During the past couple of months, I’ve met or refreshed contact with several interesting communication professionals. What makes them so very interesting (and admirable) is that they all offered different attributes and skills in the field of organizational communications. What’s even more impressive is that they presented themselves in a way that was crystal clear. I mean it was really easy to “get” what each one offered that was special. In other words, each one had brand.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot because we hear about personal or professional branding in the context of job search and networking. And while those are the times during a career when personal/professional branding is essential, job search and networking were not the settings where I met these talented people.
So, I had to reflect on what makes them so successful at conveying their unique offerings, and I realized they are living their brands every day.
How do they do that? How do they enable the people they come into contact with to easily grasp who they are and what they have to offer?
I think it begins with self-awareness. I think that either naturally or intentionally, these people have stepped outside themselves. Perhaps they’ve worked with coaches or in workshops or conducted self-examinations. They’ve inventoried their experiences and skills and cultivated a deep understanding of their abilities and interests. They’ve assessed what motivates and inspires them, and what doesn’t. And they’ve considered those things they’re not so good at. Finally, and this might be most important and most fearless, they’ve accepted their whole selves. That doesn’t mean they’re not developing areas where they want to be stronger, but it does mean they understand themselves and they’re not trying to be someone else. They’re being authentic.
Wow. That’s powerful.
There’s nothing new about self-awareness and self-acceptance, of course. (How many books and articles have you read?) Yet it’s often forgotten when the pressure is on. In those moments where we’re squeezed from the outside to do this or deliver that, go here or go there, we may find ourselves blowing up smoke and fog, which causes others to struggle to see us, which leads to relationships of confusion. In those moments, if we could sharply focus on our one-of-a-kind offerings, others would see us with clarity, which would lead to relationships of trust and confidence.
The process to gain that professional clarity requires hard work, tenacity, and courage. And it needs to be regularly refreshed. Yet defining and honing your personal/professional brand is so worth it!
All this to say, I’m going to commit myself to work on my communicator brand. What are you going to do about your communicator brand?