Do you have a professional brand? Can you talk about why your brand is so strong or great?
Yes? Great, I’m sure you’re very successful.
No? May I recommend you keep reading…
I encourage people to introduce themselves to others and connect with them by leading with what they do and deliver, not their job title. Why? Well, it was a change I made a few years ago and the results have been astonishing.
OK, so some people were impressed with “I’m a people productivity and workplace culture consultant” but most just looked at me with a blank face or blatant disinterest. I get why. It’s too complicated.
It means nothing to THEM, the people I’m trying to connect with.
Now, I say, “I help people be happier at work” and the result is very different. Every time I’ve said it (no lie), I’ve had a reaction. It sparks curiosity in other people and usually kickstarts a conversation. Why?
Because THEY can relate to it. They know what being happy – or unhappy – at work feels like. It’s personal. It’s meaningful. And so, we spark a connection.
Admittedly, my opening is sometimes met with “Really, are you a magician?” or “We could do with you at my company, it’s dreadful there”, but at least there’s an exchange and an opportunity to move the conversation in a more positive direction.
So, how did I make the change? And how can you do it?
It starts with noting down:
– who you are: what words you would use to describe yourself. Ask people for their ideas too, to gather vocabulary (and insight)
– what you are: your job/area
– your expertise and strengths: think about your superpowers, the things you do really well and do better than others. Summarise your expertise and what makes you good at what you do
– the impact you generate: the problems you solve and the benefits that brings to people and organisations
– your values: what’s important to you in your professional world and why?
– why you love what you do: what does it give you?
The data that comes out of this reflective exercise gives you framework and language to start playing with.
Then, ask yourself – what happens when you do what you do? What’s the (desired) result?
It might take some time to find the right definition and the right words but keep playing until your concise, clear brand statement options surface. Talking it through and out loud can lead to lightbulb moments! Then test a few options on people you trust, get feedback and pick the best one.
I accept that we need to talk about what we do and my second line when I introduce myself is exactly that. My third is how I do it. But I don’t ever lead with those now.
So, what does your professional brand say about you? Is it compelling? Is it meaningful to other people?
If you’d like help to explore how to define your brand and come up with a pithy one-liner, why not try a session of Career Therapy? Please get in touch for a free initial chat about how I can help.