Recently on a visit to my parents I answered the telephone – as you do – and my aunt at the other end started chatting . When I told her it was me she said “oh you sound so like your Mum”. Now leaving aside that she had every right to expect that a woman answering Mum’s phone would be Mum it is not usual for family members to sound like each other.
But when it comes to what you sound like in a business context it is really important to have your own voice.
We usually think about branding as a corporate thing – logos, adverts, taglines, catchphrases – but because so many of us have an online presence now’s the time to think about your “personal brand”. And this applies whether you have your own business or you are an employee. So what should you take into account?
Write like you speak
When I started writing by blog (you can find it here www.consultcameron.com ) I was delighted when business contacts told me that it sounded “just like me”. You would think that would be a given but some people choose to write in a corporate voice – and unless that is done really well it can leave the reader cold. We like to connect with the human side of people….
Be true to what you are
If you are normally thoughtful and considerate writing in a strident, confrontational way will confuse people. Decide how you want to be seen – and stick with it!
Speak up loud and proud
Speaking up – with your voice or in writing – for what you do well. The simpler and clearer the message the better. If you are tempted to try to add bells and whistles to what you want to say about yourself stop – read it as if you were someone who did not already know you – and then prune it back. This is really important in a job application!
So it’s all about me,me, me?
Well yes and no. Sharing and giving credit for other people’s ideas can give both parties credibility – you for spotting it and thinking it worthwhile pointing out and the other person for their insight and knowledge. Do this without expectation of something in return though to enhance your reputation.
Look for opportunities to speak up
If you would rather eat your own arm than offer to make a presentation now’s the time to change that and show your audience what you are made of. If you don’t speak up – and speak up for yourself – then even if others do they are only able to give their impression of you.
What makes you so special?
This question can easily be made to sound like an insult as in “what makes you so special”. But you really owe it to yourself to understand what is special about you to establish and build on your brand. Start by asking your friends, then your colleagues and maybe even your boss.
Time for Brand You
Hopefully your mind is now buzzing with ideas.
Why not take a look at www.facebook.com/speakupforyourself for regular hints, tips and links – and add your own comments so that we can hear about you too!