I was recently undertaking a training session for a client of mine with a room full of new managers.
When I say new managers, I mean young and inexperienced, but eager to make the right impression and take advantage of new opportunities. The downside to this enthusiasm was that their soft skills were lacking and we needed to get them up to speed, fast!
There were many things I wanted to go through but I wanted to start with them as people first – their style, how they want to be viewed as leaders and their personal brand. This confused them, after all, what does your brand have to do with being a good leader? The answer is EVERYTHING!
Personal branding is essentially the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group, or organization (Creating Your Personal Brand – Los Ellis 2009)
What is it that you want people to think of when they think of you? Is it your expertise in a subject manner? Is it the way you treat your staff or your communication style? Are there general qualities you want linked to you and your brand?
When managing teams and working with them, or meeting someone for the first time, first impressions count and are formed within 7 to 17 seconds of the initial meeting! So your style, confidence and speech are all vital to making a good first impression.
When meeting someone for the first time, consider this:
55% of a person’s opinion is determined by physical appearance
38% of a person’s first impression is determined by tone of voice
93% of people’s judgements of others are based on non-verbal input like body language
Whilst we now have very famous CEO’s and leaders of business rocking up to work in their Adidas, Jeans and T-shirt (think Google, Snapchat, Facebook) how you present yourself must align with the industry you are in and the role you play. Jeans are not going to cut it in the Banking and Finance industry, but nor is a three-piece suit appropriate for the Head Office of a Surf Retailer.
In the famous (or infamous) studies conducted by Prof. Mehrabian, words, tone of voice, and body language respectively account for 7%, 38%, and 55% of personal communication. When conversing with people, it’s not so much of what you say but HOW you say it (and how this is reflected in your body language).
So, whether you are a leader in business, an up and coming team leader or attending a job interview, you MUST consider your personal brand – and how you want to be remembered