I often roll my eyes at the myriad of branding workshops available where people get to choose their personal brands, basically like they were selecting from a magical personal branding menu.
The truth is: our personal brands are NOT a choice. Ultimately, the way we’re perceived is determined by our actions, our behaviour and our unique communication styles. These characteristics also collectively determine our public or professional brands.
The biggest problem with this scenario is that most people are “projecting” themselves on auto pilot, blissfully unaware of their impact on others and/or the environment around them.
“Your personal brand is not a choice: it’s a projection.” – John French,
The mirror effect
One of the most powerful lessons I teach my students is that communication works on a mirror mechanism. Whatever we project is subconsciously sensed by our audience by their instincts, and by the mirror neurons in their brain. This is then filtered through their ego and they automatically respond in kind.
The age-old adage: “As you sow, so shall you reap,” therefore rings true. For me, the way communication “mirrors” proves that the Law of Attraction is constantly operating in our lives. Every time you send out (project) your voice, your body language, your personality and your attitude, you are INVITING a specific response.
Extroverts vs Introverts
I conduct many personal branding workshops at one of the top business schools in the world. Based on what I’ve observed, extroverts usually find it easier to develop their personal brands. Extroverts tend to have a stronger energetic footprint, naturally projecting themselves outwards with a more expansive power.
The strongest brands in politics, social media and popular culture also tend to be Expressive/Driver personality types (these are both on the extroverted side of the personality spectrum). Think of Trump, Kim Jong Un, Julius Malema, the Kardashians, and almost every popstar imaginable. These extroverts make a huge impact, albeit not always positive. They also have their own lessons to learn about being impulsive, inconsiderate, and sometimes blatantly aggressive, careless or rude.
Introverts, on the other hand, find it more challenging to project themselves physically, emotionally and vocally. Their natural impulse is to withdraw inwards. As presenting, engaging and branding are all extroverted activities, I’ve built my business teaching thousands of introverts over the years how to project themselves more confidently and effectively.
Essentially, only three things can give you presence:
When you learn how to powerfully project your voice and the right body language, and how to showcase your personality and emotional side more freely, you effectively develop your personal presence and your personal brand.
Developing your “Wow” factor
In terms of personal branding, your “wow” factor comes from learning about your unique personality type. There are four major personality quadrants, and your personality footprint is constellated around this simple and easy-to-understand personality model. From your personality type, we can identify your personal strengths and weaknesses, and your triggers, as well as your distinct and authentic communication, presentation and leadership styles.
You can use that knowledge to project yourself more consciously, and with greater presence and impact. You’re then ready to be a great brand ambassador for your organisation, or to build your personal or professional brand out in the world.
Take these first steps
Write down what you think you’re projecting out into the world. Then identify a few people you trust and ask them how they perceive you. Notice if there is a gap between these perceptions. What would help you to project your presence more authentically and powerfully?
Your personal brand may not be a choice, but your decision to develop it is. For personal brand development support, contact us at www.communicationguru.co.za