First impressions count, and in the first 7-17 seconds of meeting someone they have already formed. So what can you do to make sure that you make the right first impression? Ultimately it comes back to having a strong idea of what your personal brand is, and knowing how to project that when meeting others.
Personal branding is a concept that has gained traction in recent years, mostly due to the role personal branding plays on social media. Often referred to as ‘influencers’, people have built careers on the back of a strong personal brand and have gone on to launch successful businesses because of it.
You may be thinking, why is this relevant if you don’t plan on building an empire based on your personal brand? Good question. Whether you are going into an entry level office job or you’re a household name, your personal brand plays an important role in how people perceive you, and this has a significant impact on your career.
Whether we like it or not, people judge a book by its cover, so it is important to make sure that your cover truly reflects who you are as a person and what you want to present to the world. A personal brand doesn’t just have to be about image, it can be about establishing yourself as an expert in your field or building a reputation as a good leader.
It is really about linking yourself with particular values and qualities, and being able to communicate this to someone without flat out stating it. We have all heard the saying ‘It’s not what you say, but how you say it’, and when it comes to personal branding this could not be more true. When developing an opinion of someone, 93% of a person’s judgement is based upon non-verbal input - aka. body language, appearance and actions. So make sure that your visual cues reflect your message.
The opinion that someone forms in those first 17 seconds will forever influence the way they perceive you, and this can work for and against you in the world of business. The personal brand you project can help an employer establish if you are a good fit with their corporate image, or how well you may work in a particular team. So if you are going for a job or chasing a new opportunity, it’s probably a good idea to review your personal brand and make sure the message you are sending out is aligned with those opportunities.
It is important to remember that personal branding is not always about self-promotion, and is more about defining who you are as a person. Undertaking an exercise in personal branding can help you get to know yourself a little better. Some people have likely never thought about what their leadership style is, or what they want to represent. Knowing the answers to these questions is important in building self-confidence that can help you excel in your career.
So if you haven’t thought about your personal brand yet, maybe now is a good time.