I love what I do for work; I help people stand out! My expertise is with modern business etiquette, personal brand building, and reputation self-management–I'm on a mission to guide people on investing in their professional selves. Over the years, it occurred to me that the term "building your brand" no longer refers to what one does to promote a business. Instead, to my mind, it means creating a personal identity and image that matches how people think of you. Like it or not, you as an individual are now expected to construct a brand around your unique traits. Amazon's Jeff Bezos said it best, "Your brand is what other people say about you when you're not in the room."
Now, I want you to picture who you were ten years ago. Thanks to your cell cycles, your skin is different, your hair continues to grow, and overall you have physically changed because your cell cycle determines the inevitable process of aging. The good news is that your mind continues to develop. Your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are influenced by what you have learned, seen, and heard. Yet, are you aware of this transformation? And, who have you become? How would you describe yourself today?
#1: Where does your reputation stand today?
Reputations are changeable. They can go from being significant to the polar opposite in an instant. So my first suggestion is what I feel is the most important if you take a few moments to dig into your digital and in-person presence. Here is where your use of humility kicks in; what is your reputation like today? Now, if you want to get answers, ask those around you who you know will give you an unbiased truth. Then, if you know your reputation can be more refined, you're ready to work with a coach.
#2 - How can you elevate your presence?
There are many aspects to developing your persona into one that's sophisticated, bold, composed, a thought-leader, etc., a presence that transcends your previous self. Of course, this takes time and patience to generate, but it's worth doing. Determine your outlets; where are you seen? Think about online and in-real-life. These platforms require consistency with your messaging. As a woman in today's world, there are higher expectations with self-presentation. Keeping up appearances can be overwhelming and what a personal brand coach does is help you filter through the noise to assist you in creating a defined presence.
#4 - Who do you trust?
I believe in building long-term relationships, ones that withstand the ups and downs of what life throws at you. When sharing your time with a personal branding coach, you want to make sure it's worth your while. You will ideally be working with them for years to come.
A great way to start is by having a virtual or real-life consultation which the coach should navigate. If you are confident in their approach to coaching, you've seen great reviews, like their credentials, and respect how they consistently show up; you should feel confident in starting sessions with them. They should feel like your #1 fan, a cheerleading squad for just you, and if not, then you have your answer.
#5 - How much are you willing to invest?
When planning to work with a personal brand coach, you must think about the short-term goals and the long-term goals you have.
Your investment corresponds with you wanting this to work: Your re-brand is about you, and your coach creates a roadmap for you to get there. So what is your brand worth to you? Well, that's a question only you can answer.
Perhaps, you're going through a life-changing experience. You’ve changed careers, or switched industries… Maybe you're looking to elevate your reputation with what you're doing now. Whatever the reason is, one thing is for sure, you want to change; you want to be intentional with your approach; and with the proper guidance, you'll need the right person around you to make it happen.
Janika (Jan) LeMaitre is an Australian destined to help people with their professional brands. It's why, after moving to Boston in the U.S., she started her consultancy, The Better Professional®. She is a consultant, coach, speaker, board director, and host of the 'Polish Your Persona' podcast. Jan guides her clients on modern business etiquette, personal brand building, and reputation self-management. Her mission is to provide invaluable knowledge and life-changing skills for inner-entrepreneurs to successfully evolve their business, brand, and overall reputation.
In June 2018, Australia’s very own High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, the then titled Honourable Alexander Downer, and his Twitter faux pas splashed over the Australian news. What did he do that made Aussie headlines?
Two weeks after officially leaving his post as High Commissioner, he used his ‘business’ account to tweet support to his daughter, Georgina Downer, who was forging a career in Australian politics. The secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade Department, Frances Adamson, stated that Alexander Downer “mistakenly used the account instead of his own” stated the Adelaide Independent New Indaily, Friday, Jun 1, 2018.
The rapid evolution of mobile technology, together with the emergence of social media, has significantly changed, to communicating instantly, letting millions know facts, figures, actions, reactions, and interactions. How can social media and diplomacy work hand-in-hand?
Modern public diplomacy is used for the promotion and enhancement of a countries profile, critical humanitarian and consular events, and the explanation of economic developments. The use of public diplomacy allows for open, transparent, and accountable dialogue, which enhances friendly relations, monitors events, gauges public sentiment, gathers information, and explains government policies and programs. However, the Australian government states in an Administrative Circular of July 2014 that social media does not replace traditional avenues of announcements.
It was noted that in 2009 the United States Government piloted a program that used social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook in the Middle East, “increasing citizen engagement and civic participation”. Also, that year the Israeli Foreign Ministry said they wanted to use social media to “focus less on Palestinian issues and more on the Iranian threat.” (Zhang & Fahmy et al., 2015).
For those in the diplomatic or government services that are tweeting, blogging, and using social media to get their word across to the masses through real-time channels, what guidelines do they follow? Guiding them is the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Ethics, Integrity and Professional Standards Policy Manual and the Department of Communications and Parliamentary Branch. Which begs the question, what can we do as individuals that are not working for the government department? How can we use social media mindfully? Here are four tips for using social media to your advantage:
“Is my social media account private?”
Whether you have a public or private profile on social media, you are still leaving a digital footprint. Whatever you post in word, photo, video, audio, or emoji can be screen-grabbed and passed around quickly, without your knowledge.
“What are my intentions today?”
Post information you want people to know and won’t regret one week, one year, or ten years from posting. Always post positively and professionally. Using courtesy is the best practice today.
“How can I keep safe?”
Keep personal information, such as your address, birth date, etc. off social media as hackers are constantly harvesting and farming for your personal information.
“What content will I display and post today?”
Be wise with photos, audio, and videos you take of other people. Try to pixelate, blur or cut people out the best you can unless you have their consent to publish. Consider your comments and the emojis that you attach to your comments. Emojis have a powerful effect as non-verbal cues. Adding emojis to social posts could bring confusion in interpretation.
“Ensure Intercultural Intelligence”
Symbols, emojis, illustrations, metaphors, and even the contextual meaning of words can be interpreted and experienced differently across countries and cultures. Mind your social media had a borderless reach and can be resent by anyone who has received it directly or indirectly.
Make sure that you master intercultural intelligence so that your message is “global proof” and will not cause embarrassing situations for you and the entity that you are representing.
May you use social media wisely and mindfully.
Article published by Protocol Today >>