Would you like to relate to others? Share your value without sounding like you are bragging, arrogant or even judgmental? Bond with strangers? Network better? Bring in new clients, or grow in your career choice?
You have heard that success happens when preparation meets opportunity. Be prepared your image as well as your brand story (and stories) need to be authentic and determined prior to starting your day, and especially before any meetings.
I love to share how one of my favorite political heroes prepared for each day. Former President Reagan had a set of index cards he carried with him. Have you heard about his index card program? Throughout his career, President Reagan used his incredible sense of humor to influence voters, establish great friendships and create loyalty. He had a stack of index cards filled with quotes and one liners which he would refer to before speeches and meetings. He did not need to remember each line, all he had to do was read his cards and share a story or quote when it applied to the situation. He prepared for his meetings and knew that being relational was vital to being heard!
The top line of the one on this page says, “Nothing like a vote in the U.N. to tell you who your friends used to be.” That is funny! I can personally relate to his view on friendships. How about you?
He was still genuine, but always prepared to create lasting moments. Long after he had left the room and the speech was over, people would remember the laugh, the giggle and the way they felt. Joy is an incredible bonder and laughter can lift the mood of any meeting.
While speaking with a client this week during our personal brand coaching session, we started discussing her business and goals for her company. I shared with her how her fashion is not just a personal statement but one that elevates her company as well. We developed a step by step plan that will help her reach her professional goals and allow her to increase her success in business. She is a brilliant woman, has started a new company and has an interesting life with many stories. She is, however, quite the introvert in a world and a career where it is important to be an extrovert. Her concern centered around how she would share her brand story, be approachable, create a larger network and encourage people to be interested in her even when she was not saying anything at all? How about you, your career, your professional brand and success – Do people pass you by in group situations? If so, help is on the way. What is your personal brand? What does your image tell people? Non-verbal communication? You need to know.
Here are a few guidelines that I have taught my corporate and individual clients for several years. If you are an introvert lean in here. This is just for you!
- Know your brand story what you do doesn’t change, but how you share it does depending upon the person you are talking to. (If you don’t know what your brand story is call us, we can help you craft the story of your life to create the greatest impact).
- Be discerning with the people you are speaking with and find a way to hear about their value while being an intentional listener. This creates stronger bonds. Search for the common bond when talking with someone you don’t know lead the conversation with questions and comments about them or their business and try to find a place to relate to their story. I was at a networking even recently and met a fantastic person. We bonded over having step children a valuable moment that had nothing to do with business. Other people were trying to obtain this person’s contact information for their own personal gain I was interested in the person. Who do you think is getting coffee? Here is the key: Your interest must be genuine. A great listener is often the one that is finally heard.
- Do you leave people with greater joy once they leave your presence? People remember you for how you made them feel. Leaving others with joy, a good laugh or a good story creates a much stronger bond than does talking about all the things you have accomplished. No one really has a boring life when you can humbly listen to their story. Life has value, and everyone wants to be valued. A little listening and joy go a long way.
- Ask others questions that encourage a deeper conversation. Do not be trivial or boring. We all have some common interests, when you find something that is a common interest, use that to create a shared moment. Be genuine when you ask and when you listen.
- Do not just ask for a business card without having a real conversation. Card exchange moments are great when they are part of meeting someone and not just a means to business. Write a few notes about your conversation on the card as a reminder and then send a handwritten note to follow-up after you have had a chance to think it through.
- Be like Reagan: Have some stories, anecdotes or funny sayings that you can share at the drop of a hat. Don’t divide your audience with unrequested personal opinions, but find a way to bond that edifies others do not tear others down. Positive people are addictive and we love to be around them.
- Determine in advance what you want to be known for. What differentiates you? Do you know how to share your differentiating factor within groups without giving others the feeling that you are selling them something?
- You have great value. Be aware that your image tells a story and immediately shares with others that what you have to say is of value to them.
- If you are an introvert, your image should tell others that what you have to say is interesting. It should draw people toward you. You are your greatest painting and a picture says a 1000 words. Be bold and inviting.
- People work with people they like. Your fashion plays a vital role in telling others you are, or are not, approachable.
- A dark aura and attitude is never good. Smile more and walk in confidence. Dark moods and dark suits can signal gloom and doom. Your dark attire may tell others you are too serious or are a rain cloud waiting to dump on someone. (Remember smiles and accessories can help with this).
- Your clothing says you are professional or not. There is never a reason to give up professional attire.
- If your clothing is out of date think 1985 boxy suit jackets others may assume you and your ideas are as well.
- Wearing business casual clothing to a professional networking event is not the best idea. People assume you didn’t know better or that you are there for the food and drink.
- If you have to apologize for your attire during, before or after a meeting you have already lost. Be prepared for success!
- Image creates trust. Or it doesn’t. Can your image be trusted?
- Build relationships first with the understanding that it takes time. The best friendships and business partnerships are formed when you invest your time in them. Start today, be patient and remember everyone has a story to share.
- How do people introduce you? When I joined the Nashville Rotary I had to think of something to share in a quick quote about me. I can’t remember the exact theme of the question I was asked, but I included a quote from my grandfather. He used to tell me that I could only be having a bad day if I was being chased up a hill, in the snow, by Nazis who were shooting at me. Other than that, he would tell me I must be having a good day. I often say, there are no Nazis around me so I’m ok. People still approach me and ask me about my grandfather, that story and my heritage. Ask me and I’ll finish the story! It had nothing to do with my business, but it was memorable and was a conversation starter with many people.
- Share your goals and dreams with people who are really interested in you or your business – Or share a story that will benefit others. All of us have made mistakes, so every story does not have to have a great ending, but if it is interesting and shares some wisdom it can be a key moment. I am blessed to have met some incredibly successful people in my life and one in particular who sits on multiple corporate boards around the globe. I once heard her say that if you don’t share where you would like to go, you may miss someone who could have helped you get there. If she does it, you should do it too. (Btw, my goal is to become the premier brand, image and fashion company in the United States and – and I will tell anyone who will listen).
- Lastly, and it bears repeating Don’t be judgmental without knowing the whole story. There are always different sides to every story and we do not all have to agree, but we can all be respectful of our diversity. A know-it-all is always boring! You do not have to be in agreement but you can always listen with attentive ears and an open mindYour Personal Brand and Company Brand must be built and then be fortified. Let MODA help you to build your Personal, Corporate and Employee Brand. This is what we do. This is our passion.
We would love the opportunity to serve you and your company.
Contact us today for more information on Personal Brand Coaching, Fashion/Image Consulting, Corporate Seminars, Workshops and Keynotes.
Email info@modaimageconsulting or call 615.656.4279 for more information on individual or corporate services.
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