Photo Source: Ryan M.
By BRENDA BENCE
HOW is your personal brand? Are you presenting yourself in the best possible light? Are you making you the brand of choice in your career?
If you don’t believe you have a personal brand, think again. Just by virtue of being you in your career, you have a personal brand. It exists in the minds of your audience – the people who most influence your work life – in how they perceive, think, and feel about you.
Whether you have worked consciously on your personal brand or not, you may be making mistakes that can seriously undermine your career advancement. So, why not learn from the mistakes of others?
Here’s a quiz to help you determine if you’re committing some common errors that could set your personal brand back a notch or two. The outcome is that you’ll know exactly how to rectify the situation and keep your brand on track.
1. Do you work on less important, easier tasks before tackling the tough ones?
Successful personal brand builders define their priorities every morning and stick to them. If you do easier tasks first, you will most likely find yourself so tired at the end of the day that you won’t have energy to complete the more challenging tasks later on – and those tasks are probably also the most important tasks for your career. You need to be fresh and clear-headed for the jobs that require more from you, so the best time to tackle them is first thing in the morning.
2. Do you act like you understand something when you really don’t?
One of our worst fears is to look “stupid,” isn’t it? Worried about looking like a fool, we often don’t ask questions.
Assume you’ve been given a task to complete, but you’re not sure of the objectives – and you don’t ask for clarity. You might end up doing nothing at all because you don’t know what to do, or you could end up doing something that isn’t appropriate for that task.
So, there you are – exposed for not understanding it anyway! Bottom line: Asking for clarification is actually quite a smart thing to do!
3. Do you underestimate the importance of proper eye contact?
Proper eye contact is critical to your personal brand. Staring at someone makes you appear as though you’re trying to dominate him or her, while looking down canproject low self-esteem or be seen as a sign of nervousness. Find a happy medium between an intimidating “stare-down” and averting your gaze. Watch, learn, and model television interviewers to see how well they vary their eye contact.
4. Do you think how you “look” to others only means your person or office?
Your look doesn’t stop with your clothes, body, face, or even your office. It extends to every place where you are responsible for its “look.”
If you walked out to a parking lot with a well-respected top executive, only to discover that the backseat of his car is filled with dog hair, old bottles, and trash, his personal brand would certainly be busted in your eyes, wouldn’t it?
5. Do you ignore the importance of silence as a powerful “sound?”
Without the pauses in music, there would be no rhythm; speech has rhythm, too. So, sometimes, just sitting back and listening is the best “sound” you can make. Done well, it can actually convey confidence, intelligence, patience, and reflection.