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3 Quick Tips For Creating A Personal Brand

3 Quick Tips For Creating A Personal Brand
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Branding isn’t just for businesses. You can build your own personal brand as well. Personal branding is a way to build a presence so that people see your skills and abilities. If you are looking to advance your career, personal branding is exactly what you need. Building your personal brand will help advance your career.

I’ve been in the technology industry for 10+ years with a major focus on software testing. It was only four years ago that I started blogging. Prior to that, my only writing experience was small stuff that I had written in elementary, high school and college. When I first started blogging my articles were about software development and testing. Eventually I branched out to articles with tips on career advice. A vast majority of my articles for both tech and business center around personal experiences. So, I created a space for myself where I became the subject matter expert.

Here are my top 3 tips for creating your personal brand:

Learn and Explore

You have a niche. It is something amazing if you may have not discovered it yet. If you are trying to advance yourself in your career, the best thing to do is find out what you are great at. It should also coincide with something you actually like about your career.

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For example, if you are a front-end web developer, that means you are responsible for the layout and design of a website. You are probably familiar with CSS, JavaScript or HTML. You’re probably also familiar with liquid, fluid or responsive design. That’s great but you need to dig deeper and learn more about them.

Do research to learn more and be sure to think outside of your job description and your past experience. Practice anything new you’ve learned on your own so that it comes from “real world” experience.

Combine these new things you’ve learned with the things you already know and boom! Not only does this strategy help create better blog posts, but it helps you to advance your career.

It also makes for better conversations in meetings, simply because you’ve become the subject matter expert at the table!

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Write and Educate

You have the ability to write. If you feel like you don’t, either research or take a class. If you feel like paying for writing classes, I’d recommend writing workshops. There’s some online and in-person classes. There’s also 1 on 1 classes.

You may have many first drafts when you start writing and that’s ok. You may go days where you are working on the same article and that is okay as well. If you are writing to educate others you need to do everything to ensure that your article is clear and concise.

You also need to ensure that it is filled with great examples and works cited where necessary. You should also decide who your audience is for your niche, beginners or advance? I personally like writing for both.

If I feel that an article should be more advanced, I’ll write a “part 2” as well. This works out great for three reasons: beginners can follow both articles and understand them both, advanced users can skip to the second article, and you’ll have another blog post under your belt. Obviously, you should make sure that the posts are linked to one another so that users can click back and forth when necessary.

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Publish and Social Network It

You must believe in yourself! Everything starts with self belief. Imagine me virtually grabbing you and shaking you like the guy from the movie “Airplane,” when the woman started to panic. I’m basically telling you to get yourself together—you can do this!

If you would like to test the waters of self publishing your own articles, you can create a personal blog on sites such as, tumblr.com or wordpress.org and publish.

You can publish an article on LinkedIn to immediately reach followers within your industry to see what they may be interested in reading.

Creating your own personal blog gives you the ability to create sample articles to showcase. Once you’ve gotten comfortable, I suggest that you contact any publication that you read on a daily basis. Or google publications within your niche to see if they are accepting contributing writers. Read their guidelines on contributing and submit articles. After your articles are published make sure you “social network” the heck out of it. Post them on every platform that you are on. You should also ask the people you know to do the same.

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Creating your own personal brand is not difficult. You’ve probably been doing it already simply by asking for LinkedIn recommendations.

It’s important to know that in order to stay relevant in your industry you must continuously be focused on doing everything to create and enhance your personal brand. I like to tell people, “don’t just be job smart, be career smart.” Make sure that you make a huge impact on your career so that you are valuable. You shouldn’t just be trying to secure yourself a job; you should be securing yourself a future.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Aqueelah Emanuel

Founder of AQ's Corner

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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