I recently moderated a panel on the topic of Personal Branding called “Know and Grow Your Personal Brand” on March 8th, 2018 at the Shareablee office in NYC. This event was part of the New York Branding Meetup that I run.
Personal branding has become a buzz term, especially since the past few years with the advent of social media. So we wanted to bring clarity to this topic by addressing different aspects, namely to define what personal branding actually is, how to leverage personal branding to catalyze a prolific career, and how to amplify influence.
The panelists consisted of: Pamela Weinberg, a personal branding expert and coach; Tania Yuki, CEO of Shareablee; John Kalinowski, Life, Leadership and Development Coach; and Bant Breen, CEO of Qnary.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the meetup:
From branding to personal branding. Before diving into the specifics of personal branding, it’s important to make sure that the general concept of branding is well understood. For the New York Branding meetup, we have a working comprehensive definition of branding, which is the following: A brand is what people think, feel, and say about your product, service, company, idea, or person—this is established through their experiences and engagements. That being said, we have extrapolated the following simple definition for a personal brand:
How people perceive you: in the digital and “live” world. People can have perceptions of you in many ways: such as by your reputation, by sensing your body language and energy you exude when you first enter a room, or through Instagram (or other social media platforms) by looking at the images and content that you have posted on your page. The question then becomes: are you being perceived the way that you want to be perceived?” You can do this by positioning yourself in accordance to who are truly and what you want, and then express that into the world to effectively connect with the people that you want to influence.
Identify your personal brand. Pamela Weinberg explained that you must know what makes you stand out, what your message is, or what you are known for as the “go-to” person. If you are having trouble in pinpointing these elements, then reach out to your peers or friends and ask them: “what do you think that I am good at?” Also, take into account who you are trying to influence: is it your boss, a new employer, etc. You need to cater your message to what they value. These 2 points, of knowing who you are and who your message is intended for, will give you insights into understanding the direction of the focus of your message and personal brand.
Social media. Bant Breen provided us with some best practices on how to showcase your professional self in social media. The main thing is to focus on 3 topics, at the most, on which you create and curate content on. The topics should cover areas that you would like to be known for. And be careful not to clean up your profile so much that it feels generic—it’s good to show your point of view, as long that it is professional. Being authentic trumps trying to be perfect when it comes to social media (and in life). The top platforms for professional presence are LinkedIN and then Twitter. Instagram can also be leveraged by uploading more lighthearted content.
Feeling stuck in your career? At a certain point in our career, we will most likely feel lost, like we hit a wall, and struggle to move forward. John Kalinowski revealed that the reason is mainly based on a competence problem—the feeling that we are not enough. In order to start breaking free from that hold, we need to observe our thoughts and make sure that they are not getting in the way of what we are aiming for. Different techniques, such as meditation and affirmations, can be used to break unconscious thought patterns and redirect thoughts that will best serve us.
A CEO success story. Tania Yuki shared some of the key steps that she has utilized to connect and persuade people through personal branding to create her successful company, Shareablee. Of prime importance is to know and own your story by identifying which parts to express and which parts that are not pertinent to your message depending on your goal and whom you want to influence. If you feel nervous or anxious when you present yourself to others, Tania gave us the following wise advice: you can flip it—instead of focusing only on yourself, focus also on how you can be generous to the people you are interacting with by contributing and giving them value.
The human connection. I also provided my point of view about personal branding. We live in an amazing time where we can all be broadcasters by using social media to connect with the world. Yet, we must never forget that we have been Homo Sapiens for over 200,000 years and that the digital world has been around but merely 15 years. Therefore, meeting with people face-to-face, going to networking events, asking peers out for coffee—that is still how we make deeper and meaningful connections. So express your personal brand through both the “live” and “digital” world to gain career, and life, fulfillment.
My CoreConnect Conference is essentially based on this notion of focusing on the human element in the digital age. Join us on May 16th in NYC to learn more on how to create true connection and impact in the digital landscape. Please find a video below with my business partner of the CoreConnectConference, Brooke Vines, where she and I talk about the main takeaways of this meetup:
This meetup was also hosted by the NYC Planners and Strategy Group, The Jog. A big thank you to Shareablee for providing the space for this event! Please join us for our next NY Branding Meetup by registering here.
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