We are delighted to welcome Grace Hughes to our team. Grace has written a blog which covers the topic of "Creating Personal Impact", a topic relevant for all of us.

"Your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room"

Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon

Have you ever contemplated how people might describe you? And have you ever guessed what they might say? And would perception match reality? 

When most of us think of brands, we think of products such as Coca-Cola, Nike, Vodafone, and when those companies are marketing their products they promote their product to achieve sales. Their brand is defined by their characteristics, values and attributes. These principles can be directly applied to creating a personal brand too.

Focussing on strong presence, what does that look like?

Very few of us afford ourselves the time to consider what our own brand is but it is a really useful exercise to do; it's an interesting topic and one which is relevant for all of us no matter what our role is; when meeting someone for the first time, we form an impression of the person and we do that within a few seconds, whereas it might take a lifetime to change our mind, particularly if a bad impression was made.

I have been working with many client teams over the years assisting people to identify their own personal brand and when asking people to identify the characteristics that are evident in people who make a strong personal impact they generally always include:

  • Ability to get on well with people and establish strong relationships
  • Ability to handle difficult conversations well
  • Ability to be a good networker
  • Ability to manage emotions and remain composed even in stressful situations
  • Being a good listener
  • Being able to provide and receive constructive criticism; being fair
  • Being well turned out
  • Having a strong presence

I find myself observing colleagues (it's a bit of a habit!) and I can determine how they are feeling dependant on their body language, their tone of voice and the way they present themselves. People with presence generally look confident and comfortable, are good communicators and speak clearly. Their personal presentation is immaculate and they spend time considering what their style is and consistently present themselves in a professional way.

Some tips on how to create strong personal impact

  • Each day present yourself in the way you wish to be perceived, be true to your brand
  • Make good eye contact, whether it's an audience of one or many
  • Take an interest in others and be a good listener
  • Be aware of your online presence and does it match or compliment your physical presence? (when was the last time you reviewed your profile on your website or on LinkedIn?)
  • Your tone of voice can create the right or wrong impression, be aware of yours to create the right impact
  • Dress appropriately
  • Be aware of your body language and the messages you convey

Telling versus listening

I think one of the most important rules is the one that is well made by Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People when he said, "you can make more friends in 2 months by becoming interested in other people than you can in 2 years by trying to get other people interested in you."

I think this principle is of particular relevance in a business development context. So many people think that "selling" is all about telling people what you can offer, when actually it is better to invest in building relationships with people and then the sale will naturally follow.

I challenge you to start thinking about how people would describe you if you weren't in the room and start thinking of yourself as a brand, how do you wish to be perceived?