How To Land A Killer Speaking Gig

Public speaking may strike fear in the hearts of many, but promotion-savvy people have long known that a platform from which to share your ideas that can do more than just create buzz for your industry reputation, it can also grow your influence and even your business. But is there a recipe to land public speaking gigs that can build influence and leadership in the community you serve?

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After reviewing loads of secrets from the best of the best, we’ve put together these tips for getting you into the spotlight and marketing yourself as a speaker that is in demand.

Identify Your Topic And “Angle”

One of the key challenges of getting speaking engagements is identifying a topic people want to hear about. Your topic has to get and hold the attention of your target audience, so it not only has to be interesting, but on a topic that some people are clamoring for and excited about. Make it challenging and controversial enough to explore deeply and still keep fresh over time. You want to tell a captivating story from the podium, not lecture from it, so pick a topic that is as entertaining and engaging as a cinematic experience. Ask people: “Would you pay to see someone talk about ‘X?’” If the answer is no, then keep looking. Work up your elevator speech so you can state in clear, concise terms exactly what you’ll cover, and the angle you’ve chosen that will make people want to hear it.

Identify Your Target Audience

Now that you ‘ve got a great topic, you need to capture an audience. Now is the time to investigate. Who are these people? What drives them? Where do they congregate? At what media are they looking to get the latest and greatest? Check out lists of events, conferences and online conference directories to help find the right stage for your talk. Sometimes you might prefer to aim for a small conference with majority of your target group in it, rather than a larger one where you can only intrigue a small percentage of them in your topic. Specificity wins out over mass for building a following. Only after you have booked a few smaller gigs should you aim for larger industry conferences.

Connect With Conference Organizers / Bureaus

Now that you know where you want to speak, you’ve got a brand new group of stakeholders to influence. Start, as always, with your network and connections to connect you with conference / event organizers and planners. Just as you would approach developing a bond with a potential powerful influencer, you’ll want to build a solid, strong relationship with the people who can get you speaking engagements. You can also connect with other speakers and influencers and provide them a presentation abstract, asking them for advice on breaking through. Use sites like LinkedIn to establish connections and get the word out that you’re available for speaking engagements. Shoot video of you delivering a killer presentation and share it around your network.

Craft Your Presentation

How will you hold your audience’s attention? Find out if your audience prefers facts and figures, or stories about memorable moments, or controversial opinions, or hilariously funny happenings. A good presenter is a smart storyteller and so they craft their stories carefully, including a delicate mix of humor, information, and entertainment.

A little warning here: Don’t be fooled into thinking that speaking is all flash and no substance. If you’re not actually maintaining a consistent social presence, and entrenching yourself as an expert or thought leader in the industry, then you run the risk of coming across as an empty suit. Becoming a speaker doesn’t stop you from working hard at your real job: being the most knowledgeable and helpful person in your industry that you can be.

Market Your Expertise

When you get the gig, you’ll want to get all the benefit you can out of it, which means marketing your participation in the conference or seminar – both before and after it. Here are a few ways to do just that —

  1. Post about your upcoming talk on your networks. Craft blog entries and press releases, explaining why your talk shouldn’t be missed. Share it on LinkedIn, and alert everyone in your network about where they can catch your talk.
  2. Join discussions about the conference. Participate in forums or tweetups before the conference, letting people know where they can catch your talk at the conference.
  3. Give away some freebies to encourage people to attend. Let people know that if they are there, they will get something that no one else will have, like a code to unlock a video, an extra tip, a free research white paper, a deal on some merchandise, or free consultation sessions. People love free stuff, and you never know what will work till you try it!
  4. Upload teaser videos before your talk, and wrap-up videos afterwards to showcase your expertise to people who might have missed your talk, and show other potential organizers your perspective, presentation skills, and how you perform in front of an audience. These videos could become stepping stones for getting introduced to new speaking opportunities. Ask the conference organizers if you can get a video copy of your talk to put on your own website.
  5. Update your LinkedIn profile to include information about the talk and presentation itself, if you can.

The last thing you need to do is get working on identifying your next opportunity to speak. You may want to hire a coach, or get some inspiration from personalities like Guy Kawasaki or Barbara Corcoran to help you determine where to go next.

Get out there and get your voice heard!

 

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Yooniko (a brand of Metamorph Corporation) is dedicated to creating the future of unique, personal branding. Find out more here.

If Job Search Is A War, How Well Are You Armed?

war for talent1Modern day job seekers, hiring managers, and recruiters are using technology like never before to nail down the best outcomes. Exploring new opportunities for your career can be done from your couch, and the smartest companies are crafting new ways to identify and target the best people to hire. It’s been described as a ‘war’ for talent, and the stakes have never been higher for everyone involved. 

Whether it’s your final semester in college and campus recruitment is on full swing, or you’re looking to move onto a new challenge from your old job, the game has changed for both starting and developing your career.

We’ve pulled together five trends that are shaping this massive assault in the job market, and offer these thoughts on how job hunters can fight fire with fire.

1. Apps challenge the status quo, but job boards continue to dominate

Job boards like CareerBuilder and Monster will continue to remain the primary job search tools. These sites deliver mounds of resumes for recruiters and talent hunters to screen through using a variety of software to shortlist the most accurate matches. According to a LinkedIn report in 2015, candidates continue to prefer looking for new jobs in online job boards (60%), followed by professional networks (56%) and other word of mouth options (50%).

Traditional job boards are being challenged, however, by apps like Jobaware and Ziprecruiter, which some say have the potential to transform the job ecosystem. These apps allow users connect to listings across a wide variety of job boards like Indeed, Monster, SimplyHired, Glassdoor etc. and apply en masse to those that fit their skills, thereby increasing coverage. Candidates don’t even have to upload a resume, but can connect directly to their LinkedIn account and apply for suitable open positions.

2. Social recruitment is maturing

Searching and applying for jobs via social media continues to rise in frequency. Based on a research by Jobvite in 2014, it was found that 94% of recruiters were active on LinkedIn (compared to only 36% of the job seekers- so don’t ignore it!). Easily viewable and downloadable profiles available on LinkedIn attract talent hunters to candidates’ profiles, and help determine suitable matches. According to the US hiring trends study by iCIMS, the computer service industry witnessed the highest number of applications submitted via social platforms in 2015 and LinkedIn emerged as the most sought after social network by candidates to apply for jobs. It is expected that by end of 2016, LinkedIn will emerge as one of the strongest job providing media in the US. Employee referrals (a historically well-established channel) will of course continue to play a crucial role in sourcing applicants as well, but rising social media use enables active job seekers to connect more easily with their network and gain these precious referrals. That is why successful networking tactics continue to be important – you never know who might be able to refer you for a job with the credibility that a personal reference brings.

3. Videos are making a splash

We have written about this very recently, but video streaming apps and platforms are starting to attract recruiters, giving them a better-rounded picture of the candidate’s interpersonal skills along with their other qualifications and achievements. Platforms like CareerSushi and HireVue are offering innovative interactive interviews, making it easier for job seekers to present a compelling profile to recruiters and hiring managers. As evolving technology contributes to the idea of a virtual workforce and managing work and projects via collaborative tools gets easier, the job search industry is starting to look seriously to video capabilities to help source and connect organizations to in-demand potential hires. It’s probably not the right answer for everyone, but something to consider if you’ve got a powerful personality to show the market.

4. Reverse investigation puts employers under the microscope

Smart job seekers have always researched the companies they apply to, but they are increasingly conducting this research through platforms like GlassDoor, LinkedIn, and Facebook. They are digging deeper into detailed information about their prospective company, its hiring practices, salaries, and even reviews from existing and previous employees. All in service to find out if joining the company is going to be the right decision for them. Job hunters are also investigating other employees who work at the firm, gathering information on the organization to make the best decision about what kind of company and culture they want to work within.

5. There’s some weird new stuff happening, too

Some companies are deploying innovative techniques to differentiate themselves and attract the best talent. Recently, Uber ran a hiring campaign that recruited hard-to-source engineers by targeting them when they were actually taking a ride in an Uber car, and sending them a little code game for them to complete during their ride. This unique approach enabled the company to identify and differentiate themselves to premium candidates in geographies with a high concentration of tech jobs and lots of competition for qualified candidates. As the need for specialized talent heats up, expect companies to continue to use unique recruitment campaigns to both show the candidate pool that they are innovative, and establish a bond with qualified candidates that echoes their corporate brand.

“May you live in interesting times.”  – ancient Chinese curse

We do seem to live indeed in interesting times, and when you’re scouting out a new career opportunity it can almost feel like you’re at war.

Arm yourself to meet this challenge with the resources, strategy, and plan to make sure you can win the fight. Start off by clarifying what victory will look like, and create a SWOT to identify the core strengths that distinguish you from your peers. Your personal brand is your source of advantage, so you’ll need to leverage this in order to win. Then make sure you put together a solid plan to succeed. Hire a coach, or work with a friend, and determine the steps you’ll need to follow to move from your current position to the future ideal that you envision.

Get ready. And get your marching orders.

Cause it’s like a war out there and your success depends on how well prepared you are to win.

 

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Yooniko (a brand of Metamorph Corporation) is dedicated to creating the future of unique, personal branding. Find out more here.

The Number One Factor In Your Job Search Success

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Searching for a job used to be an analog thing — asking friends for recommendations, reading newspaper want ads, perusing bulletin boards, and pounding the pavement. The rise of the internet and social media changed all that, and both job seekers and recruiters now routinely leverage digital sources, and specifically social media platforms, as one of their primary search and placement tools.

Maybe this has happened to you or a friend, but a colleague of mine, a brilliant sales guy, recently went through a layoff when his division was dissolved. That was rough on him, but his network and social presence was so strong that he received a great offer almost immediately — but not through email or Monster. He was contacted through LinkedIn.

While your personal network has always held your best referrals, now social professional networks are starting to take over. And it makes a certain amount of sense in terms of demand for talent, as the visibility of your professional network is presented pretty clearly — so it’s good for recruiters and headhunters. But when it comes to the supply of talent, the question is: Are you set up for success?

Initial screening rounds during interviewing processes have drastically been reduced, courtesy of easy access to candidates’ profiles on LinkedIn and other professional networks. Recruiters connect with job seekers and view their profiles to find the right match for their clients. What used to be a mostly manual process has been reduced to a few clicks.

And that’s not even all of it. Now it’s common for software to be deployed to narrow searches, allowing recruiters to deal with not thousands of resumes and applicants, but a manual review of a short list of only 20-50. Up to 80% of large companies are currently using resume screening software that uses word matching and algorithms to sift out applications that don’t meet certain criteria.

But that’s just the first step. Companies know that when they hire someone new, they are taking a chance on that person’s present and future value to the company, and so they want to know that the prospective employee not only has the right set of competencies and talent, but would also be a good cultural fit with the company. They can’t afford to get it wrong, as the US Department of Labor suggests that replacement costs for a bad hire can be 30% of their salary (US Department of Labor, 2003), even if they are at lower levels in the organization, and some other more recent studies suggest that the figure can climb to as high as five times their salary.  Serious risk is involved, so companies place a high value on getting the right people in the door.

So, given the importance of all the online and social factors in today’s market, it’s clear that having an attractive personal brand can turn out to be not just a contributing factor in helping you land a job, but the absolute most important factor.

What follows are some pointers that might give you the edge to make sure you’re found, matched, and placed by talent hunters.

1.    It’s social, stupid

Some people think that the time of resumes will soon be over – and your social brand and online connections will be all that’s required to identify if you’re right for a job. According to research job seekers are regularly being contacted by recruiters through social media and this ‘social recruiting’ is turning out to be effective for everyone – recruiters and job seekers alike.

Companies like LinkedIn and BranchOut provide easy access to a job seeker’s social graph for referrals. Based on a research by Jobvite in 2014, it was found that 94% of recruiters were active on LinkedIn when compared to only 36% of the job seekers. Social media therefore provides a real opportunity to the job seekers if they only have a completed profile with the right personal brand showcased on it.

2.    Do some translation

The real trick is realizing that in the online world, your personal brand portrays your resume, not the other way around. You have to do your homework and work with a coach or resume writer, including:

  • Outlining what your mission is, your key skills, and your strengths. If you’ve not nailed down what you’re amazing at, then you’ll have trouble convincing anyone else why you’re worth the risk.
  • Now you can analyze your online profile – does it highlight your key strengths? Is all the work you’ve done in the past clearly presented on the profile, or does it need more translation to be understood?

3.    Now look at ‘the fit’

Do you know everything you can about your ideal employer? How does their culture fit with your style and behaviors? If you are looking for a lasting job opportunity, your recruiters will want to understand not just your expertise and value you add to the company, but how well you might mesh with the existing teams and their culture.

4.    Don’t be afraid to promote

As Scott Cook, CEO of Intuit said, “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.” Your network will only work for you if you give them content, ideas, and thinking that they can interact with and share. Things like blogs, videos, podcasts, and helpful information that your community finds useful and engaging. It’s often said that the currency of social media is what you are sharing, so be sure that if you decide to share content, it is 1) interesting, 2) useful, and 3) unique enough to merit attention.

  • Reach out to create visibility within the connections of your company and to your future employees and employers
  • Share useful and valuable content and be known to your network
  • Engage in network activities to extend your reach and influence.

Social media has evolved into a primary job source and offer platform, above and beyond the job portals that have been around for a while.  If you can build your personal brand and social identity to make it attractive then employers and recruiters are really going to notice.

It’s no longer only just about your resume. Your accomplishments, previous projects, and your network are all part of the path to a new job in today’s market. So if your experience, expertise and recognition from your past work isn’t clear, visible, promoted, and a good fit, then you might be kissing your job prospects goodbye and not even knowing it.

 

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Yooniko (a brand of Metamorph Corporation) is dedicated to creating the future of unique, personal branding. Find out more here.

Are You Stuck? Could Building Your Personal Brand Help?

 

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Being ‘stuck’ stinks. That scary feeling that no matter what you do, you’re getting nowhere. Like being stuck in quicksand, when you need to move forward in your career and you can’t, you’re bound to feel alone, frustrated, out of control, and sinking fast.

And to think – it might all be because of a weak personal brand!

It was that way for my friend Katrina, who after paying her dues in a creative agency, took over a marketing role for a large multinational that required her to manage marketing activities across the region. Accustomed to working with internal teams and developing creative, Katrina excelled in driving great content. Her newsletters, market guides, white papers and creative for strategic requirements won her praise with the local management. But her boss, Susan, didn’t see it that way. She hadn’t seen any positive metrics about local affiliate satisfaction, because her dashboard was set up only to highlight deliverables in planning, budgeting and executing events, where Katrina had some failings. So even though Katrina was over-performing in one important area for the company, her boss raised questions about her project management and event handling skills, which caused some friction and they eventually decided to part ways.

That would be bad enough, but it turned out she was stuck.

She had a strong reputation for creativity with her network, but her expertise, skill, and value was largely invisible to the outside world. Her personal brand had no metrics to show her talents, or to show what she did better than anyone else. That stopped her boss from seeing her contributions in her present role, and she eventually determined that the same thing was holding her back from moving on as well.

Diagnose What’s Holding You Back: Perception Shapes Reality

Inability to move on in career can be stifling and frustrating, as it was for Katrina. And in matters of your career, perception matters. Your bosses and recruiters both go by the impressions they have of you, which can collectively be described as your personal brand.

Katrina had issues with making her impact on the business clearly shown to her boss, but there are lots of ways your image could be holding you back, like:

  • Maybe your work or behavior has received bad reviews online or with some internal stakeholders; a case of reputation management gone awry.
  • Maybe you haven’t felt motivated enough to put in that extra effort because you’re not in the right position to activate your passion; when this happens people around you might be telling you that you come across as indifferent, or lackadaisical.
  • Perhaps the nature of your job is difficult to put metrics around and be able to point to achievements or victories. When you work ‘behind the scenes’ it’s hard for others to know the value you bring to the table.
  • Or maybe it’s really just your presence. Is it possible that you come across as rough, or difficult, or combative? Do you have difficulty in patching things up with people after an argument? Do you have trouble listening to what others have to say about you?

If you’re not getting traction with a job search, then there could be other reasons why opportunities aren’t knocking down your door, like:

  • Your job description or other aspects of your LinkedIn profile could be under-performing for you, (or just plain poorly written)
  • Your resume could have outdated information and missing some keywords, or
  • Your mission statement might be falling flat for recruiters.

So whatever is holding you back, you need to diagnose it in order to take action.  Katrina knew this, and so she hired a coach who could provide her with perspective on where she could go from there. She also got some needed focus, discipline, and benchmarks to help her understand how to raise her game in terms of promoting herself.

Addressing the Problem: Face it and Erase it

Your next step is to take that diagnosis and turn it around into a solution. You’ve probably identified a weak area in your performance, but rather than just saying “I have to do this better,” you want to try to turn the issue around. How can you use your actual strengths in this situation to eliminate your weaknesses, or at least make them immaterial to the work?

Katrina had a lack of online presence because she didn’t know how to show exactly how her work was contributing to other stakeholders. She also felt that it was difficult for her to highlight her broad project management abilities, when she had much stronger skills in managing creative development and production.

So she changed direction and began looking for a role that directly played to her strengths, which turned out to be driving communications within the larger organization. She was able to point to the stellar work she had previously done, and she recruited her happy affiliate managers to vouch for her skills through a consistent feedback system that tracked her projects and clarified her value to her various other stakeholders.

Promote your way forward

Lastly, you want to make sure that your new direction continues to build your influence from a point of strength. You want to expand your audience base – both internally and externally, if possible. As you capture feedback from stakeholders on each deliverable or milestone you achieve, find a way to document it and disseminate it across the organization or the industry so others can learn from it. Think about how to capture learnings on areas of improvement, or mechanisms and processes that ensure success. You might project the relevance of your work through blogs, case studies, white papers or speaking opportunities.

Katrina broadcast her expertise to a wider audience by sharing her opinions in blogs and posts on industry online forums and the company newsletter. She captured email addresses of those who liked her work, and started posting case studies of everything she worked on, and directed people to follow her on LinkedIn. This showed her bosses and the wider industry how satisfied her customers were and where she excelled in meeting requirements.

Eventually, results started to show – her blogs built a solid industry following, her LinkedIn profile boomed with likes and shares, and she got invited to conferences and seminars related to creative development. Katrina was finally being recognized for what she was — a thought leader with creative talent. And so what if she wasn’t a great project manager? Shifting how she applied herself to her company and the market at large helped her get unstuck and evolve into a better role that gave her the scope she needed to continue to expand and showcase her true talents.

Katrina’s way out of the mess started with recognition of the problem. She didn’t panic or turn bitter and blame others for being stuck. She focused on building understanding and then took a smart path forward.

So if you get mired in quicksand, you have to fight the urge to struggle, which can make you sink further down. Instead, practice patience and get some perspective to determine how you’ll get free and back on the road to your brightest future.

 

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Yooniko (a brand of Metamorph Corporation) is dedicated to creating the future of unique, personal branding. Find out more here.

 

Building Your Own Brand At Work

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In putting together an innovation team at my last job, our boss asked us to go through a Strengthsfinder evaluation, which provided us a map of the skills and strengths that the team possessed. The idea was that we could see where we were strong and where we might not have all the resources or perspectives that might be required to face different problems and challenges. After we took the test, we compared our notes about the findings and realized that there was not a lot of overlap – most people had differing sets of identified strengths. Here we were, a group of people with one shared mission and very similar job duties, but we possessed widely varying attributes and skills in how we delivered value to the company.

This situation made me think about how rarely we stop and recognize the unique skills and abilities of our team members. And how that ‘village’ of talent comes together to create such incredible business value, based upon that underlying patchwork of powerful personal brands, working together and complementing each other. Looking around my team with fresh eyes, I gained new appreciation of those varied talents, and could recognize clearly how each person had brought their own unique perspective to bear on our projects.

Carving out your personal brand at work starts with identifying who you are, how are you different from others (in the most awesome ways possible) and how do you want others to see you. To stay competitive and be the best you can be, you need specific strategies that can elevate the visibility and value of your personal brand. Here are some thoughts about how to stand out at work for all the right reasons:

Identify your core expertise

Most people do not have a clear vision of their value at work, probably because they have accepted their job description as their destiny – the full definition of what they offer. This attitude is just a habit, however, and you don’t want it to stunt your growth and progress. Instead, choose to develop your own unique selling proposition and figure out what unique value you add to the company in your role.

Spend time thinking about what you are authentically passionate about, and how those passions can be integrated to your personal brand. Do you have strong technical expertise, excellent project management skills or strategic consulting expertise? Perform a SWOT on yourself and try to identify your core strengths and factors that distinguish you from your peers. Hire a coach, or work with a friend, and do your best to become crystal clear on what you want to be known for.

Get noticed for good things

Having a strong work ethic is great, and a key foundation of a strong brand identity. But you’ll want to make sure that you find ways to demonstrate your working style that make a strong impression. Like arriving a meetings before they start, closing your laptop during meetings, or ensuring that you deliver proper credit to supporting teams and contributors when presenting to groups. Actions speak louder than words and in the workplace it gets noticed real quickly when you consistently deliver your work with some special quality or expertise. It allows people to ‘map’ what you’re bringing, which can boost the popularity of your brand, and increase your market reach. Your visibility at the workplace should not only be restricted to your achievements and accolades but to the overall value that you as an employee brings in to the company. Remember, it’s not bragging if all you’re doing is talking about what your real value is.

Leverage social media 

Consistently using social media is another way of brand building at workplace, because it’s an easy way to extend your reach. Apart from LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, companies these days are deploying other web based enterprise social media platforms like Yammer, HipChat and Slack etc. An ideal case would be to be active in all these platforms by adding value, sharing content, writing blogs, and networking with people. Do take care when sharing information on workplace social media, however, as you want to abide by any policies your employer has set up.

Reputations are built on trust, respect, and filling unmet needs, so if you can stay focused on how you can be amazingly helpful you’ll soon find that you’re a rock star in your community.

Network in the real world

Networking isn’t a dirty word! It’s a mistake to think about the process of expanding your sphere of peers as just attempting to curry favor or beg for help. It’s not. Networking is nothing more than socializing and connecting with people – something we all do anyway. It’s just more deliberate, so it ‘feels’ like work. But our collaborative work culture and offices located all over the world demand a strong network and a consistent effort to reach out to people from other teams, to explore possible synergies. So the trick is to recognize that while you’re not trying to ‘work’ people, you do need to practice networking as a habit so that you form bonds across your company, and stay in touch with these new connections. But there are ways to do it without giving up your humanity in the process.

  • Volunteer for new initiatives and projects. You never know what project could open up opportunities for new and powerful connections. Look especially for projects that demand cross-department or business unit collaboration. Those initiatives have the most potential for you to build a wider network and gain greater exposure across the company.
  • Keep the focus off yourself. It may sound counterintuitive when you’re trying to promote yourself, but if you place your mindset into understanding what other people you meet might need in order to be successful, you won’t feel as self-conscious and can make a better impression.
  • Don’t focus on exchanging business cards, which can feel too formal and impersonal. Instead, make sure that you have the right access to be able to contact the person again. Reaching out after a first meeting helps solidify who you are and cement your brand to your new connection.

It’s getting more and more important to carve out your own niche at your workplace. To be able to function at your best, both you and your team need to understand how your particular ‘village’ of talent works. Take control of your brand so that others can truly see you and all that you have to offer.

 

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Yooniko (a brand of Metamorph Corporation) is dedicated to creating the future of unique, personal branding. Find out more here.

Why It’s Critical For Leaders To Build Strong Personal Brands

People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. — John Maxwell

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Have you always dreamed of becoming a leader? Maybe you took a wrong turn and got sidetracked by life: meeting deadlines, hitting sales targets, keeping clients, bosses, and colleagues happy. Or maybe you’re just starting out. But if you have lost sight of your dream of becoming a leader, or are not sure where to begin, then a renewed focus on your personal brand might be just the thing to inspire you and get you back on track.

As technology and workplace continues to go mobile, modern life seems to be pushing us to compete more than ever, making it critical for us to differentiate ourselves, in order to reach our goals. And expectations are even greater for leaders to be out in front of all these market forces, to provide their vision and advice for others to move forward. So a strong personal brand seems to be a critical feature of leadership development. Leaders must develop their image consciously continue to invest in their brand and themselves, so that they can effectively serve the company and communities that they lead.

When you break it down, leadership isn’t just having the right knowledge or attitude, but it instead centers on the ability to work with groups of people to create positive impact in their organization and beyond. What follows are some strategies and concepts showing how a strong personal brand can help leaders create this impact:

  1. Leaders have a clear vision

A leader has to set targets for the future, which requires unequivocal, easy to explain goals, along with defined plans to get there. They start by identifying what’s important, and being brutally honest about their strengths and abilities to get where they (and their company) need to go. They map personal development plans and determine how they’ll address any gaps to defining the wider company’s goals.One mark of a real leader is that they don’t hesitate when asked what their goals are, they always know what’s standing in their way, and they know if they’re on track to reach the results they want.

  1. Leaders make an impression

Leaders know they can’t do it all alone. They have to motivate a wide variety of people and energize the larger community to take concerted action to solve problems and move the market. So leaders have to know what motivates their team, and then exert tremendous presence and influence to ensure that they get those employees to act — all while remaining helpful, genuine, and authentic. Sometimes this means being powerful and impressive like Superman and sometimes it means being approachable and open like Clark Kent, but in all the cases, they have to make an impression that gets results. Some leaders do this by making employees feel comfortable, or competitive, or nurtured, or important and most can vary their presence as they need to. But no matter what their style, leaders know that their employees are truly important assets in their organization, so it is the leader’s responsibility to inspire the team and drive their creativity in solving problems for the business.

  1. Leaders live in their brand

Lance Armstrong portrayed physical power and will in his leadership and his brand. But when he admitted the use of performance enhancing drugs to win titles, his leadership brand was immediately devalued. He didn’t live the brand he had built and advertised everyday in his work. Contrast his story with Steve Jobs, who was relentless in terms of his application of his personal brand, down to the black turtleneck and jeans he presented in.

  1. Leaders know they have to stay visible.

You can’t lead the herd from inside it, much less from behind. So leaders use their charisma to attract and engage people, and it’s important that they are present publicly and at internal events to demonstrate their support for the organization and familiarize their audience with their vision. Often, this translates into regular presence in the social media and industry conferences.

  1. Leaders don’t fear change.

When Richard Branson said “Branding demands commitment to continual re-invention and imagination,” he meant that successful leaders can’t sit on their past successes. True leaders build their brand through their approach to ‘what’s next,’ and not based on ‘what used to be.’ No one knows what the future holds, and so we look to leaders to be able to help us navigate the new landscape when it seems like everything we’ve always known is being thrown out the window.

It’s been shown that there is a strong correlation between leadership success and personal branding,  so if you’re looking to lead others, you’ll want to start with yourself and your own brand. That’s how you can become the kind of leader that the world needs to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

 

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Yooniko (a brand of Metamorph Corporation) is dedicated to creating the future of unique, personal branding. Find out more here.

 

 

 

 

 

Is It Time For A Personal Branding Makeover?

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Do you walk by your ratty couch every day and think “When am I going to recover or replace that thing?” Or maybe every time you sit down in the chair at the hair salon and look at yourself in the mirror you think “I need a change. I should just cut it all off.”

Well, big brands do this too. Back in 2004, FedEx launched their slogan “Relax, It’s FedEx” and then in 2009 changed it to “The World on Time.” Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan was introduced in 1984, but in 1990, they changed it to “I Can,” only to switch it back later. And who can forget New Coke? And when they changed how the Wendy’s girl looked?

So yeah — big brands do ‘makeovers’ on their image all the time. At some point in every brand’s journey, they decide that it’s time to revamp their logo, tagline, spokesperson, or some other element of their brand image. It keeps their brand fresh, relevant, and in touch with their target market.

Now think about yourself, your brand and your image. You have a social profile, you tweet, you share, you like and you write, but have you ever considered renovating it? Is your personal branding still relevant and getting the traction you need it to? The question becomes: How do you update your personal brand to fix what’s not working, without starting over or throwing out all the hard work you’ve already done?

  1. A refreshed brand starts with You

First, do a check-in on your goals to make sure nothing has changed in your overall mission. You can quickly do an informal SWOT analysis of yourself, your current position, your vision, and other values that make up your current personal brand. If everything is still pointing in the right direction, you can move on to see if your customer has developed any new needs.

  1. Reach out and touch someone

Has your audience changed? The people on whom you want to make a positive impression can change over time.  Maybe their needs have changed, or something in their environment could change, like a new website that popped up in the last few months, which has taken over all the conversations about your chosen topic area. You could need some Search Engine Marketing advice or support, like an analysis of the new ways that your audience searches for solutions and news online. Maybe the recruiters in your industry are now looking at a whole new technology, and you don’t have the kind of background they’re looking for anymore. If they change, then you need to as well. And the greater the change is in your customer or your customer’s world, the more likely that you may need to make some tactical changes in how or what you’re communicating.

  1. Tweak and test and learn

Lastly, take a look at your current plans to move your brand forward and keep it trending. Are you using outdated communication methods? It doesn’t help to have the best Pinterest account in the world for your business if all your users are on Snapchat or WeChat. Ensure that any actions undertaken to contact and interact with other people progress towards where you want to be. To build a strong brand identity and sustain it for a longer period, you have to know what you want to be known for and project that image. So keep track and evaluate the effectiveness of your efforts, to help you decide what tactics are working, and which to phase out.

David Ogilvy described a brand as “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.”  And it’s this ‘intangible’ nature that gives you the flexibility to update your image over time. Since your brand is what others perceive when they think about you, it can be a good idea to show other people the changes that you have undergone as you continue to grow and learn. Remember personal branding is not just flaunting off your profile photo, your certifications or your latest million-dollar sale. It is the way you fit into the world, what you offer to it, and how people visualize you and the value you bring. And as the world changes, the way that you fit into it can evolve as well.

When it comes to transforming your personal brand, it can be a tough task but it’s not something unachievable. Take your time, have patience, and invest a little in your own personal brand makeover. Because although renovations may take time and money, they can also pay you dividends in the new value they can create.

 

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Yooniko (a brand of Metamorph Corporation) is dedicated to creating the future of unique, personal branding. Find out more here.

 

You Can Become A Personal Branding Rock Star

rockstar personal brand

Sam Fiorella, co-author of Influence Marketing, describes influence as “the swaying of beliefs, behaviors or actions.” This concept of influencer marketing can apply to brands, companies, individuals, salespeople — just about everyone! Until recently, big brands would rely on celebrities and popular bloggers to promote and market their brands but today the wave is shifting from companies and corporate accounts to users and consumers, who are playing a new key role as the influencers who control the very markets that they shop in.

And there are probably lots of examples of this happening in your daily life. Maybe you tried a new airline on a recent trip because your friend said it was an amazing experience or a great deal. Think of that new gadget that you never planned to buy, but when you saw your coworker using it in a meeting, then suddenly you knew you had to have it! This is the power of authentic influence and it’s not a celebrity playground anymore, just us, the common folks, who wield greater power than ever, due to our use of social media.

And brands are taking notice. A recent McKinsey study states that marketing involving word of mouth generates twice the sales of paid advertising along with 37% higher customer retention rate. Of course, the rise in social media has played a crucial role in this shift – since it acts as a shared platform where peers actively recommend and share details on purchasing decisions. This growing role of peer recommendations, likes, shares and retweets on social media provides more evidence of the importance of influencer marketing. As Scott Cook, CEO of Intuit said, “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.” And in 2016 we are sure to witness the continued acceleration in the use of influencer marketing.

But it’s not just about products and big brands. We can also be influenced by people, and we can influence other people ourselves. Maybe you call this being a thought leader, or maybe you call it becoming a ‘Guru,’or a ‘Social Media Rock Star,’ but whatever you call it, it can be a way to expand the reach and influence for your personal brand.

We’ve talked before about how to get in contact with influencers who can help you build your personal brand, but just imagine what it would be like for YOU to be the influencer. You could be the one using social media to plant the seeds of your ideas in the minds of your followers — creating raving fans and a loyal audience for your viewpoint.

So it shouldn’t surprise you that the principle behind influencer marketing isn’t rocket science, but it can be as simple as:

Know -> Share -> Track -> Revise

  • Get to know your community: Identify your audience and start to understand what’s important to them, and what they need and think about. In order to show that you care, you’ll have to know the things they care about and invest time in them – so that they can see the value in following you and engaging with you. And don’t be afraid to start small. It can help you stay focused and carve out a niche space. Go for quality when starting out, and worry about increasing your follower count later. 
  • Share quality content: Give people substance when you interact with them. This means writing and reading quality content in your topic area of interest. Generic likes or shares won’t cut it anymore, if you plan to be an influencer. So put in the time to find cool new blogs, videos, podcasts and information that your community finds useful and engaging. Put together a shortlist of the most important topics of the day, and maybe the most controversial! Then start working on your viewpoint of them, and what you think could be or should be done. If you want your audience to eagerly await the next big thing from you, you’ll have to pull out the big guns, i.e., get good research done, and find the right angle for your content, to make sure your voice can resonate. When you’re ready, move beyond social spaces, and get into speaking engagements. And you can even decide to write that book that you’ve been thinking about.
  • Track your reach: Use social media measurement tools like Buffer, or Hootsuite, or Mention, that can help you track and understand the buzz you make in the social media space. You can use these tools to judge the level and depth of influence that your personal brand has, and respond to conversations with your followers and fellow thought leaders. Be part of the conversation, and commit yourself to always pushing the thinking further.
  • Revisit your results and learn from your mistakes: Since you’re using the latest analytics and tools to measure your progress, occasionally you’ll want to step back and see if you’re still on track. What kinds of content worked, and got a lot of positive response from your community? What kinds of topics did you participate in where you maybe didn’t come across as an expert? Or maybe someone else stepped in and answered a difficult question better than you did. Don’t take these “mis-step-moments” as set-backs, but instead look at them as chances to learn, and improve your content.

2015 saw a real time deployment of influencer marketing by brands like Jaguar and Capital One. And a new group of consumers-as-influencer-marketers are just now emerging who have the power to become ambassadors of brands, products, services and even themselves. Since you are the most important product that you work with everyday, you will need to grow your personal brand and its reach in meaningful ways to establish yourself as a real player.

And that’s how you’ll unleash your inner Rock Star.

 

Real World Branding: The 80% of Your Personal Brand You’re Neglecting

Real World Marketing

Building a personal brand through social media networking is a good thing, and it’s great if you’ve already started to make progress. But if all you work on are your online profiles, then you could be missing out on some important aspects of your personal brand. After all, your life is made up of more than just your online life, and your offline reputation and brand deserves real consideration and dedicated time on your part to make sure you’re presenting the best of yourself from all 360 degrees. Because that’s how other people perceive you.

Sustainable brands live on- and offline

Corporations, products and famous public figures alike all benefit from integration of their online and offline branding. They all have to harmonize the image they present to people online in order to avoid feeling false, two-dimensional, and lifeless. Similarly, at your workplace you are on display and everything you do contributes to your public/work brand: what you wear; how you speak to the security guards at the gate; how you speak to your peers; and, how you carry yourself. These all contribute to your branding more than what you tweet or what a spokesperson could say on your behalf. Your “Real World Branding” is the earthy experience of you in person, and you want to be able to understand the impress you are leaving with people, and how to best control it to get what you want.

Steve Jobs’ dress and style of presenting at Apple events became as much his brand as anything he ever said online. And Richard Branson’s flamboyant appearances outweigh the impact of his tweets any day!

So what impression are you making today? How would your immediate peers, neighbors, and industry press speak about your brand? And what are you doing to influence it? Your online branding may be valuable when someone googles you, but it cannot define the value you bring inside the conference room, so you want to be aware and in the drivers seat with the influence you wield through your actions and face-to-face personality.

To get your Real World Branding going, it takes a lot of thought and hard work:

  1. Start with you: Spend some time to reflect on your unique offering. Think about who you are, what Inspires you and how your unique talents can give you a competitive advantage in the workplace. Try to avoid comparing yourself with others, though, as you want to focus on your own identity and value – and while others can inspire you, remember that no one is perfect. Focus on skill-sets and characteristics that are natural to you. Identify the activities that give you strength and allow your talent to flourish. You may find this exercise useful to help you zero-in on the right area for you to specialize in, which could be speaker opportunities, blogging, holding webinars, or networking through industry events. Think carefully about the most impactful ways to be physically present for other people in the way that you want to be perceived.
  2. Move quickly to action: Once you have decided your objectives and what you want to project, get moving! Take the steps needed to manage your personal brand and start getting feedback about how your real world actions are being understood. Take charge of your brand and operate with intent. One way to remain engaged and motivated is to keep you focus on the purpose behind your pursuits, not just the pursuits themselves. Simon Sinek has posited that we can operate with intent when we ask ourselves ‘Why We Do What We Do’. Using these methods of maintaining focus can help you get started but also keep going when the going gets rough. If you don’t take action, you won’t make an impression in the real world, where your branding needs to be visible and influential.
  3. Be really, really picky when you network: Do your homework to make sure you’re networking with the right people. You will build your sphere of influence by associating yourself with people who challenge you and increase your value in your chosen field. Don’t be afraid to limit the time you spend networking with below- average associates or negative-thinking people while your building your networks – they bring more grief than benefits, and your time is a valuable resource. Make your own opportunities for in-person networking by joining regional trade bodies and or organizations where your target audience is likely to be found. Over time, leverage this networking with attendance at national conferences.
  4. Appear at the main event: Attend tradeshows, seminars, and conferences on trending topics where you can network with other industry leaders and prospective clients. These events can provide a great opportunity for in-person networking and using speaker content to generate social media mentions, tweet-ups and campaigns.
  5. Speak out, speak up, and speak loud: Leverage your presence at events to start to establish yourself as a thought leader in your area of expertise through speaking engagements. A speaking engagement puts you in front of a highly targeted and interested audience that is primed and ready to pay attention to what you have to say. This kind of face-time can be invaluable for driving traffic to your website when your audience is inspired to learn more about you and your company.
  6. Get it in writing: Explore opportunities in authoring articles in select trade journals and print publications, if they are likely to be read by your target audience. Obtaining relevant placements in magazines and journals can help increase your brand visibility and showcase your expertise. Make this part of your blogger outreach strategy and ensure that the online and print versions of these publications link back to your website or LinkedIn profile.

Refocusing your offline branding can enable you to effectively project your values, skills, and the energy you share with others each and every day. These face-to-face interactions can help create new connections and a deeper sense of brand loyalty for those people who already think they know you.

That’s Real World Branding – and it’s not that different from what you’re already doing. It’s just more organized and intentional. And it can get you real world results.

 

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Yooniko (a brand of Metamorph Corporation) is dedicated to creating the future of unique, personal branding. Find out more here.

Warning Signs That Your Manager Is Not A Good Coach

 

Warning Signs.jpg

Back in 2000, there was a box office hit called Remember The Titans, based upon a true story. In the film, Denzel Washington leads his team to a series of undefeated victories and ultimately a championship win, while overcoming racial bias and division. It was a great movie, but I often think about what really helped him transform the team. He had to develop trust with and from his players, as well as guide them to victory. To reach that goal, he had to impose order, for sure, but I don’t think that anyone would say that it was his strict management style and focus on the goal that alone enabled the team’s transformation. It was his coaching approach that helped the players realize their true potential, and the same thing sometimes happens in our work lives as well.

The definitions matter.

A manager is typically thought of as one who is an effective leader of their team, who directs or manages a program or initiative for the company, but is also responsible for the development of a team or business practice or organization. The ultimate objective of such a manager is to meet the target and generate the desired outcome.

On the other hand a good business coach gives a greater focus on the human aspects of the team she manages – which entails a greater involvement in the process to provide encouragement and support to members of the team – it requires exploring the people and their motivations and skills more than just maintaining an emphasis on the outcome. So both a manager and a coach can lead a team to the goal, but if the person was a good coach, you would expect that they would provide more training, motivation and constantly upgrade the skill sets of the team. A good manager may show you how to do something, but a good coach is going to work on bringing out your full potential.

Which ultimately makes managing more about command and control and coaching is more about growth and development.

Now maybe you’ve had a manager that was also a great mentor, motivator or inspiration, and you’d consider this person to be a coach in addition to being your manager. If you’re lucky enough to work with someone who could keep the focus on the target and outcome but at the same time was willing to improve the team’s overall skills and effectiveness – then I’d say you won the jackpot! But you may be the exception that proves the rule.

Not every manager, even a very good manager, is also a great coach.

According to recent talent research, it is found that modern employees value learning and career development opportunities more than the regular job. And this might be the reason why we respond so well to working with a manager who guides us towards our work goals and but also spends time working with us to help guide our career progression as well.

Unfortunately, many managers still think that training and coaching is a waste of their time and they believe that a job position should be filled with a person already possessing the required skills to perform it, and that’s where their responsibility stops. And there are some signs which can warn you if your manager doesn’t go the extra mile to try to be a good coach. You can know that you’re dealing with a manager that is NOT also a good coach when:

  • Deadlines trump employee development every time.
  • Growth and development plans are only spoken about in performance reviews, and are not followed up on.
  • They talk about current roles for you, but never your career path.
  • If asked, they can’t describe your strengths and weaknesses.

Why does it matter?

You may ask, “Is coaching that important?” In the grand scheme of things, is it really required for managers to also be good coaches? Some would say no. In the shrinking world of middle management, the role of manager as coach is not always considered or even asked for, and managers perform more often as players on the field themselves, and are responsible for generating the output and results themselves, without other people to manage or develop.

But even if it’s not a requirement, it comes down to what you want to get out of your career and life. Do you already have someone looking out for you?  Someone you can review your progress with and get the kind of feedback that helps you clarify your priorities and accomplish what you envision for yourself? If your manager isn’t listening, helping you clarify, and giving you advice that moves you forward, then your level of engagement is likely to drop. And you can contrast this with the results of good coaching which has been shown to help employees become more self-reliant, productive and competitive.

Coaches still have to deliver.

Of course, coaches have to deliver, too. No one would Remember the Titans if they didn’t win the game, right? But it is a powerful story because their coach didn’t just act like a manager. The coach’s vision, efforts, and dedicated time helped the players realize their potential and win. Likewise, your coach must realize the importance of outcomes for you, and ensure that you make progress on meeting them, not just your own internal development.

But if your current manager isn’t a good coach, then maybe you should look into getting one. Because Denzel’s character is the kind of person that you want supporting you in moving forward in your career to meet your goals. That’s REAL coaching. And that’s what helps teams and individuals deliver and grow.

 

 

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Yooniko (a brand of Metamorph Corporation) is dedicated to creating the future of unique, personal branding. Find out more here.