Power of Perception

Happy Fall! I love this time of year (except all that ragweed). This month I would like to discuss knowing and promoting your personal brand. I recently gave a key note speech (my first!) called “The Power of Perception”. In my presentation, I discuss the power of perception as well as the importance of being able to recognize and promote one’s personal brand.
Perception is reality and your personal brand shapes how people perceive you. It does not take long for others to perceive you in a certain way… but you do have some power to shape that perception. Here are a few tips in doing that:
1.   Don’t assume that your boss, co-workers, or close friends know exactly what you do… and don’t assume that they know exactly what you do. You never know that your weakness could be a friend’s biggest strength unless you ask. Here’s an example: I reached out to a friend of mine to help me with my presentation and when I asked her, she said “Carey, of course I can help with that, I do that sort of work all the time.” I had no idea even though we had worked together and been friends for years. People have a lot on their minds and it’s your responsibility to remind them what you are capable of rather than wait and assume they know that they can go to you for help.
2.  There is a difference between articulating your value and bragging. Embrace it. In a conversation with a friend a few weeks ago, he mentioned that he is not comfortable talking about what he is good at. He used the word “bragging” which usually has a negative connotation. I responded with the simple question, “How are those around you going to know what you are good at and what you are capable of if you don’t tell them?” He was a bit taken aback by this question. We are taught to be modest at a young age and when “bragging” is appropriate and necessary, we are hesitant. It is possible to explain and demonstrate your strengths and value without coming across as arrogant. It takes time and practice but it is an important skill that can be mastered.
3.  Adopt a pitch or value proposition. A pitch is a simple statement that sets you apart and shows what makes you unique. When we film video resumes with our candidates, we ask one question – “what will a company gain by hiring you?” – this is how we begin the coaching process on a person’s pitch. As an employee or business owner, you need to know what your value proposition is.
4.  You have to quantify your work, Quantifiable results means that your contribution to the team or company outweighs the costs of having you as an employee. They are measurable results that articulate your value. My friend is in the fitness industry and his worth can be quantified by how many lives he has changed through diet and exercise changes as well as the total number of pounds his clients have lost. To be able to say he has worked with over 1500 clients who have dropped 100,000 pounds combined is quantifying his work!
5.  Shape your success stories. I often counsel job seekers to have their resumes be a compilation of success stories. Your resume should list your accomplishments and your skills. In order to shape your success stories, you need to compile a list of key accomplishments. Expand on these accomplishments by reaching out to friends, family, managers, clients and co-workers to get their opinions. It’s best to do this over the phone so you can hear their tone and words of encouragement.
     Your attitude and self-perception combine to create your personal brand. They also dictate the way you face challenges and experience the world. You can’t always feel good about yourself or just plaster on a smile when you’re uncertain about something but you can recognize that you are constantly making choices about how your perceive things and how you are perceived by others. Those choices can change your world in an instant.