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.
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.
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.
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.
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