Archive for November, 2009

You Speak, I Cry Inside. Personal Branding Never Sleeps.

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

It’s time to do a mind-sweep, because what you think is gushing out of your mouth and into your texts, tweets, posts, and email. That self-talk you’ve got going is killing your chances to connect with the opportunities that are all around you. Personal branding is a 24/7/365 effort – because if you do it right, your message is being carried even while you sleep or watch Tim have his first breakdown on Project Runway.

It’s not that you’re thinking bad thoughts. You’re just not thinking about growing your business, getting a job or landing a promotion – unless you’ve been sent an email to schedule an interview.

Opportunity doesn’t wait

Opportunity - How that’s been working for you?

Opportunity - How that’s been working for you?

But really, the best opportunities don’t say: “Hey, it’s me! Opportunity! Can you get your mind off working or texting or whatever else you are doing, and come take a look at this?”

If the best opportunities did that, they’d attract 5000 really qualified candidates and the endless stream of resumes you and all your competitors send, only to receive back an auto-responder acknowledging “your interest in our company.” How that’s been working for you?

If you’re not ready for every opportunity to get attention for the things you do well and demonstrate the qualities that define your personal brand, then you are not locked and loaded on success. But, your mind may be lagging behind real time.

Competent but not connected

I had a car wreck-like encounter on Saturday, when I introduced two healthcare practitioners who need each other in order to grow their businesses. I am a consultant to both. I know unquestionably they have the core competencies, resources and like-mindedness that will transform each of their lives.

These are both outstanding men in their fields, with strong personal and business brands. I happen to not only

How often do you have car wreck-like encounters?

How often do you have car wreck-like encounters?

consult for each of them on building those brands, I see them as a patient. They and some other folks are trying to avoid my having back surgery, and help me deal with searing pain that feels like a forest fire is burning, wildly out of control on my right leg. So, they know each other from me, and their visibility in the market. Plus in separate conversations with me, they’ve each expressed interest in how they might work together.

On Saturday, we get together to review the “nerves gone wild” leg and perhaps talk a bit of business. After we non-invasively poke my leg with a laser, the first doctor opens the business conversation, in a pretty direct manner. He asks us to walk through his space. He tells us he’s got a chance to take over more space next door. He asks how much space the other practitioner needs for equipment and patient care. And, so the opportunity to discuss how their practices might come together and share patients commences!

Uh, no. It does not. This simply isn’t the way my other client rolls. He’s still thinking about my leg. And, he doesn’t keep his architectural specs in his head. End of conversation.

They shake hands and talk about heat versus ice and agree ice is better.

I’m in pain (business pain, I can’t feel my leg because business dealings flood me with adrenalin, which translates to a state of consciousness where I, like a very evolved yogi, could have a stake in my leg or my head and not feel it). I cry inside for the lost opportunity, and the pain it will take to create a hole in their schedules for another meeting.

Here’s the lesson

The Lesson...

The Lesson...

Sometimes you are standing right in front of the opportunity that will transform your life, but your mind is doing other work. You’re not trained to mind-sweep away everything that doesn’t matter right now, in order to focus on what does matter.

And, sometimes you are frittering away your time rather than twittering thoughts that will get you the kind of attention that transforms your life.

Consider why you should mind-sweep at a moment’s notice. You are always just six degrees of separation – or less – from exactly what you want. That’s why personal branding is a 24/7/365 responsibility to yourself and everyone who relies on you. It’s why we introduced the concept of networking and engage in it.

Explaining how to see opportunity is not like explaining how your microwave works or why Donald Trump is suddenly selling vitamins in a MLM video. The opportunity to open your mouth or tap on the keys and leverage your personal brand is so pervasive and so often overlooked, I could cry. And, I’m tough. I don’t cry when my leg goes afire.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Always have your goals in mind.
  2. Identify and memorize what you would say if the great deal-maker in the sky presented you with the one person who can make your goals your reality.
  3. Take advantage of every interaction, on-ground or online, to move you closer toward what you really want. Sure, they may be tiny, incremental steps – but it’s better than your great ideas, strengths and plans being stuck in your head, and losing the opportunity to advocate for yourself.

Now, do the mind-sweep. What do you have to say for yourself? I’d like to hear it – along with 10,000+ other readers – in your comments below.

Nance Rosen is the author of Speak Up! & Succeed. She speaks to business audiences around the world and is a resource for press, including print, broadcast and online journalists and bloggers covering social media and careers.

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If You Can Say It, You Can Live It

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

If you can’t tell people what you do, then you won’t be doing it much longer.

If you can’t articulate what you want to do, then you won’t ever be doing it. But, if you can – well, I found out you are one in about 150 people who can complete this sentence:

I am: ______________________ .

On Sunday I spoke to an audience at an event sponsored by the LA Urban Beauty Connection, supporting two philanthropies and drawing a cool, professional crowd that came out to hear experts present on the latest trends in fashion, technology and business. My topic was The Real Secret to Success in Careers and Business, How to Stay Up in a Down Economy. Of course, I was there to talk about personal branding.

Personal branding foundational work.

Typically, I stand on a stage and talk at people (it’s more exciting than that, but basically I’m the show until Q&A or the workshop portion of my personal branding presentations). But, this forum was much more “theater in the round.” I was given the opportunity to do interactive, live coaching for people who had considered but never really hunkered down to do the foundational work of personal branding.

So, I opened with my signature line: “Everyday you have the opportunity to say the one thing that will change your life. I guarantee by the time we’re done today, you’ll know what to say, and where and when to say it.”

Five statement in the personal branding process

What a great way to spend a Sunday, I thought. It was like magnifying the coaching that I do with one person, but having all these people learn from process.  I started as planned, by picking one person, but when she seemed a little lost, I move to another. I wound up challenging five people in the audience to complete these 5 statements that are requisite for the personal branding process:

  1. I am:
  2. I excel at:
  3. I do this via these methods/approaches/tactics:
  4. Here’s an example:
  5. Here’s what I’d like to do more of:

Obviously, I want the answers you’d give in a business setting, or at least an environment that would make an handimpression on people attending an event like the one we were at. This is a networking opportunity. This is when you’re going to meet strangers; people whom you suspect are candidates for developing valuable relationships. If you do nothing else: you’ve got to have a crisp, clear and compelling way of communicating what you do, how you do it, and what you’d like to do more of (or what you like to do that is a departure from what you’ve got going on now).

When I posed this challenge to five people picked randomly from the audience, it started to feel like I was playing “stump the band,” or more like “stump the brand.” We all were shocked at how these obviously accomplished people were flummoxed. I re-started the presentation by using myself as an example. Here’s my “I am.”

I am a personal branding expert. CNBC calls me “America’s top job coach.” I speak to audiences and coach individuals on how to package their unique qualities, skills, aspirations, and experiences in a crisp and memorable way. I teach them how to raise their visibility in every form of media, including social media and the web – and also on conventional channels like television, radio and print. This results in their getting job offers, new clients, selling products like books and their own speaking gigs, and getting sponsors for programs – or other goals we set. I often leverage the services of my company, Pegasus Media World. For example, this year we helped a first-time author produce a bestseller that made the list on BusinessWeek, the Wall Street Journal and Amazon. I’m hoping to help more people find great satisfaction and success, and realize their career and ambitions, in business and media.

Now, was that so hard?

Maybe it is. If you are between jobs, or in a job that isn’t your ideal gig, or you’ve never been put in the position to develop new clients, you may not be ready to take advantage of networking opportunities. And, these opportunities don’t just come when you show up at an event. They’re all around you, like when you strike up a conversation with someone on the train or at Thanksgiving dinner, which might include people who know you – but remember when you were all excited about winning MVP at your little league tournament.

Getting what you want.

hi5

You can’t get people to pay attention to your accomplishments or goals if you can’t articulate them in a crisp, clear and compelling way

You can’t get what you want if you can’t get attention for the right things. You can’t get people to pay attention to your accomplishments or goals if you can’t articulate them in a crisp, clear and compelling way. You’ve got to tell your story so your “audience” understands how you provide a benefit to other people or companies. They’ve got to be able to say, “Oh, so if I know someone who needs X, YOU are the greatest resource of X that I can connect to that person!”

I guess you know what I want you to do now. And, if you’re not in the ideal job – so you don’t want more of it – then consider how you can connect relevant current or past experience with the future one you desire, so you can prepare your own endings to my five starter sentences.

For example, one of my volunteers from Sunday’s audience is a production assistant on The Bachelor. He wants to move into public relations. After the first depressing round of “can this networking opportunity be saved?” he totally got it.

We connected his proven ability to problem-solve under pressure, handle lots of personalities with grace, and hisjump familiarity with media demands, with his new career aspirations.

Just in the time we were together – and doing the work in front of the whole group at this event – he was able to articulate this so persuasively, that the miracle of networking took place before our eyes. Another member of the audience leapt up and said, “you’ve got to call my friend who’s with this major PR firm here in LA. She’ll love you – talk to me before you leave. I’ve got to get you all her contact information. She is looking for someone exactly like you.”

Get ready for your own happy ending today. Take my 5-sentence challenge to start or re-start your personal branding effort. With the holiday dinner coming up, it will beat re-living the last game of the series when your 13-year old teammates carried you off the field on their shoulders. You’ll not only get to sit at the grown-ups’ table. You’ll belong there.

Nance Rosen is the author of Speak Up! & Succeed. She speaks to business audiences around the world and is a resource for press, including print, broadcast and online journalists and bloggers covering social media and careers.

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Conversations: The Other Social Media

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

As far as houseguests go, the one we had this week was benign. No extra meals to cook, no extra housework, and really no disruption in our lives as usual. However, he was unnerving. He didn’t speak to us. He wasn’t mad. He just didn’t make conversation, and frankly, he’s been here before and I just wasn’t up for working that hard in my own home. So, I was pretty quiet, too. Very strange behavior because my personal brand banks on communication. Talking is right there with air and water when it comes to my survival

The Quiet Visitor

The Quiet Visitor

instinct.

The young man came from New York City to attend a huge sporting event in Los Angeles, where he works in the media as a freelance sportscaster. He has a Clear Channel radio program for an hour each week and occasionally writes for the sports section of an important metropolitan newspaper. His personal brand is well established in his field, and there’s really no one in his field he can’t access: owners, trainers, athletes, pundits, analysts, and other members of the media.

He is a friend of a friend who is staying with us this month, a joyful, full of life young woman who is in the same field. She has an almost equally well-known personal brand, in the same sport, and she is at 24, a decade and a half younger than the man. She is confident, beautiful and most important to me, as a civilian not involved in their sport: she can create conversation with anyone. She makes you feel good when you speak to her. She’s interested in your life, your pets, your job, your clients, and your aspirations – at least as far as you know. You feel like you are a very important person when you talk to her.

I take her conversational generosity for granted because I know her very well. She’s the type of person I make time for, even on my busiest day. Nearly everyone I introduce her to, always wants to get more deeply connected to her. People fight for “networking” time with her, not because she’ll have a job or deal to recommend, but simply because she is so engaging. She turns down a whole lot of invitations simply because there is just so much time in her week.

Her brand “personality” comes across the same way in her social media communication. She has a ton of fans and friends.  None of this interaction is hard for her, she says. She has a tremendous curiosity that drives her to find out more about anyone or anything, when she has the opportunity. It might not turn out to be important, nourishing, or even vaguely useful, but she doesn’t know until she engages.

She also values everyone she meets: the president of a professional sports league and my cleaning lady, for example. Our house was cleaner this week, because she was here (and not because she’s neat – she’s not).

Organic Friend Requests

Organic Friend Requests

Your ability to make conversation is critical, if you need to connect with other people in order to succeed in business or life. That should come as no surprise. But, the widespread inability to create conversation is surprising.

Your ability to smile and project positive energy is critical, if you are seeking work, clients, promotions, or people to come over to your point of view. A smile is your signal, like the beam from a lighthouse. It draws people to you.

Why? Because looking down into your phone, indulging your shy side or appearing aloof doesn’t generate: “Yes, I’d love to work with you!”

Dreamworks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg in Sunday’s NY Times says the quality he looks for most in a potential new hire is “somebody who believes in themselves. If you don’t have a strong sense of you are and what you have to offer, and a strong conviction about that, then you cannot expect somebody else to have that for you.”

The only thing I’d add to Katzenberg’s comment is this. If you can’t connect on anything other than your skill set, you may be very lucky to get something, but not get anything richer, broadening and more lucrative once you get in. The young man whom we hosteled this week has been doing the same thing for 15 years, and has not moved an inch forward in his chosen field. He finds his life both stable and depressing. It shows.

Here’s what to do now

How To...

How To...

1.   Make a list of 5 questions you can ask anyone. Hint: with the job situation right now, switch from “what do you do?” to “what keeps you busy?”

2.    Talk to 5 strangers a day. Remember, talking might just be: “Have you tried Starbucks’ ‘perfect’ oatmeal? I love oatmeal, so ‘perfect’ is a really high bar for me.”

3.    Find your curiosity bone. If you have to connect it to your ability to get a job or build your personal brand, connect that wire in your brain. If it feels uncomfortable to approach people in a friendly manner and ask them questions, it’s a sign you’re doing something right.

Lastly, a plea from my sparkling young woman friend who looks over my shoulder right now. She says, “If you update your tanning color or your haircut – change your Facebook profile photo.” Otherwise, when she meets you in real life for the first time, she has no idea who you are. So, she’ll pose her signature newcomer questions, and miss the opportunity to greet you like the old friend you are. Believe me, that greeting makes your day. It’s an indelible part of her personal brand.

Nance Rosen is the author of Speak Up! & Succeed. She speaks to business audiences around the world and is a resource for press, including print, broadcast and online journalists and bloggers covering social media and careers.

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Your Personal Brand is Nothing if Not Global

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

The U.S. used to stand for “no one else matters but US.” Then came Bollywood, and its 1.2 billion audience members, including pretty much the best engineers in the world.

And then came Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and its audience of 1.3 billion consumers of concrete and Hong Kong. Oh, and Kate Beckinsale was crowned the sexiest woman in the world, per Esquire. ScarJo and Megan, you have your place, but audiences around the world, heck even here, find celebrities more desirable if their personal brands are born outside the US.

U.S. Citizens:

Your earning power and net worth are dependent on seeing yourself as employable by anyone, anywhere. Your

Is your Brand Global?

Is your Brand Global?

personal brand must embrace that you are a world citizen, not because it’s the polite thing to be or because global warming is melting another continent’s ice caps and you’ll miss out on seeing polar bears.

Right now, your best job may be with a multinational not based in the US, a US company that is globally oriented or any business where you’re not just serving the locals. Unless your personal brand is to intentionally cater to the locals, like running a neighborhood diner, which is incredibly cool and could totally rock a gentrifying couple of blocks. Of course, if your personal brand is entrepreneurial then you might be thinking about franchising your concept, so remember Subway has more overseas stores than domestic.

Global thinking isn’t just for brands like Coke, Nike and Disneyland anymore. Increasingly, it’s for your personal brand and mine. My cousin Allan started out running a classic Mustang parts business in Long Beach. His personal brand was big with the membership of a few local Mustang car clubs and the classic car geeks at swap meets. Five years later, he makes most of his money shipping cars overseas. He’s built his personal brand by being a rock solid supplier of cherry condition cars to big money bidders in Australia, New Zealand, the EU, the UAE and of course, Asia.

So citizens of the US, make your personal brand global friendly. Read a business etiquette book that tells you

How up-to-date is your passport?

How up-to-date is your passport?

the rules in the places where you won’t find familiar faces. Like how you should show up on time to German meetings but stay calm when you’re the only one in the conference room in Rio and it’s two hours later than, oh let’s just say you anticipated. If you had the oil, fresh water and Olympics that Brazil has, you might be more casual than concerned when the US pays you a call.

Here’s what you do now

  1. Pick a daily newspaper website from 5 nations – only one of them from your home country. Read at least the headlines. Yes – most of them are translated into English (we still are the language of air traffic control).
  2. Look for your passport, and if it’s time to renew it, take a photo that makes you look like a trustworthy business person, and not like you at 19, needing a haircut and living on Ramen noodles.
  3. Pick 3 multinational companies to follow online, so you can see what it’s like to be part of the whole world – and not think you are the whole world.

About Nance:  Nance Rosen is the author of Speak Up! & Succeed. She speaks to business audiences around the world and is a resource for press, including print, broadcast and online journalists and bloggers covering social media and careers.

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