What’s Your Brand? Part 3

Now the interaction has occurred…what next? Whatever you do post meeting will determine your Post Presence.

1. Did you send a thank you note?
2. Did you follow through on all action items? Were discussed deadlines met?
3. Did you send an email clarifying action items?
4. If the person attempts to contact you post meeting, are you responsive?
5. If you see the person you met with after the meeting, do you have a congenial interaction?
6. If you post on social media about this interaction, was it in a positive way? Is posting on social media appropriate?
7. Do you chat with others about the interaction and if so, what is the quality of your conversation? You don’t want someone to chat with another colleague or a potential employer about your meeting and hear negative feedback. Be mindful of what you share and who you share with in your environment.
8. If needed, did you schedule a follow up meeting?

This piece is all about follow-up and follow through.

I’m all about a thank you note within the week after the encounter. I take notes during the meeting with little check boxes to ensure that I’m clear on all homework I need to do post meeting. If possible, I complete those items within 1-2 days after the meeting to show my engagement and commitment to the project at hand. I certainly strive to meet all deadlines. If I find myself stalled on a project, I communicate that to relevant stakeholders and keep them aware of my progress.

That’s it. Pre Presence, Presence, and Post Presence. Those three elements are great determinants of your brand. What do you need to do to step it up a notch?

Later Y’all

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What’s Your Brand? Part 2

Imagine the meeting is happening…

What’s going on in the meeting?

– Were you on time?
– How are you dressed? Smell good?
– Are you making eye contact?
– Did you smile?
– Was your handshake firm?
– Take note of your speech patterns. Do you sound confident? Are you using a lot of vocal pauses? Are you enthusiastic or are the other person’s eyes glazing over? What about your use of gestures?
– How do you behave while another person is speaking? Do you give them your attention or are you busy thinking about your next points?
– Do you pick up on social cues that denote that you’ve been talking for too long or that what you’re saying isn’t interesting? Perhaps you can observe if you’ve just made someone uncomfortable?
– Are you prepared? Are you taking notes appropriately? Did you come with an apparent agenda for the meeting even if it’s in your head?
– If there was a presentation involved, did you use your best public speaking skills? How about your inclusion of technology? Did it go smoothly?
– Do you have a business card?
– Make sure your phone is turned off.
– Can you answer questions posed to you about the topic at hand?
– If necessary, are action items in place prior to departing from the meeting? Did you provide a means of follow up?

You have to bring your confidence to the room. People want those that believe in who they are and their abilities. You got this!

You have to bring your confidence to the room. People want those that believe in who they are and their abilities. You got this!

This is all a part of your Presence. When someone meets you, what do they get? Are you polished, poised, and professional or are you a bit of a mess? Do you come off in person in a way that gets across your desired self message? Fit is important and the in-person meeting gives someone the opportunity to figure out whether or not you will fit the current/desired culture of the organization. Is your presence in alignment with your Pre-Presence?

Some would tell you to do lots of research in order to make yourself fit within the norms of an organization. That might be good advice but I would caution you to not force yourself into an uncomfortable box. I knew that if I ever desired a retail job, I could never work at Urban Outfitters,Abercrombie & Fitch, or Hot Topic but I could work at J.Crew, The Gap, or Banana Republic. Those places naturally fit me and my personal brand.

Presence is the strongest component of your brand. This is when you get to connect and live your brand out loud. What does your Presence say about you? Understand that what you bring to that room will also have lingering effects and might be dissected by others especially if this was an interview. Mock interviews are a smart way to practice and always rehearse your presentations in front of other people for honest feedback.

There are students who show up in my office that are well dressed, polite, enthusiastic, prepared, and ready to engage in a great discussion. They have an action plan for our meeting, relevant questions, and action items. They give us time to meet and don’t rush away after 10 mins of blabbering. Then there are the students who haven’t showered,are ill prepared, obviously don’t feel that this meeting is worth their attention, and don’t really have a lot of time to chat despite their intent of asking me for my time to help them or their student organization. Which of those students do you think I keep in mind for special events and when it is time to recommend people for awards? Which of those students do you think I’m willing to go above and beyond to support in achieving their goals?

Who are you when you're at your best? Figure that out and live that because it is your brand. It is your Presence.

Who are you when you’re at your best? Figure that out and live that because it is your brand. It is your Presence.

The way you show up in a space is beyond important. Present your best self and reap the rewards.

What’s Your Brand? Part 1

BREAKING NEWS!

Perception matters. For all of those people out there not caring about what others think of them, just know that finding a job,obtaining a promotion, getting involved in community efforts, and just basic existing in life, might prove quite difficult. A brand strategist, Jami Dunham, stated in a recent presentation, “You have a brand whether by design or default.” Wouldn’t you rather be at the helm of the conversation?

perception

I had the privilege of spending time with a professor who broke down everyone’s brand in three parts: Pre-Presence, Presence, and Post Presence.

Pre-Presence: Before I meet you
Presence: The meeting
Post- Presence: After we meet

What makes up your Pre-Presence? Think of anything that gives people information about you before they meet you.

– Resume (past experiences, school, major, community involvement, and, honors/awards etc.)
– Emails including that pesky signature at the bottom
– Social Media
– Word of Mouth
– References/Letters of Recommendation
– Applications
– Phone conversations

People form a perception about who you are  from all of these items. I can learn a great deal about you in one swift Google search. By the way, have you Googled yourself lately?  I hadn’t Googled myself in a while but as part of s lecture, the person sitting next to me  had to look me up online. Eek! Luckily, I keep it classy and here’s what I thought post exercise:

1. I need to delete any social media accounts that I no longer use. What was the point of “We Heart It”? On the same note, if I use it then I need to keep outlets updated. I can’t keep throwing around my blog link if the last update was 6 months ago.

2. I should create a portfolio with all links associated with me including those for  interviews, writings, photos, presentations–there were things listed that I’d totally forgotten I’d done throughout my career.

3. An updated headshot can really do your profile some good.

4. If there is something I need to warn people about, then I need to be proactive and craft a response to any questions that might pop up in an interview about that image or text.  If you don’t want anyone to know about it, then don’t post it on social media. Ahem, depending on what it is, you might just not want to do it at all.

5. What I devote myself to professionally and in the community are on full display. I want people to see what I do because  that also informs them of what I value. Any potential employer needs to know what you value and vice versa. If those values aren’t in some way congruent, the working relationship won’t be fulfilling.

Perception is important. Fit is critical. Employers begin assessing your fit before you walk in the door.

Tips to Pre-Presence Success
– Get your resume tidied up by a professional or an acquaintance who’s spent a lot of time hiring others. Always keep your resume freshly updated. You never know when an opportunity is going to land in your inbox.

-Are your emails grammatically correct? Did you utilize the power of spell check? Have you found a way to appropriately insert your personality into all correspondence? According to the professor you should erase that “please forgive any typos line” because it makes readers feel as if their email isn’t significant.

-Make sure to return all phone calls in a timely manner and rehearse voicemail messages once or twice before you start rambling on the machine. Also, make sure that your outgoing voicemail message is up to date and appropriate. Personalize your outgoing message and please get rid of that ring back tone. I’m terrible at listening to voicemails and often my mailbox is full. Grr! Not a good pre-presence tactic.

-Letters of recommendation/references are out of your control once you request them so work to make sure that you’re choosing people that can provide the best feedback about you and your skills. For some, the “requirement” of having your current or most recent supervisor as a reference can be bothersome. Be prepared to cover that issue with your potential supervisor and give them a heads up about the  nature of your relationship with that person. Just know that if you don’t list your current or most recent supervisor, it will raise questions for your potential employer.

-Clean up your social media and/or put it on private. I monitor my social media very closely and I make sure that I don’t post anything that would cause people to question my character. My social media engagement has become a large and positive aspect of my brand.

-Word of mouth is still the most powerful determinant of Pre-Presence.  Be cognizant of what you’re putting out in the world because word travels fast. Most people don’t adhere to the list of references submitted by the applicant. Informal means of communication are regularly used to gather feedback on a candidate.

Hmm...think about potential employers as your customers. They talk to each other about you and essentially about your brand. What do you think they're saying about you?

Hmm…think about potential employers as your customers. They talk to each other about you and essentially about your brand. What do you think they’re saying about you?

I strongly encourage you to take some time and tighten up your Pre-Presence. What are the things floating out in the world that can assist others in forming an opinion of your brand? Make sure your Pre-Presence reflects you in a desired manner. First impressions aren’t just made in person. In 2015, my first impression of you is made quickly after a few clicks on your Facebook Page or a scroll through your Twitter feed. Make sure the results are in your favor.