This week's brand new article carries on the theme of last week. I received many questions around the idea of how we are constantly communicating (even when we think we aren't) and how to have some control over your professional communication image. So this week I'm sharing more tips and strategies for you to help you walk your talk in an authentic and profitable manner.
Communication is quite simply an exchange of messages. This is why we are still communicating even when we are just standing around at a networking event talking to no one. How other's perceive you is what you are communicating. Do you look comfortable, confident, happy to be there - or not? Regardless of how you actually feel, how you appear to feel is what sends the message. This is why it's very common for shy people to be perceived by those around them as aloof or unfriendly. People are perceiving a fear of speaking up as disinterest and even hostility at times.
This idea is at the core of branding your business. You can take actions that promote a particular perception of your brand but at the end of the day your brand is what your market thinks it is (versus what you think it is or want it to be). You want to be deliberate and conscious in how you are communicating about your business so that how your market perceives you is aligned with who you are and how you want to be seen.
As a member of society, it's not possible to avoid being "on display" and as entrepreneurs we actually want to be out there in front of our prospects. So get out there and make the great impressions you want to make by keeping in mind the following:
- What does how you dress say about who you are? Does your appearance communicate the brand image you want it to? How would someone describe your appearance: conservative, creative, classic, fun - and does this fit with how you see yourself and how you want people to perceive you?
- What does your language say about who you are? Do you convey your messages in a positive or pessimistic way? Do you complain or are you solution focused? Do you gossip? Do you promote the work of others whom you admire as much as you promote yourself? What are the words you use most often? Do you speak casually, enthusiastically, in a fun loving manner, spiritually? How would others describe how you use language? Does this fit with how you see yourself and how you want others to see you?
- What does your community say about who you are? Do you spend time with successful entrepreneurs? Do you spend time with people who are walking their talk? Are you delighted with the brand images of your colleagues? Are you all work, all play or a little of both in your relationships with colleagues and associates?
- What does your written material say about who you are? What colors do you use in your marketing material? How do you talk about your work in your written materials? What words would someone use to describe your website? Do these match up with the words you want people to use to describe your website (and all your other materials)? What does your social networking profile say about who you are? Is there continuity among your written material in words and appearance?
Of course, it's not possible to counteract for every possible impression made on every individual. Don't worry about that. You simply want to show your true self to the people who are an ideal match for your business.
Remember to have fun with this!