“BEING AUTHENTIC IN THE WAY YOU COMMUNICATE IS A CORE ELEMENT OF LEADERSHIP”
We have all sat through a presentation given by a speaker who has a valuable message to communicate, but who lacks the necessary charisma and personality to make that message stick. Often it’s because that person isn’t presenting with authentic style – they may be trying too hard. In other words they haven’t developed their presentational brand strongly enough for it to be consistent and congruent with who they really are.
Gone are the days when making an impact in a presentation was more about gestures, jumping around and a louder voice. Today developing your own natural style is an important aspect of getting your message across in a way that is memorable and influential. Being authentic in the way you communicate, including presenting, is a core element of leadership and taking people with you.
Don’t try and be someone you’re not when presenting to an audience – whether to a few people or a few hundred people. Being yourself means that an audience will focus more on the content you are communicating, than on looking uncomfortable and trying to perform. Authenticity means trust – and you need that if an audience is to take away your message and act on it in some way.
Here are our five tips for developing your presentational brand:
1. Don’t have too much content – be clear about what your key messages are and only include them. Non crucial information will only dilute your message. Because audiences will only take away a percentage of what you say make sure it’s all valuable information. Presenting a message with clarity is sign of good leadership.
2. Include visual images – most people learn visually so paint a picture with words or by using images on slides. Get your personal brand into your message by telling stories about your experiences to reinforce a point.
3. Dress appropriately – your clothes are the packaging of your personal brand. Carefully plan what you will wear based on the audience and their expectations. Never think a mark, stain or bad fit won’t be noticed – someone will.
4. Only use slides to reinforce a point – we’ve all been victim to “death by Powerpoint”! You are the most visually persuasive element of your presentation and slides can distract your audience from your well thought out content.
5. Make sure the beginning and end messages are powerful and memorable – start with impact with your key message and reinforce it at the end.
Presenting is a great way to gain visibility and develop your personal brand.
Do you ever feel that others don’t really ‘get’ what it is you do? Do you get frustrated that people label you in a way that is neither accurate or representative of your true skills and personality?
It’s no good having a great personal brand if no-one outside of your department or company knows who you are and what you are really great at. You need to pay attention to your visibility and exposure to get where you want to in your career. Ask yourself and your friends and colleagues “How do others describe me? What do they say my role is? What am I famous for?
Getting answers to these questions will help you determine whether there is a mismatch between what you think you are known for and what you actually are. Write down the traits, skills and styles that people use to describe you, this will help you to determine what makes you unique.
Here’s a great exercise that will help you to clarify your brand statement: If you were to write your life story what would the title be? Take that further and add a sub-title and chapter headings. Would you like the story to end very differently to the main content? Once you have done that create an action plan to address the areas you most want to project about your skills and personality. Where do you want to be in a year’s time?
Once you have your action plan you will know who you need to be more visible with and where. For example, could you be writing articles for the company blog? Do you need to offer to present more frequently? Speaking is a great way to get yourself noticed. Do you need some presentation coaching to achieve that goal? Do you need to start networking?
Everything you do on a day to day basis adds a layer to your personal brand so this is an ongoing exercise that you should repeat to continually develop your personal brand. Keep checking whether you have made yourself more visible to the right people, reinforced your brand values and continued to set yourself goals.
We offer a variety of tools for personal brand development in our online shop from books to personality profiling. We also provide executive brand coaching, workshops and in-house training. Please get in touch to find out how we can help you.
This week at the NSA (National Speakers Association) Convention in Philadelphia, USA, Lesley was handed over the gavel to become President of the Global Speakers Federation for the year 2013-2014. She took to the stage in front of 1300 professional speakers from all over the world to receive the gavel and present her plans for the next year.
In her words “I am incredibly honoured to take over this role, in the footsteps of many wonderful Presidents before me. We have a very exciting year ahead, with many new countries wanting to come on-board as a member of the Federation. We also have lots of new initiatives in place ready to be worked through and finalised in this next year. There has never been a better time to speak internationally and grow our businesses internationally and the Global Speakers Federation provides the support to help you achieve this”. Find out more information on the Global Speakers Federation here.
Congratulations flooded in on Twitter as Lesley took to the stage.
Congratulations from the Team at Walking TALL too Lesley – we are proud of you!
If you want to stand out, refine your Personal Brand to include the following top tips:
1. Create an Authentic self – Does what people say about you align with who you really are? Being authentic means that you shouldn’t try to be something you’re not – that’s exhausting! Follow that old saying “be yourself – everyone else is taken”.
2. Become Remarkable – Stand out for the being the person who goes the extra mile, the one who always does what they say they are going to do and more. Being remarkable means people talking about you for the right reasons. Read Seth Godin’s brilliant book – Purple Cow.
3. Build Visibility and Profile – It’s not enough to think you will be promoted or noticed if you keep your head down and work hard. You need more than meritocracy – do the people who need to know who you are, know who you are? If not, plan how you can raise your profile in a structured way. Offer to speak, write for the company blog, volunteer for high visibility projects – whatever it takes to make sure you get noticed. Make sure your team gets noticed for great work too.
4. Network Effectively – In person and online. Use your LinkedIn profile to get introductions from your connections and return the favour. Asking your colleagues and friends for introductions to people you want to connect with is a more focussed approach than just attending as many networking meetings as you can. When you do attend events, plan beforehand who you want to speak to and make the most of your time. Remember something personal about them and what they’ve said, and spot opportunities to follow up on this.
5. Present Yourself and Your Message with Impact – it can now take only 10 milliseconds to form a first impression. Presenting yourself means in person, online, on the telephone and by email. Every time you engage with someone for the first time, by whatever means, make sure you are making the right impression. Then back up that first impression with consistency in future interactions. If you need coaching on speaking or presenting yourself make sure you get it, never leave it to chance – we never get a second opportunity to make a first impression! Get great at presenting on your feet – one’s ability to get promoted, rests on one’s ability to present well!
6. Build Rapport and Collaborate with Style – Be gracious and polite. Always thank those that help you and ask how you can help them. Remember their interests or their birthday – those small touches get noticed. Help out team members when they have a deadline and always give praise where it’s due – help others to raise their profile. By understanding your brand and what you bring to the table you will help others to collaborate with you too.
7. Lead with Consistency – Being consistent builds trust. No one likes nasty surprises, treating all of your team the same way prevents gossip and back biting and makes a more productive work environment.
Work on building these 7 tips in to your personal brand. If you’d like to find out how Walking TALL can help get in contact.
Trust – without it you’ll still get things done but with it your team will go above and beyond to make sure they succeed. It’s not just their trust in you but also yours in them. When you trust your team you will give them ownership of a task or project, which in turn shows them you believe they can deliver.
In order to build trust both ways you need to get to know each individual and what motivates them. You can’t assume it’s always money – it may be recognition or the promise of promotion. Helping them with their personal brand and career development demonstrates a commitment to them. Even if budgets for training and development have been cut it’s still possible to give each team member time and mentoring which will pay dividends in the long run. Demotivated employees cause team disruption and you may lose your best talent which could prove very expensive.
We discussed the importance of respect in a previous blog post. Teach your team how they can earn your respect. In turn your consistency and authenticity will build their respect in you and their trust. A team based on respect and trust will go the extra mile when the going gets tough.
Find out more how Walking TALL can help with your team dynamics to develop and retain your best talent with our Personal Branding Workshops and Executive Brand Coaching, or get in touch to discuss a tailor made programme.
If you want to get on, whether that be promotion at work or standing out from your peers, there are certain personal branding traits worth developing. With everyone working harder and longer hours it’s not enough to think that if you keep your head down your hard work will get noticed.
Here are 3 Personal Branding traits that will make you stand out:
Be consistent – do what you say you are going to do. Under promise rather than over promising. If you think a report will take you 3 days don’t promise it for 2. It’s far better to deliver the report on time than be apologising for it being a day late.
Be a Team Player – if one person in a team is difficult it disrupts the balance of the office – and it will be noticed. On the other hand if you get along with the team, make suggestions for problem solutions and help your colleagues when they are under pressure it’s likely that you will be considered first when a team management position comes up.
Be proactive with solutions – rather than complaining when something goes wrong think about what could be done to solve the problem. People who deliver solutions are held in higher esteem than those who just moan about the problem and expect others to solve it.
If you would like to find out more about our Personal Branding workshops, e-learning or Executive brand coaching get in touch.
Combine the best in Personal Branding coaching with a unique African safari experience!
We are in the early stages of creating an exclusive 5 day experience and would like to gain your interest at this stage
What it includes:
• 5 days in an exclusive lodge in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve
• Personal Branding masterclass modules over 5 days with 1-to-1 coaching with Lesley Everett
• 2 game drives per day in your own private vehicle with qualified ranger
• Private ensuite luxury rooms, with bath and shower
• All food and drink
• Sun-downers and morning coffee out in the Bush
• Talks with Game Ranger
We will be taking a small number of people to our little known game lodge for a simply unique, exclusive experience, for a price we can guarantee will be much less than you could imagine. There will be just our small group there so you can experience our Walking TALL methodology in intimate and inspiring surroundings like no other.
Please register your interest here and we will put you on our registration list with no obligation at this stage. This just means we can keep you informed of progress and details in the coming weeks. Dates TBC 18th – 22nd September 2013, inclusive Get in early – we expect this to be popular and it will be first come first served.
Today we are focusing on Stride 3 of the Walking TALL personal branding methodology – Dress Like You Mean It. Whether we like it or not, people do judge us on the way we dress. They feel like they have a view of us and our personality through what we have chosen to wear, or if you like, have chosen to package our brand.
We take in appearance as soon as we meet somebody and we make judgements on credibility, status, professionalism, personality etc instantly. Sounds superficial doesn’t it – but it’s fact.
So what are the main things to consider when we think about your wardrobe?
1. Your dress & appearance should be an extension of your personality. Does it work for you and reflect the true and best you or does it get in the way and create a false barrier to effective communication?
2. Does your dress compromise your professional credibility or your personal brand? Especially consider those dress-down days – do you tend to pay less attention to what you wear on these days? Dress-down day is not a licensed slob day! You need to consider grooming too – hair, shaving, make-up, polished shoes for example.
3. Consider who you are seeing today – what are their expectations, what is the situation or the environment and what are your objectives? If you consider these consciously you’ll be more likely to get it right.
4. Consistency is vital – don’t create confusing messages with your dress and style by being appropriate one minute and not fitting in the next, or by copying somebody else’s style and not being yourself.
And finally, before you decide that dress isn’t or shouldn’t be important and that it is so totally irrelevant to business life today, then just consider this – that dress is a choice and it is visible, and humans do judge on what they see in the first few seconds. Therefore this is purely about not letting your image and appearance get in the way of your true qualities, authentic personality and abilities, but rather another way of making sure you are projecting the best brand you can and adding another positive layer.
We were delighted to receive comments like these as feedback from The Grosvenor House JW Marriott Hotel about the recent implementation of the Walking TALL Personal Branding methodology.
Over the course of 5 months Walking TALL and The Grosvenor House Hotel worked together to give all Associates, from the Executive team to Front of House teams, what they described as “extra polish and personal presentation”. Designed to increase both Associate engagement and guest satisfaction, the methodology has been so successful that The Grosvenor House Hotel will continue to use it in their induction programme under License Agreement with Walking TALL
Jan Marshall, HR Director explained how refreshing and important it was that Lesley “immersed herself into our culture” to take on and understand what their brand meant in order to tailor the workshops to reflect their corporate brand. After the Walking TALL training Jan told us they had seen an unprecedented increase of 15.9% in guest satisfaction relating to the warmth and hospitality demonstrated by the staff.
Stuart Bowery, General Manager also reported the increase in engagement of Associates of 5% after the training and said he had already recommended the methodology to other colleagues in the Marriott Group.
On a personal level, staff found it empowering to receive feedback from their colleagues on their personal brand and find out how they could use that feedback to make improvements. They also commented on the practical aspect of the workshops and how they could implement what they had learnt instantly to create a lasting impact, improve their confidence and authentically project the corporate brand.
Watch this short video to hear more of the feedback:
If you would like to find out how we can help your organisation achieve similar results with employee engagement and customer satisfaction contact us for more information.
Images courtesy of Grosvenor House Hotel.
Aretha Franklin sang “R.E.S.P.E.C.T find out what it means to me” and this is relevant for your top talent now. During Personal Branding workshops we are more frequently hearing the word used. It’s no longer enough to pay a good salary, staff are looking to be recognised for their contribution too. A comfortable work environment with regular feedback and job stability could all be included as signs that companies respect their employees.
Don’t think this is something you can afford to overlook. Employee engagement is a much used term and according to Engage for Success, improving the UK’s national engagement levels could potentially unlock a further £25 billion in gross domestic product. In fact the government is taking it seriously too. David MacLeod and Nita Clarke were asked by the Government to look into engagement levels in UK businesses and how they were affecting business performance four years ago. Whilst the response to that report was lukewarm then, last month they released further evidence of attitudes to staff engagement. The report’s main conclusion is that, while awareness of the importance of engagement is increasing, the UK has what the taskforce terms an “engagement deficit”. Output per hour is down 15% compared with the rest of the G7 nations, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Employee engagement clearly links to their performance which in turn affects their impact on the corporate brand and customer satisfaction. Our workshops can significantly increase customer satisfaction by ensuring consistency of the brand message via the staff. If their personal brand aligns with company values and is 100 percent consistent clarity and impact is increased.
Find out more about our Personal Branding workshops and services. Contact us to find out how we can increase your employee engagement and customer satisfaction.
On a lighter note you may also be interested to know that Aretha Franklin also sang R-E-S-P-E-C-T Take care … TCB (Taking care of business) and the term “props” as in to give someone props, means proper respect.
Walking TALL is excited to announce that Carey Olsen’s intellectual property team, led by advocate Elaine Gray, filed the World’s first application for the registration of an image right for our founder Lesley Everett, this morning.
The States of Guernsey passed the ground-breaking image rights legislation last week with applications for registrations granted from today, Monday 3 December 2012.
This is the first law of its kind in the world and Lesley Everett is the world’s first to register her image below.
“It is a great honour to be the very first to take advantage of the Image Rights Legislation and register my image. Having worked on the project in the early stages with the Registrar in my role as a leading personal brand consultant and speaker, to establish the core of what personal attributes could be protected, it gives me great pleasure to experience the registration for myself. I look forward to working closely with Image Rights in the coming months and beyond and being part of this ground-breaking and unprecedented legislation to rightfully protect an individuals brand and image. I have no doubt that this will be a highly popular service with celebrities and high profile personalities throughout the world and I am thrilled to be part of it.”
The introduction of image rights legislation provides celebrities, sports personalities or any person who wishes to protect their image with an ability to register their personality and any images associated and give a level of protection which is not available with other forms of intellectual property such as copyright.
Advocat,Elaine Gray, was heavily involved in the drafting of the new law and said: “Guernsey has shown agility and pioneering spirit with the introduction of this legislation. It marks a new and separate branch of intellectual property law never seen before. Carey Olsen has been significantly involved in the drafting of the law from the outset. To be the first law firm in Guernsey to file an application for the registration of an image right is very exciting and the culmination of a lot of hard work.”
For Lesley the registration of an image right will provide her with a distinct property right in her image, an image which is pivotal to her brand as an international speaker and leading authority in personal branding. She will be working closely with the Image Rights Legislation in order to provide an added level of service and benefit to her high profile and celebrity clients.
Registered Photo of Lesley Everett above
Lesley Everett and Elaine Gray are available for interview. Contact:
Lesley Everett – Lesley@lesleyeverett.com
The start of a new year is the perfect time to review your personal brand and especially your online brand. It may be a while since you have done it, so start the year off by ensuring that your personal brand is being portrayed as you would want it to be.
Follow our simple tips and set them as resolutions to repeat throughout the coming year.
• Google your name – check all mentions of your name and if applicable your company. How many of the first page of Google results are you? You can increase your prominence by adding additional profiles, for example LinkedIn ranks well or a personal blog with yourname.com as the domain name (see our tips for creating a personal blog) and any of your profile images. If any of the links to your name bring up information you don’t want to be seen find out if you can remove them. If not you will have to work harder on getting them off of the first page of Google by working on your other profiles.
• If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile now is the time to create one. In the business world a LinkedIn profile signifies you are serious about your business or career. It’s no longer just a tool for job hunting – although it works well for that too. Before meeting a new client or colleague check out their LinkedIn profile, they will probably be doing the same to you.
• If you already have a LinkedIn profile when did you last update it? It’s a great way of demonstrating your expertise particularly with the new endorsements feature – list your skills and endorse others – they are likely to endorse you back. Resolve to update your status on a weekly basis.
• Start working on a visibility plan. What are your career or business goals for the year and who do you need to get in front of to ensure you meet those goals? Start working out how you can meet them or who could introduce you. Return the favour by introducing other people you know who share an interest.
• Keep learning and working on your personal development. If you haven’t already read it have a look at our book “Walking TALL Key Steps to Total Image Impact“, check out our personal branding online e-course or book onto one of our open Personal Branding workshops.
Finally resolve to have a regular review of your personal brand and what you need to do ensure it reflects who you really are.
According to a new year-long study of over 4,000 college-educated professionals and 268 senior executives, conducted by CTI and in partnership with Marie Claire magazine, you need to be viewed as a leader to get the top job. Having a strong and authentic personal brand is expected. But the following top 5 communication mistakes could damage your personal brand and promotion prospects:
1. The number 1 spot goes to making racially biased comments or jokes. Over 70% of those surveyed said this was the biggest error for both men and women as it shows poor judgement and low emotional intelligence.
2. Telling inappropriate jokes that make people feel uncomfortable – this demonstrates an inability to read your audience.
3. Workplace tears do not communicate leadership potential for both men and women. You need to be able to control your emotions.
4. Sounding uneducated – you need to portray gravitas and worldliness.
5. Swearing – considered to be unprofessional for men and women. So whilst you may think it’s ok in front of “the boys” actually one of them may be giving you a black mark.
For more information on improving all areas of your Personal Brand check out “Walking TALL, Key steps to total image impact” available from our online shop in a variety of formats. Or try out our 4 week Personal Branding e-learning course.
A recent article in Forbes magazine gave some valuable advice about effective communication in the office. With the first rule being “It is absolutely critical to be as direct, to the point and concise as possible”. For example rather than saying “can you get back to me with that information” try “Can you get back to me with the detailed figures by 5pm tomorrow” this leaves no ambiguity.
Other tips include:
• Deliver bad news in person – an email might be easier for you but doing it in person shows that you don’t shy away from difficult conversations
• Don’t be evasive, especially with bad news, deliver the facts accurately
• Don’t be long winded – respect other’s time and get to the point. They may not need all the details, just what’s relevant to them
• Give the other person your full attention, don’t be answering a text or reading an email while they are speaking
Using these techniques demonstrates your personal brand as efficient and authentic.
We like to recognise great personal brands at Walking TALL. So this month we are putting the spotlight on our legal expert Kim Whitaker.
Kim is a business and commercial lawyer and is the founder of Kim Whitaker Legal Services. She helps consultants, trainers and coaches with their contracting, branding and intellectual property issues in an efficient and cost-effective way. Kim’s approach is practical and commercial. She helps clients by demystifying the legal jargon and helping them understand the underlying legal issues. Her aim is to produce clear contracts which are easy to understand.
She also has particular expertise in helping small and medium sized companies negotiate their way through the minefield of contracting with large multinationals to achieve a fair contract that gives everyone the protection they need. Kim gave us a very good feeling when we started working with her and left us in no doubt we were getting the best advice.
Kim has also recognised the need for representing her personal and company brand online and writes a regular blog with useful legal tips, she also tweets @kimawhitaker.
A recent article in Forbes discusses the difference between a leader and a manager and the personal brand traits of each. If you are moving up from manager to a leadership role and want to know what you need to add to your personal development plan there is a great definition of both in the article; Managers – execute the process and plan, Leaders – create vision and a movement to get there.
The article also quotes from the book On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis who defined a list of 12 differences between the two:
1. The manager administers; the leader innovates.
2. The manager is a copy; the leader is an original.
3. The manager maintains; the leader develops.
4. The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.
5. The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.
6. The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective.
7. The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.
8. The manager has his or her eye always on the bottom line; the leader’s eye is on the horizon.
9. The manager imitates; the leader originates.
10. The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.
11. The manager is the classic good soldier; the leader is his or her own person.
12. The manager does things right; the leader does the right thing.
If you are creating a leadership development programme get in contact to find out how our courses and executive brand coaching can be incorporated into your programme.
R ule number 1 – make sure you have a LinkedIn profile – without one you can be quickly dismissed by potential recruiters for not being visible or connected enough. Having a profile and good levels of visibility is attractive to potential employers today and is a crucial career development tool for you. Remember your LinkedIn profile page is often the first glance others have into the window of your brand. The outside world will look at your photo first, then your summary, then your career history and then perhaps the connections you have. Is this all in line with the brand you want to create?
My top 5 tips for a great LinkedIn profile
• Make sure your profile has a good quality, close-up and up-to-date photo – without one you will appear as though you have something to hide. Have it taken professionally preferably – it will be worth it.
• Your summary statement should ‘sell’ you. Make sure it says something about who you are, what motivates you, what you bring to the table and your aspirations, not just the operational element of your role. This is your chance to communicate something attractive about your brand.
• Keep your career history short and relevant, so that it makes an impact. A simple overview is enough; only include that which is appropriate and necessary. Superfluous career history will only serve to dilute the good stuff and therefore your brand.
• Be careful about who you are connected with, as this can reflect on your band. Have a weed out every few months.
• Join relevant groups that interest you and give a good impression of your brand and make sure you engage in discussions.
Once you have got your LinkedIn profile looking good don’t forget to update it regularly.
We are all aware of the need to be vigilant about what we are sharing online but do you have an efficient method of capturing what others are saying about you or your company?
If you use social media, blog regularly or take part on forums you may think that you are capturing anything that is out there about you. But that’s not always the case. Yes, if you use twitter and someone responds with @yourtwittername, you will see it in your mentions. What about the times when someone doesn’t know your twitter name and uses your name without the @ tag? Or when your blog is mentioned in another blog without a link back to your original article? There is a really simple way that you can monitor mentions of you online – including common misspellings of your name – welcome to Google Alerts.
By using Google Alerts you can decide what names, phrases, keywords or companies you would like to see mentions of online.
You will need a Google account, once that’s set up go to www.google.com/alerts. Choose your search query determining how specific you want to be – for example Walking TALL would show all mentions of Walking and Tall “Walking TALL” will only show mentions of that specific phrase. If you have a name that commonly gets misspelt add several versions. You can then decide what type of information you want to receive, whether it’s where you appear in blog content, news, discussions or any mention on the web. You can also determine how often and how many results you receive, then choose whether you want results sent to your email or a feed reader. That’s it.
By being aware of anything that could damage your brand online you are able to decide how to rectify the situation. But if someone is talking about you and you aren’t aware of it your brand could be damaged without you even knowing.
It’s a given now that as a professional business person you need to make sure that your online profiles reflect your personal brand in the same way as you do in person.
If you are a specialist in your area a great way to raise your profile is to create a blog. Here are 5 quick tips for setting up your personal blog:
1. Decide whether you want to purchase your own domain and hosting or whether you want to use a hosted blog, for example WordPress.com and Blogspot which are great if you have little technical knowledge. However, owning your own domain name, especially if it is yourname.com is preferable, and really not that tricky.
2. Decide on your blog’s message. Will it be personal and informal or do you want to report on industry news and your take on it. Establish your style, in line with your personal brand and stick with it so that your readers know what to expect and you sound authentic. Stay on message and build up a number of “keywords” for your blog. Think about words or phrases people would use to find your blog’s topic.
3. Write blog posts on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be daily or even weekly the key is that it’s regular, especially if you want to start getting found for your “keywords” on search engines.
4. Stay up to date with your subject by keeping up with industry news. There are two great tools for this. Firstly Google Alerts, which you can set for specific keywords, industry terms, company names and even your own name to receive emails when anything appears on the web with those words. The second is Google Reader, which you can feed with updates from your favourite blogs, websites and news – you simply set up the feeds and the articles are all there waiting for you in one place, rather than visiting each individual site. To find out more about how to use either of these tools just go to google and enter “google alerts” and “google reader”.
5. When you write a blog post optimise the number of people who see it by adding it to your LinkedIn status and if you are on Twitter tweeting about it.
What makes a successful organisation? There are many contributing factors but one that we focus on is the people within the company. Your customer facing employees are the first impression of your organisation and can make all the difference in gaining or losing a customer. Whilst everyone has off days, those people who are consistently unhappy at work will be projecting that to your customers. And it’s not just those that are customer facing it’s also the employees that support them. The positivity or negativity works it’s way down the chain. In a time when businesses are cutting costs and laying off staff it is key to keep those you want to retain focused and productive.
If staff take on more work and possibly more hours ensuring that they continue to be proud of and happy to promote the corporate brand needs consideration. One of the best ways of doing this is to have an ongoing training and feedback plan to develop their on the job skills as well as their personal skills. At Walking TALL we do this by showing your employees how to develop their personal brand and understand how that fits with the corporate brand. If employees understand the corporate brand and values and see the benefits of implementing them their contribution becomes more valuable.
We offer a variety of training methods because one size doesn’t ‘fit all’. You can choose from our public workshops, in-house tailor made workshops or for those staff unable to leave the office we also have a bite-sized e-learning solution either for individuals or branded for you as an in-house course. And if you have a team that has been disrupted and are finding it difficult to ‘gel’ our Clarity 4D workshops are extremely successful. We’d be delighted to discuss your requirements and tailor make a solution that’s right for you. Just drop us an email or call us on 01344 427977.
There is always confusion about what business casual means – some people assume they can wear jeans and a t-shirt, others wouldn’t be comfortable wearing jeans to work but might wear chinos and others still might wear a trouser/skirt and jacket combination.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that if your company has a “dress down Friday” or business casual policy every day that your appearance doesn’t matter, a sloppy appearance could be jeopardising your career prospects.
Whilst every organisation has it’s own interpretation of business dress here are some general rules that will help you navigate your way around this tricky subject:
Traditional or Formal Business Wear
A suit is expected here for men and women, in a darker colour like charcoal, black or navy. Men should always wear a tie, cufflinks and dark lace up shoes. Women should wear a skirt, trouser or dress suit with a jacket and tights – no bare legs. Whilst dress codes are relaxing there are many organisations that still expect traditional or formal business wear. This does pose some problems with how you stand out from the crowd but don’t make the mistake of wearing a bright watch or wacky tie. If you are able to wear a shirt or blouse in a colour of your choice pick something that is right for your colouring to inject a little personality.
General Business Wear
This is a step down from formal business wear but would normally mean a suit for men or tailored trousers and a blazer with more leeway in your choice of shirt and tie. For women businesslike dresses, and coordinated dressy separates worn with a jacket are appropriate.
If there are no published rules take your cue from what your boss wears or what the person one or two levels above you wears. You will often find that on dress down day the senior executives will still wear a jacket albeit a more casual jacket than a traditional suit. Bear in mind that the phrase ‘business casual’ still has the word business in it. Typically for men chinos and a casual collared shirt or polo shirt would be acceptable and for women more casual skirts or trousers with jersey tops or knitwear. Keep your accessories smart and avoid anything you would wear on the beach – flip flops, shorts, t-shirts or anything revealing too much flesh. Jeans may be acceptable BUT always choose a dark wash which looks much smarter than a faded pair and if you do wear jeans dress them up with a collared shirt or informal jacket.
Here are some examples for men’s business wear in the 3 levels:
And for women:
See more examples of business dress on the new Walking TALL Pinterest boards. And if you want to know which are the best colours for your business wear check out our colour service.
More and more often if you are applying for a job you may be asked to take a telephone interview as part of the recruitment process. This could be with a recruitment consultant or often with an HR manager from the company you are applying to join. It is vital to perform well at this early stage because although you won’t be given the job at this point you could be ruled out of being put forward for the next stage. How does your Personal Brand come across on the phone?
In a face to face meeting your voice quality represents about a third of the overall impact your personal brand makes. However, when you are being interviewed on the phone this will be much higher – up to 84%. The only other influencing factor will be your CV which the interviewer will probably have in front of them. Research has shown the people often get hung up by the words they use, but pay little attention to the way their voice comes across, yet your words have less impact than your voice quality. Here are my top tips for handling a telephone interview:
• Preparation – just as with a face to face interview make sure you prepare. The interviewer will probably be working from your CV and will want to expand on your experience. Make your self some notes with examples of achievements and any quantifiable results. The great thing about being on the telephone is that the interviewer can’t see your notes so you can create prompts to remind you of points you want to get across.
• Posture – just because they can’t see you doesn’t mean you can slump comfortably in the chair. Breath in and out slowly before taking the call to ensure your voice sounds calm and confident. You may find standing up gives you a feeling of authority.
• Smiling – believe it or not smiling, when you are talking on the phone makes you sound more open and friendly.
• Clarity – Get a friend or colleague to call you and give feedback about your clarity before the interview so that you can adjust it accordingly. If you have an accent it can be a great asset to your personal brand, but just make sure your words are pronounced clearly and don’t use regional colloquialisms.
• Strength – Speak clearly, pausing before answering questions, and make sure you aren’t too loud or too quiet. If you mumble or speak too quietly the interviewer will probably get fed up of asking you repeat an answer and will likely cut the interview short. Equally being too loud will come across as aggressive.
• Interest – Varying the pace and modulation will keep interest if you are explaining a point in depth. As with any interview ask if you have clarified a point sufficiently, you don’t have the benefit of seeing the interviewer’s reaction to see the effect of what you have said.
• Closing – Check that they have all the information they require at this point and ask what the next stage of the process will be.
One of the great things about a telephone interview is that the interviewer can’t see if you get embarrassed and as long as you have learnt to control the clarity and strength of your voice they will be none the wiser.
If you are looking for a career move or are in the unfortunate position of having been made redundant take a close look at how you are using social media. As far as you personal branding goes you need to be consistent. By this I mean be very careful what you post on your various accounts and be aware of who may have access to them. It is now common practice for recruiters and potential employers to google candidates and look at their LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter profiles. This can give them a real insight to the character of the candidate.
In my opinion a personal Facebook account should be used purely for friends and family and access to your account should be limited to those people you really know. This is the place where you post personal photos or comments which you may not want a potential employer to see. If you have your own business and want to use Facebook for your business then you should set up a Facebook Page this allows ‘fans’ of your page to become advocates of your business or service.
On the other hand Twitter is a great business tool. A place where you can post opinion on your industry which will get you noticed. If you have a website you should also make sure that your twitter feed is linked to the site. This isn’t the place to tell everyone you are just off to the gym or to do some shopping, but is ideal for making a comment about your business and linking it to a relevant blog post.
LinkedIn is a key tool for job seekers. It asks for details of your education and qualifications as well as your career path and allows you to ask colleagues and employers for recommendations and the power of the network means that quite often you can get an introduction to a potential employer ‘through the back door’ from someone you both know.
It works both ways too. You can use all of these tools to research companies you would like to work for and get some insight to the company’s branding and their people. After all it is important that you will fit with the culture of the company you are applying to and that your personal brand isn’t compromised. Use Google Reader to set up alerts on the companies you are researching to get an idea of their public face and Gist is a great tool for looking up information about your interviewer such as any blog postings or tweets they have made.
Being clever with social media, being true to your brand and researching companies in depth before an interview will ensure that you are a stand out candidate.