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6 Ways To Build Your Personal Brand Whenever You Speak

6 Ways To Build Your Personal Brand Whenever You Speak

Personal branding is the new hot topic. Everybody has a personal brand and in today’s age of never ending communication, that brand is more visible than ever. Transparency is the name of the game and for the most part appearance is everything.

Everybody is trying to put their best foot forward in order to appear as valuable as possible because a valuable personal brand facilitates network building and opportunity.

One of the most powerful ways to portray a valuable personal brand lies in how we communicate with others. Looks and overall appearance matter but if you are unable to communicate well with others, the value of your brand goes to waste.

Effective communication is an essential skill set for any individual. In fact, you could go so far as to say that effective communication is one of the pillars of success.

Here are six ways to build your personal brand whenever you speak.

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1. Make eye contact when you are speaking with others.

They say that the eyes are the window to the soul and we would have to agree. Eye contact is everything. It is often the case that your audience can tell a lot about you based solely on eye contact.

Lack of eye contact during a conversation can be interpreted as a lack of confidence or even dishonesty, while strong eye contact can be interpreted as confidence or conviction.

Most importantly, having strong eye contact conveys trust and legitimacy. It conveys to your audience that you are confident in your words and that you stand by what you are saying.

A powerful personal brand is largely dependent upon gaining the trust of the people you are speaking with.

2. Speak clearly and value your words.

With technology and social media integrated in to every aspect of our daily lives, it’s getting increasingly difficult to get people’s undivided attention. Furthermore, people’s attention spans are shorter than ever before.

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In fact, one study shows that over the last 15 years, people’s attention spans have dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds. Clearly, time is of the essence.

It does not take much to lose your audience’s attention. As a result, you do not have time to beat around the bush. You must speak clearly and value your words.

This will enable you to communicate your message as efficiently as possible. Keeping it short and sweet will have others viewing you and your brand in a favorable light.

3. Remain humble and give credit where it’s due.

One could argue that there is no such thing as individual success, because we all rely on help and inspiration along the way. Acknowledging the resources or mentors that you receive help and inspiration from is a powerful brand builder because it keeps you grounded.

You do not want to be perceived as a know it all or as someone who is too good for teamwork. In reality, successful communication is all about connecting people so that they can work together to reach a common goal.

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Again, transparency is the name of the game. By being open and admitting when you received help, you will earn greater trust and respect from your audience.

4. Smile when you speak.

A positive demeanor will always enhance your brand in the eyes of your audience. People do not want to listen to someone who is too serious. It can be intimidating. It can be boring.

They want excitement. They want to listen to someone who is encouraging them and offering them a positive outlook. Smiling is another way to gain trust from others, because it communicates that you are confident in your beliefs and that you are excited about the potential value you have to offer.

5. Ask for the opinions of others.

You need to communicate with other people in order to build your personal brand. Why not ask their opinion? Asking for the opinions of others is another way to remain humble. Furthermore, it is a way to ensure that you are not “preaching to the choir”, for lack of a better term.

You do not want to be talking to people. You want to be having a dialogue with people. Asking for others’ opinions is a way to encourage participation and it shows that you truly value what they have to say.

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For instance, if you are working with others on a project, you can ask them, “What are your thoughts on this strategy?”

6. Stay on task.

This is particularly relevant for the professional world. Anytime you are speaking with others, you often have a goal or task at hand. This is what is most important, especially if you have a deadline.

You do not have time to lose focus. Your conversation must remain focused and related to the task at hand. Staying on topic is a great way to build your personal brand in the eyes of others because it shows that you are a no nonsense individual.

It shows that you are a valuable asset because you have the discipline to remain focused on what is truly important. When you are working with teammates, you could ask, “How will this help us moving forward?”

Featured photo credit: University of Salford Press Office via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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