Year focused on how to make your personal brand approachable, accessible and understandable by your public, your readers, recruiters, hiring managers, clients, customers. It has to be clear, simple and represent you completely for everything that you are: a multifaceted, fallible human being who can be brilliant, passionate, motivated and generous.
Make sure all your materials, resume, blogs, websites tell that same story. Practice that story of you so that you are comfortable when meeting new people, or speaking in front of a group. Let it jump out of you and into the other person’s head. Remember the old diagram of communication, A says something to B, but B understands it as X instead of the message that you thought you were sending. Make sure your message conveys what you want it to say. Engaging others and building trust is about you being consistent over time in what you are, what you are doing, and how they can count on you. If you can convey that consistency in your brand, people will flock to you.
Now that you’ve got your message down, start planning your attack! Take a look at the calendar and commit to at least one to two networking meetings a week. Try to vary the types of meetings, for example some might be with small business, others might be seminars or webinars. Take advantage of all those invitations you receive. Go out and join two new groups with different focus from what you’ve joined in the past. Mix it up! You won’t meet new opportunities attending the same meetings with the same people every time. Volunteer in a completely new area, and try a non-profit organization. Commit to writing an article to demonstrate your expertise for any one of a number of trade journals, or even a posting to a group on LinkedIn as a way to put some substance behind what you’ve said on your resume. There are hundreds of sites looking for content, what are you waiting for. Resolve to be the real you and let the world know about it in 2014, that’s what personal branding is all about. Happy Personal Brand New Year!