Advertising
Advertising

It’s Time to Manage Your Online Personal Brand

It’s Time to Manage Your Online Personal Brand


    If you’re reading this, then you probably have an online personal brand.

    Your brand consists of all the communities you participate in, and just about any piece of content that holds your name, face, or both. A new study by Pew Internet & American Life Project shows that 46% of online adults have created their own profile on a social networking site, which is an increase of 20% from 2006.

    The internet is the global talent pool. If you don’t have a presence online, it will affect your job search, your career, your business, and your personal life. The reason for this is simple: people are already searching for you or people like you. For every time you don’t appear in a search for your name or a specific need that you want to rank high for, you lose an opportunity.

    Advertising

    Global paranoia and your brand

    General

    When was the last time you did a search for your name on Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Technorati? 57% of people use search engines to find out information about themselves online. Why are they interested in seeing what appears? What appears first in a search for your name is people’s first

      impression of you, so if it’s not the result you want people to see, then you have to change it through starting a website, joining social networks, getting press, and writing articles for websites.

      Advertising

      Work-related

      I’m sure there’s been a time when you were interested in finding out more information about your co-workers, but were afraid to ask. Well, I’m sure most of you reviewing their online brand to gain a better idea of their backgrounds. 31% of workers have searched for information about co-workers. One of the major problems people have, especially with Facebook, is separating their personal and professional lives. The transparent internet, and Facebook’s privacy controls have confused people, so sometimes those explicit pictures and come back to haunt you in the workplace. For instance, if you have pictures of yourself in a bikini online, even if they’re old, it will come off as unprofessional to your fellow cubicle or office dwellers.

      Dating

      Advertising

      There are no more blind dates anymore because you can learn a lot about your date in advance, without leaving your home. People want to be extra careful before they go on a date, and by viewing public profiles, you know what you’re in for. Once you’re dating someone, you will naturally pay attention to their updates on social networks or dating sites. 16% of people have looked online for more information about someone they are dating or in a relationship with. Among those who use online dating sites, 34% go online to check up on their dates. Be careful with how you represent yourself personally, or you might not just get that second date!

      Safeguarding your brand

        Press the delete button

        It might be time to become picky when it comes to keeping friends and contacts on social networks. If you don’t know someone, how valuable could they be to you? They might even spam your Facebook wall! In fact, 56% of people have unfriended contacts in their network, and 52% of blocked them from their social updates. Identify who your current audience is on your social networks, and then configure settings so that your updates are seen by the people you want. For example, if your family, friends, and co-workers are connected to you on Facebook and you’re going to post an update on how you skipped work to take a road trip, then you want to target your social update to everyone except for your co-workers.

        Advertising

        Review your privacy settings

        Being private isn’t a bad thing and in most cases it can really save you from a reputation blunder. The best way to look at privacy is that there is no privacy on the internet. This way, you will be more careful on what you post because it does reflect who you are. 65% of people have changed the privacy settings on their profile to limit what they share with others online. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing something, then don’t do it. Call or email the person instead.

        Image: d’n’c’

        Advertising

        Click here to join Lifehack on Facebook!

        More by this author

        Dan Schawbel

        Dan Schawbel is the leading personal branding expert for young professionals.

        Personal Branding Basics You Need to Know for Career Success 3 Areas You Must Invest in During an Economic Recession Your Personal Brand is Equal to Your Google Results Command and Control Your Google Results 5 Things to Do Before You Build Your Personal Brand

        Trending in Communication

        1 Is Living Together Before Marriage Good or Bad? 2 How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication 3 11 Facts About Volunteering That Will Surely Impress You 4 I Hate My Wife – Why a Husband Would Resent His Spouse 5 How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Published on May 18, 2021

        How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

        How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

        We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

        The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

        Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

        Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

        Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

        There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

        Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

        Advertising

        Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

        We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

        Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

        A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

        The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

        Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

        Advertising

        Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

        Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

        Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

        While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

        Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

        These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

        Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

        Advertising

        Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

        Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

        Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

        Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

        Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

        Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

        As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

        Advertising

        This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

        Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

        Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

        These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

        Actions Speak Louder Than Words

        Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

        Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

        Advertising

        Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

        More Tips Improving Listening Skills

        Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

        Reference

        Read Next