Archive for the ‘Brand’ Category

Can You Tell These 10 Stories?

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Getting Ahead, interviewing, nance rosen, Personal BrandingOften times in a meeting with a prospective client or employer, you want to tell a success story. You want to speak about something that you have accomplished. You want to have it directly connect to their issues, products, services, or something they can relate to.

What if you don’t have anything?

What if you are talking to someone in an industry where you have no experience?

What if you have never done anything great – or anything at all – that communicates how they could anticipate you would perform for them on their specific issues?

When you freeze up and you’ve “got nothing,” what do you say?

You tell the truth. You tell the truth about who you are and what you have done. No, you don’t say, “I got nothing.” You don’t have “nothing.” You have a lifetime of everything you have done.

When I ask candidates a question about their experience, sometimes I see this wild, fearful look in their eyes. In that moment, I know they have forgotten the most important thing about everyone in the room (or on skype or by phone).

They forget we are all just people. Real people, speaking to real people.

Here’s the ideal thing to say.

“I am concerned that I don’t have a direct example to give you. Would it be all right if I shared an experience that I think is relevant, and would you tell me if I am making a connection that makes sense, given this position (or project)?”

You are going to get encouragement to share your experience. It’s up to you to have stories in mind, prepared in advance, that get to some core issues that are almost unavoidably involved in any type of work. This would be where your personal intelligence and personal brand development work will win the day (or the project or the position).

What could be relevant? Your ability to

  • Identify the root cause of a problem
  • Sift through resources to find relevant data and findings
  • Use information to develop different solutions
  • Model implications or consequences, positive and negative
  • Set up decision-making rules and use them
  • Present choices to decision-makers
  • Cooperate with others to implement a decision
  • Test and measure results
  • Capitalize on positive results and re-purpose successful programs
  • Bounce back from failure and persevere by revisiting your initial work

That’s ten stories you’ve got to have “on trigger,” ready to articulate with details that make your experience come alive, especially when you have no direct connection. Worst case, you might not be the fit they are looking for this time. However, you will have made an indelible impression, and be top of mind when you do fit.

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Did You Win a Grammy? Why Not?

Friday, February 13th, 2015

success, career, nance rosenCongratulations to everyone who won. And, congratulations to Kanye West who, persists in believing he is: “The One Who Decides What Is Sufficiently Creative to Win for Album of the Year.”

Per the Huffington Post: “Kanye West nearly interrupted Beck after the rock star won Album of the Year over Beyonce. Many outlets including HuffPost Entertainment, assumed West’s improve was a joking reference to when he cut off Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV VMAs.”

It wasn’t an act of mirth. Kanye ranted on in all seriousness about his decision-making powers being superior to the voters (who are the majority of all the recording artists in the academy). If you didn’t know, “The GRAMMYs are the only peer-presented award to honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position,” per the Grammy.org.

All Kanye hijinks aside, why didn’t YOU win?

Well, it could be many things.

  1. Maybe you didn’t record anything this year.
  2. Maybe you did, but you didn’t promote it.
  3. Maybe you did, but it was not your best effort.
  4. Maybe you did, but no one else thought it was good.

I’m not talking to just you musicians.

Joan Rivers, God rest her soul, won. She earned her Grammy for “Best Spoken Word Album (includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling.)”

So why didn’t you win? Undoubtedly you did some speaking this year. You told some stories. Maybe you wrote a line or two of prose. Technology couldn’t make it any easier to record and upload to everywhere music or any other sound is heard.

So you didn’t win because you didn’t do the work, and you didn’t enter.

What is a Grammy anyway?

It’s just recognition. So, I’m talking to you about a Grammy as a metaphor for what you should be going for, at this point in your career or business. Recognition for you might be a promotion, a salary increase, an investment in your venture, or a new position at a new company. It might be a comment on your blog or post. It might be more followers, friends or fans.

However you measure your “Grammy,” you’ve got to be in it, to win it.

You probably don’t have an official awards night or two or ten each year, in your company, industry, sport, family or any other sector of your life.

But, you’re missing out if you don’t have an awards ceremony every day, for you, by you and with you. Every day, you’ve got to set aside some time, when you are the focus of your consciousness and congratulation. Put a time on your daily calendar, when you review your accomplishments, your progress, your earnest hard work, or stretch toward a goal.

So get yourself a little Kanye going, and be “The One Who Decides You Are The Best Decision-Maker of What is Great. Do it everyday. And let winning becoming a habit.

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What Would Tom Brady Say About You?

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Brand Attributes, nance rosen, successLast Sunday, my favorite comment by any of the many sportscasters was this: “Brady was unstoppable when the pressure was strongest.”

What if we said that about you?

Are you unstoppable when the pressure is the strongest?

The strongest stress is when it all comes down to one action you must take in one moment, under whatever conditions are present, in front of whatever crowd has gathered (or not). Brady threw the touchdowns. Butler made the game-stopping interception, with 20 seconds to go. The players on both sides played against the odds, because they were all great players.

Sometimes the battle is just you and a deadline. Sometimes it’s you and a blank piece of paper. Sometimes it’s you and people waiting for you to say something profound that will advance their business or solve their problem. Sometimes it’s having the presence of mind to do the deal that can be done, rather than the deal you imagined you would have.

Sometimes you are out of money, out of time and out of patience. Your adversary or obstacle appears strong and unmovable. Sometimes the only options you have are the ones you can conjure up on your own. Sometimes the only option is to simply bear the anxiety, and trust your teammates.

Any of those moments could be the moment when the pressure is the strongest.

I like that kind of stress. Tom Brady does, too. Do you?

I call that good stress, versus bad stress.

The only difference between good and bad stress is what the stress means for you. Or perhaps better said, what does the stress do FOR you, rather than TO you?

“Every team has a journey and a lot of people lost faith in us … but we held strong, we held together, and it’s a great feeling.” Tom Brady said.

“I just had a vision that I was going to make a big play and it came true,” Malcolm Butler said of his goal-line interception that gave the Patriots its Super Bowl XLIX title. “Butler was kicked out of school early in his freshman season. He spent 2010 out of football, working at a Popeye’s and taking classes at Alcorn State,” per AL.com.

If your life has been more like Butler’s than MVP Brady – you have Brady’s respect and gratitude. What you may not know is pretty much all of us are rooting for you, to do what you do best under the stress you find yourself in.

Do what you do, the way you do, under whatever conditions you’re in. Save the day. Win the game. Get that report in on time. Sign the deal. And when you do, imagine the crowd roars for you!

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About Our Fight To Be Free of Fear

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

shutterstock_241659253-300x199Be relentless. Be resilient. Be able to repair.

Be ready to play hurt. Play tired. Play even with despair.

Everything can change in one moment.

Every thing passes. Every thing that is good and every thing that is bad does not last.

What have we learned from the latest terror campaign acted out on Paris and Nigeria? What have we learned from Boko Haram and other followers of religious or political texts that preach the elimination of anyone who does not follow those “teachings?” What have we learned from Iraq, Afghanistan, Cuba, Russia, the US and every other territory on the planet?

What have we learned that is so valuable that it should inform the way you live and work, and the way you express your personal brand?

We have learned not to be afraid. Being afraid makes you a resident of a permanent state of instability and some would say its neighbor: insanity. Afraid is not a place where you can reside if you believe that your freedom to make decisions for yourself is the best way to live. If you are among my tribe of intentional personal branders, you believe that freedom opens all doors and all possibilities. Of course that includes the best and the worst of times.

Although you may be in a heightened state of grief right now, in fact no place is absolutely safe nor has it been at any time. We have learned there is no safety if you shelter in place. If you try to remain quiet with the door shut.

We have learned if you are armed with a pencil, with the talent of a cartoonist and the intellectual capacity of a pundit, you are not safe. That if you shop in a market, you are not safe. We have even learned that a young girl may come into a town square, probably unknowingly carrying a bomb that kills and injures as many people as possible.

The actions of states or individuals can result in such tragedy. You cannot actually hold all the possibilities in your brain and stay calm. That does not mean you should look away from the truth, or act in spite of, or in any way fail to acknowledge it.

You should just take in what you can, when you can. Then do your best to live the best life you can. Remember to kiss the ones you love good-bye or tell them that you love them before you get off the phone or text. Support strangers in times of grief and in times of celebration, and do not be surprised that those occur quite close to each other.

We are mourning and celebrating. We are in despair and yet our faith in humanity has deepened.

Je vous suis. Nous sommes une.

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Personal Branding Pledge 2015

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

shutterstock_185166815-300x200I agree to be me

I accept the obligations and honor of my authenticity

I agree that this year, perhaps unlike any other

I will not bother to be a shadow, a cipher or a ghost in my life

I will not hobble myself with the expectations of another

Even if I face a force previously controlling or dominating

I wrest my freedom without apology for not capitulating

Not my pride, not my ego, not my fear, not my doubt

Holds any clout, any power, any authority or might

I don’t care if they stare or if I get sideways glances

I am here to be me and that means taking my chances

Chances others don’t even see because unlike me they are not free

And I am because I am, and I am because I am me

I have a truth to tell, not to sell or be sold on

I don’t have to be told to be bold on the battlefield I win on

I will find my way faster than an ordinary human could

Because I am filled with who I am and from now on I will be

Unshackled by faux rules or a mold that doesn’t suit me

The fog has lifted and revealed a silver city and gold-filled sea

This is my place, the massive playground where I enjoy prosperity

This is the year I write the story of the hero who I am.

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Why Your Boss Probably Hates You

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

angry bossAs a career coach specializing in communication, I’m presented with a wide spectrum of work stories. Some end in, “I don’t know why my boss hates me.”  Variations on this are:

  • My supervisor hates me
  • The project manager hates me
  • The recruiter seemed to hate me
  • Everybody at work hates me

Of course, hate is an awfully big and painful word. Most often given some details, I realize hate isn’t the appropriate word. It’s more accurate to describe the situation as:

  • I get a weird feeling from her
  • There’s a lot of tension at the office
  • I don’t like the way I’m treated
  • I don’t get recognized for doing my job

So it’s not hate, but there are a lot of negative feelings between managers and staff, or business owners and employees. A lot of suspicious, unfriendly recruiters.

Where do these negative feelings come from? What could be the origin of so many employees feeling underappreciated and undervalued?

You probably have never done anything wrong at work, but consider all the people who have come before you. They trained your boss to be skeptical, distrusting, and irritated by the mistakes, waste, slacking and even outright lies some employees dole out.

I got a call on Sunday evening from a business owner as he was getting off the roof of his building, taking care of the endless chores associated with running a physical therapy practice. He had cleaned the exterior of the building, swept out the parking lot, folded towels, put away piles of files that were laying behind the front desk, and was about to take a shower before completing the charts he prepares each evening before he meets clients the next day.

“I pay a lot of people,” he said. “When they’re broke or in trouble, they come to me for loans – and I always say yes. I accommodate their school schedules, friends’ wedding plans that take them off shift, sick days and everything else they feel free to ask of me. They ask me for advice, and I always make time for them.”

“Now, I’m doing maintenance and chores that the cleaning crew left, my staff overlooked and it’s all things my clients see. Some days it’s really clear that no one really cares about me or this company. Maybe a few people do on occasion, but four years is a long time to learn that unless you’re hard on people, they take it easy.”

No, this doesn’t mean YOU take it easy at work. It just means people who can’t avoid being held accountable like a manager or business owner may be worn out by the staff who came before you.

Getting a weird vibe at work? Make a contract with yourself to do a really good job everyday and to look for one more thing to do, that’s outside your specific duties. Let your boss or the recruiter learn that you are that one in a million, the person who really understands that work is more than a paycheck.

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What’s Wrong With Your Image?

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

NRBimage
You may not realize you have an image.
And the image that exists for you may not be ideal. The goal of reputation management and personal branding is to intentionally and authentically put together an image that is coherent, consistent and compelling.

What distinguishes your image from your personal brand or reputation? Your image is more diffused. It encompasses much more about you, although it plays a big role in your personal brand and reputation.

You may be very surprised that how you earn your living is the LEAST important aspect of your image.

I have described my new concept to many of my coaching clients, and they are surprised at what matters to recruiters, hiring managers, and even their bosses and co-workers – much less all their contacts.

So I created a simple way for everyone to think about the image we hold in our heads about you and the other people who pass through our lives, businesses, networking events and more.

I – What are you IMPROVING? What can you say you are actively learning about, studying, seeking more information about, and otherwise trying to add to or modify about yourself? Could be something like learning a language. Or something smaller, like learning good manners for cross-cultural business etiquette.

M – What are you MANAGING? What financial matters, education courses, workload, community commitments, family circumstances, and more are under your control? You are your Chief Life Officer, after all. What would we be impressed to know you manage now?

A – What are you ADVISING other people about? What expertise, knowledge, or special skills are you imparting to others? Do you do some informal or formal mentoring? Could you be a resource on a topic that another person or business needs to know about? Do you use social media to get out that information for free, or perhaps do you exchange services or even do it for free (right now)?

G – What are you GIVING? Where is your social philanthropy, your cause-oriented work, your support for people in need, pets in need, the planet itself or simply in your own family and community?

E – Finally, how are you EARNING your living? What are the large (and small) jobs you have and have held in the past? Do you do more than one thing? That’s so good for us to hear. Perhaps you hold down a full time job and do freelance work in another field. I have a client who manages a small business, she does bookkeeping for it and another company, plus she is a dance instructor. How impressive is that? That’s real multi-tasking.

When you fail to let us know these great things about you, something’s missing from your image. We may overlook you, just because someone else IS prepared to talk about these major dimensions of their life and personal brand.

Pepper your conversation with all these dimensions of your image. If you want to try out this formula for yourself, just jot down your thoughts for each letter, and send your IMAGE to me at Nance@NanceRosen.com. Subject line: IMAGE.

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What Secret Weapon is Hanging in the Air?

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

21454525_s(2)
Scientific American cites some shocking news about time
. The more quickly you have to respond to a question or report results, the more likely you are to lie. Or, consider the reverse. The more time you take, the less likely you are to lie.

Lying is in the air. Literally, the fewer breaths you take, the more lies come out of your mouth.

Mentally hitting pause is your secret weapon!

Want to tell the truth, so you don’t have to remember what you pretended to know? To quote Faith Hill: just breathe.

That is the only way to avoid the “lying bias.” That is the tendency to lie when put on the spot. Keep in mind, lying undermines everything else about your personal brand. I’d rather have an employee who’s slow, mediocre and annoying, than a liar who’s fast, talented and charismatic.

So, take your time before responding to your boss or a co-worker who appears to be pressuring you for something. The question might be as simple as: “Do you want to go to lunch with us?” “Do you want to put in $25 for Penelope’s baby gift?”

The question might have bigger ramifications for our trust in you. Your boss might ask: “Did you visit all of competitors when you were at the trade show?” “When was the last time you called on your prospects?”

The problem with lying is not just a moral one. The problem with lying is what happens to you when we find out the actual facts. You aren’t just wrong, you might be fired. Demoted. No longer sent on those special projects. Experience a seriously stalled career.

How do you prevent a neuro-chemically induced, reflexive lie?

I advise my clients to frame their brain before responding to ANY question. I use two techniques:

  1. Silently repeat this mantra when you know you’re about to be questioned: “Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it.” That gives your brain ready to open its file cabinets and come up with the true answer.
  2. Have a trigger word or phrase that allows you to speak while you are thinking. “On trigger” is an expression I use to describe automatic words and phrases that come out of your mouth with no thought at all, so it appears you are responsive, and not just stalling.

When you are asked a question, say aloud, “Let me think for a moment.”

This not only lets people know you heard them, it also commands your brain to do exactly what you said.  After all, your brain only needs a moment to actually find information that it stored awhile back.

There’s an old expression. When in doubt: deny, deny, deny.

Let’s change that. When in doubt, breathe.

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