By aligning your values and personal behaviour you can create the reputation and personal brand needed to build rapport with your clients, writes coach Maggie Eyre.
In this edited extract from her book, Being You: How to build your personal brand and confidence, coach Maggie Eyre explains how you can align your values and personal behaviour to create a consistent reputation and unique personal brand, which is essential to building a trusting rapport with your clients and motivating them to follow your lead.
Imagine a life without self-doubt and a stronger personal brand that speaks loudly about your beliefs and vision for a happier world. When you speak your truth and act with great integrity and purpose, you inspire others and ignite hope.
A personal brand tells the world about who you are as a human being personally and professionally. A personal brand is about authenticity and is derived exclusively from your mind, your heart, your values, your passions, your imaginings and what you believe to be true at the core of your personal and professional self.
A personal brand will reveal everything about what your mission is in the world, which is formed from your true values. It finds expression in the words you use, the commitments you make and keep and the steadfast delivery of your word. What your body language says, what your voice says and the words you choose will shape your personal brand from the first impression you make, whether in the room, online or on the phone, right until final delivery and beyond.
Imagining a personal brand
In beginning to think about your personal brand, there are three questions to pose and investigate:
- What is your authentic self?
- What is your reputation?
- What is your legacy?
Let’s look at each of these questions in more detail.
It’s important to know who you are when building a personal brand, because you need to know your strengths and weaknesses to confidently grow. The Oxford English Dictionary definition of authentic is: ‘Of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine.’
If you know who you are, you will stand by your values and begin to honestly express and radiate your beliefs. The only way to change behaviours is to understand how and why you behave across a range of scenarios in your life. Through living your values, you will be seen as somebody who is clear about what matters and you’ll inspire people’s confidence and trust in you and your brand.
I know, from years of experience, that when going into a pitch meeting for the first time with a new client, the most successful thing I can do is to make sure I’m building a relationship with that client; I’m not in there selling. I need to fully understand who the client is and what their goals are.
Write down three words that describe you and your personality. For instance, the words I would choose to describe myself are:
Now ask a close friend or co-worker to choose three words to describe you. My personal assistant offered these words to describe me:
People perceive us differently, often in ways we don’t realise. A good way to discover how you are perceived and how authentic you are in both your personal and professional life, is to get feedback from others. Be brave and start asking people how they perceive you. You’ll learn a lot!
It’s human nature to judge and critique, so your reputation often walks through the door before you do. In all parts of your life, whether it is business, dating or at a social event, people are constantly researching and asking around about you. You can’t cover up a bad reputation with a beautiful dress or a pristine suit. You are the sum story of all your past actions, so what’s inside you counts and how you have treated people is like an unprinted business card that has already been handed around.
Thinking about your reputation is also important because you get to be in charge of creating how you want to live and act. You can map out your future mindfully and with great awareness, rather than bumbling your way through another murky year and then another murky decade. If you treat people with disrespect or dishonesty, the rumour mill will swiftly ignite and in this age of social media, your global reputation can be in tatters in a nanosecond. In this technological age, I cannot stress how carefully we need to act at all times to cultivate a fair, accurate and positive reputation. You cannot control people’s minds and prejudices, but you can determine how you want your reputation and thus your brand to be perceived.
Write down what you think your reputation is now, either personally or professionally. It could be in your marriage/relationship, in your household or in your workplace. Then write down what you want it to be. Notice the differences. Ask yourself what the steps and actions are that you need to take to build the bridge between what your reputation is now and what it could become.
Your legacy is different to your reputation. Reputation is how others perceive you now and how you have been perceived in the past. But your legacy is what you want to leave behind.
When you are gone, how do you want people to remember you? On my gravestone I want the words, ‘Maggie made a difference in the world’. Think of a few leaders who are no longer living and think about what they left behind. For example, Einstein not only left behind his scientific breakthroughs, but also the belief that science has a moral responsibility to humanity. Freedom fighter Nelson Mandela showed no bitterness after 25 years in prison and continued to stand for racial equality and reconciliation until his death. Aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart showed us that women can do anything men can do when they pursue their talents and passions.
What are you building to leave behind? Make a list and review it daily.