Increase Your Brand: Know Yourself, Choose Yourself, Celebrate Yourself

The Golden Brand

Why care about your brand? 

Because if you don’t, who will?

You’ve been working hard for years and feel you deserve rewards for your thought leadership and expertise – am I right?  How do you think you’re going to get those rewards?  Reality is you can wait and take your chances at success or you can make things happen.

Have you Googled yourself lately?  Does the first page of results represent who you are and what you want people to see about you?  It is up to you to tend your reputation on-line.  You don’t get noticed by accident.  You are the brand of YOU and you need to be presenting you OUT LOUD and SOCIAL for everyone to see.

My Father’s Advice Was Right For Then – But Wrong For Now

My father always told me that if I worked hard for a company for 25 years, kept my ‘nose to the grind stone,’ and showed my loyalty, I would have a successful career.  That made sense 60 years ago.  You see, my Dad was born to immigrant parents, in New York City, in 1912.  He was the first reinvented person I knew.  He was unemployed and penny-less during the Great Depression, and found meaningful employment as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).  (The CCCs put thousands of unemployed young men to work on public projects.)  After World War II, my Dad returned as a wounded veteran and became a dress salesman.  By the late 1950’s he owned his own dress manufacturing business in New York’s garment district.  My Dad know nothing about self branding or reinventing himself (though he did attend the original Dale Carnegie seminar – I have the first printing of the book to prove it). Only movie stars, musicians, and artist branded themselves.  (Think Picasso or Liberace). The advice he gave me in the ’70s, when I graduated college, was true at the time: join a company and become part of a big family. The company will take care of you. And, if you are a good girl, and waited patiently, when the time is right, you will move up the corporate ladder, position by position. That, of course, was then and this is now.

In 2013, your work life is about your value as an individual. You are not seeing many people staying in one company forever anymore.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in January 2012, the median number of years that wage and salary workers had been with their current employer was 4.6. The fact is that people are staying in companies for shorter periods of time because employees are focused on building their personal skills/capabilities (resume) and then, when their current assignment is complete, selling themselves to the highest bidder.  The philosophy of one-company loyalty, or living the ‘company life,’ for one’s whole career, is a thing of the past.   Most people I work with at IBM have been in the company less than 5 year.  It is a new day, Dad.

Know Yourself

BeckhamPersonal Branding doesn’t work if you don’t believe in yourself.  I am not talking about a ‘fake it until you make it’ self talk.  You need to have confidence in your skills and in the you that you’re presenting to the outside world.  On the internet, fakery is exposed in seconds. You need to know the keywords that make up YOU.  That’s something my Dad never had to think about.  He was a keen salesman and walked the streets of Manhattan for years with a sample bag under his arm.  His business, like all business, was about relationships.  Everyone knew his values and what he stood for before he even walked in the door.  You could say, “his reputation, preceded him.”   But that can only happen when you know who are you are.

Your personal brand should be as clear in the minds of others as it is in your own.  For example, what comes to your mind when you think of:  Modonna, Donald Trump, or David Beckham? I think Modanna – rockstar, musical innovator, and sexy bras; Donald Trump – big buildings, return from bankruptcy, strange hair, and The Apprentice TV show; David Beckham – footballer (soccer), Spice Girl Victoria, Manchester United, and tattoos.

Why do these people stand out in your mind?  What unique things are the identifying features of their brand?  What are your unique identifying features?

Choose Yourself

cheer2If you are not cheering for yourself, why should anyone else?  Like I said above, you need to believe in your capabilities.  Do a good job with knowing what you have to offer and then have confidence in those qualities.  If you are a Baker, but you think you make lousy cupcakes, who is going to buy them?  In today’s day and age, those who wait to be selected, rarely are.  The winners are not the ones that wait nicely and ask permission to move ahead.  They are the people who took the moment into their own hands.

“The real trick is to not wait, but to pick yourself. To “turn pro” in your head. To believe you can do what you’re asking others to believe about you.” [Jeff Goins, Stop Waiting To Be Picked]

Celebrate Yourself

Are you your own worst enemy?  I have watched many people, especially women, make light of their accomplishments.  It is hard sometimes not be self-depreciating but it is important to learn to accept praise sincerely without belittling your accomplishments.  When someone gives you a compliment, do you ever say “Oh, it was nothing,” when it was really a good piece of work?  You should take the credit – even for the small stuff.

I want you to notice how young people have no trouble showing all their life’s tiny moments in the open on Facebook or Twitter?  Taking a lesson from the kids, the power of showing the world positive little accomplishments builds up into a wonderful celebration of achievements and, when viewed from the outside, a nice portfolio of accomplishments. You probably have no trouble Facebooking your kid’s minor accomplishments: “Sally got the role of the lobster in the Christmas play” or “Fido rolled over.”.  But when it comes to ourselves we tend to be self-defeating and we undervalue what we have done. Don’t lose the importance of the small stuff.  Celebrate your wins in the open and let people know how awesome you are.

Attitude Adjustment Homework: Blowing Your Horn

  1. Make a list of accomplishments you are proud of.  They don’t all have to be related to work.  You should include goals that you have met, skills you have cultivated, and problems that you have solved.
  2. Select 1 or 2 of the accomplishments on your list.
  3. Create a plan to publish highlights of your accomplishments across your social channels over the next 30 days.  [Note:  Having a plan keeps you from drowning your audience with too much of your good thing – which can be a turn off.]

Would you rather be the pickee or the picker?

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Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

Email: thedigitalattitude@gmail.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorianlipton/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LorianL

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)

References

Exercises modified from About.com Small Business: Canada – Blow Your Own Horn: Business Success Program: Business Success Lesson 9 by ,

Your Image Matters: 10 Tips for the Right Profile Picture

It takes just one-tenth of a second for us to judge someone and make our first impression.[1] Like my mother always told me, “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression,” and, in the case of social networking, your profile picture is the number one biggest visual impression that you make, every day, with every contact.

Your profile picture may be THE most important piece of information about you on the internet.  Really – just think about it!  It is the visual key to your digital brand.   It is the only visual connection that internet contacts may ever have with you.  Are you sure that the picture of you at your family picnic 30 years ago, or the one where you are making that weird face, is really how you want people to know you?

Your images matters.  And because we have less opportunity to be in each others physical space, the image of you in your little tiny profile picture matters even more. That digital representation of you is all that your colleagues, employer, prospective new employer, clients, followers, and so on, may ever see.

I’ve noticed that my profile picture shows up everywhere these days:  when I comment on someone’s posts, when someone sees me on Twitter or LinkedIn, when I send an email – it is that little ‘Lorian-head’ that people relate to first, before my text.

C.G. Lynch, writer of Social Media Matters for CIO magazine said: “Truth is, this photo may be used by people whom you don’t know very well as they try to size you up – personally or professionally. So it matters.”  You may not get a second chance to show them your face.

10 Tips To the Right Profile Photo

Here are a bunch of tips that I put together to help you pick the right photo for your online accounts:

  1. Use a current photo.  When I went to buy my house, I picked a real estate agent who looked about 35 years old in her advertising photo.  When we met face to face, she was in her 60’s.  It made me a little concerned about trusting her.  Realize that someday you may actually meet the people who see your profile picture, make sure that you are as recognizable as possible.
  2. Use a human photo of YOU — not an object – not an avatar. (Though I do love my avatar because she is eternally young and she may be the right version of me on my personal Facebook page, but not professionally.)

    mywebfaxe

    Lorian’s Avatar

  3. Use a photo of ONLY you – no pets – no children – no vehicles – no drinking buddies.  Also, make sure that there are no errant body parts in the photo – like someone’s hand from an arm that you cropped out (that would be tacky).
  4. Smile! Your face should radiate warmth and approachability.  Smiling gives a positive signal, even in one-dimensional viewing.
  5. Make eye contact with the camera.  People want to see your eyes – it’s a trust thing. Look directly at the camera.  Don’t take pictures with a webcam, they just don’t look right.
  6. Create visual contrast.: There should be equal balance of dark areas and light areas. Take note of what you’re wearing, along with your hair color, when choosing what will be in the back drop.
  7. Chose your best clothes colors.  Think about other pictures that you look good in – what color were you wearing near your face then?  Wear clothes based on the professional appearance you want to present.  For most of us that is no t-shirts, busy patterns, or Hawaiian shirts.  Black and blue outfits always work well.  Photo experts say avoid white.
  8. Have a quiet background.  The less you have in the background of the photo the less visually distracting.
  9. Take a head and shoulders shot.  Look at other people’s profile pictures and see how much of their upper body they show.  A shoulder is always good.  But the profile shot is very small, so you want to be able to really see your face.
  10. You don’t need a professional photographer (though it would be nice), but take multiple shots.  Then ask people for their opinion on which one makes you seem most “approachable.”
President Barack Obama: Inauguration Day 2009

Not to get political here,  Just a good example of a profile picture,  And, if you must have a building in the background, the US Capitol would be one to have. – President Barack Obama 2009

“The goal is for your photo to reflect how you will look when you meet a customer, not how you looked at that killer party in Key West four years ago. The best profile photo isn’t necessarily your favorite photo. The best photo strikes a balance between professionalism and approachability, making you look good but also real.” – Social Ben Martin from his Social Media business blog

Do you have more profile tips to add to the list? What has worked or not worked for you when it came to your profile picture?

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Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

Email: thedigitalattitude@gmail.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorianlipton/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LorianL

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)

References

  1. Willis, J., & Todorov, A. (2006). First impressions: Making up your mind after 100 ms exposure to a face. Psychological Science, 17, 592-598.
  2. Image @ Trevor Aston Photography Bad Profile Pictures Are Like Limp Handshakes
  3. What Does Your Social Networking Profile Picture Say About You? How you portray yourself on social networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn matters. June 17, 2009 by C.G. Lynch
  4. Careerealism: Because Every Job is Temporary ,11 Tips For Choosing Your LinkedIn Photo,
  5. Analogue Chic, How To Look Better In Pictures: The Profile Pic, January 19, 2011
  6. Ben Martin, 6 Steps to a More Marketable Linked Profile
  7. BrandYourSelf, 5 Ways To Make Your Website Profile Photo Work For Your Personal Brand Image, July 15, 2009
  8. NJ Ledger, Allan Hoffman: Does that profile picture make you look like a schlub online?, May 10, 2013
  9. Photo from “President Barack Obama: Inauguration Day 2009

Your Personal Strengths Matter

Work posterWe live in interesting times.  Whoever thought that so many professionals would be worried about corporate restructuring, layoffs, and downsizing. Keeping your job in today’s unstable business climate takes new ideas and new ways to present yourself  – it takes personal branding.

Career opportunities have become as competitive as the market itself.  Knowing how to differentiate yourself from the pack will make all the difference in your career progression.

Personal Branding demands that you put your best foot forward. Taking a lesson from product marketing, you need to find and show your unique value.  You must clearly articulate what unique skills and strengths you possess.  Your online profiles and  resume represent your value statement – what you bring to the table – so it needs to be crisp.  Focusing on your strengths can provide you with a strong identity which is uniquely you.

”Most Americans do not know what their strengths are. When you ask them, they look at you with a blank stare, or they respond in terms of subject knowledge, which is the wrong answer”. – Peter Drucker

Selling your expertise has always involved putting your education and experience on paper (your resume or curriculum vide (CV)).  It usually was not until you were face to face with a client, or prospective employer, that you were able to impress them with your point of view. But today you rarely get the chance to have that face moment.  You need to wrap your point of view into your social presence.  Your online profile needs to not just talk about what you have done, but highlight your point of view, and what you can and want to do for others.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about identifying your soft and hard skill sets (2 Steps to Understanding Your Hard and Soft Skills).  To understand your soft skills, you really need to look at your CORE STRENGTHS.  These are the attributes of your personality that drive your ability to excel in certain soft skill areas, and the same one’s that drove your choices in selecting your hard skills (technical training and knowledge).

If you look around on LinkedIn or Twitter, you will see that many people define themselves by their titles (VP of Important Things), or the technical and business hard skills that they have (Network Engineer, Physicist), rather than the strengths of their personality (Leader, Innovator). But your core strengths, not your job title, will keep you moving forward in your business career.

Core Strengths

Core, or personal, strengths, unlike skills, are based on who you are, not what you know.  For example, one of my personal strengths is ‘Analytical.’  People with this strength search for reason and causes in things. They think about the factors that might affect a situation. (Gallup StrengthFinder)  It is important, as you focus on what makes you unique, to think about what your natural abilities are; the innate talents you were born with.

Attitude Adjustment Assignment – Define Your Core Strengths:

Looking at the list below, pick out 5 or 10 attributes that describe your top strengths.  Put them in an order from strongest to weakest.

strength chart(Chart adapted from Myrko Thum’s blog, Personal; Development That Transforms, March 2013)

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Differentiate Yourself

When you build your brand around your unique value, your authentic self, you start to standout from others.  Knowing and appreciating what makes you different from your peers and your competitors gives you a handle on what unique qualities you have to offer your team or your employer.  And it is in the knewing, that you are able to build a better online presence.

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It’s also important not to confuse strengths with likes. What you like to do is not necessarily what you do best. It can be, but it’s not a given. Of course, for a successful career you want to combine these two in order to overlap your strengths with your passion.

Over time, my core strengths guided me in making choices around work and also my personal life.  I chose jobs that felt comfortable and ‘right’ for me – not because I really knew why, but because I tend to ‘trust my gut’ (I am not sure that is a core strength, but it should be).

What I have learned over the years is that when my core strengths and my technical and business skills support each other, I tend to really shine in my work (and in my life), and I am the happiest.

Leverage your strengths as part of your personal branding process is a must for professionals today.  Companies are expecting employees that desire career growth to know who they are and to manage their own eminence.

What are your personal strengths and what makes you unique?

animationfinalKeep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

Email: thedigitalattitude@gmail.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorianlipton/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LorianL

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)

Grow Your Digital Reputation – 5 Ways

community sketchI’m a social butterfly and like most people, I prefer to participate in groups with other people who hold similar interests to me.  It gives me a sense of trust when I interact with people and groups with common values and beliefs to my own (Meyers, 2011). I find comfort with ‘like minded’ individuals, and obviously, I am not alone in this feeling since, one of the main motivators for people to use social media in the first place, is their desire for community.  Social Media allows us to be a part of community, not dictated by space or location, and it also comes with a sense of family and unity  (Mueller, 2010).

This social connectivity, this common ground, can help you build a strong digital reputation. Just as you are attracted to people and communities that you have something in common with, people will be attracted to what you have to say in return.  You just need to be genuine and authentic in your digital communications.

According to Dorie Clark, one of my favorite Branding gurus, there are 3 main ways to get noticed by other people when building your reputation online:

  1. through the content you create,
  2. by social proof provided by others, and
  3. by having someone recommend you directly.

Based on the first 2 ways above to get noticed, I have put together 5 suggestions on how you can grow your digital reputation.  The third way, having someone recommend you directly, speaks more to your physical network than you virtual one, but if you are getting them to recommend your social presence loudly, at let’s say a cocktail party or business conference, by all means, you should be using that tactic as well.

1. Promote Yourself and Your Ideas on Facebook

Facebook is, hands down, the largest social network being used today.  It is not just for your kids and connecting with your high school buddies anymore.  Many people have set up professional profiles that highlight their knowledge and expertise.  For example, check out Chocolate for Breakfast. This is the business page for Sue Ann Gleason, a culinary nutritionist and marketing strategist.  This page has over 19,845 Likes, which translates into fans following it, with outstanding engagement in the Facebook world (over 60% of the fans are talking about the page according to the Social Media Examiner).  It uses photos really well, has inspiring posts (particularly the recipes),and is entertaining and educational.

pm-choc-for-breakfast

Personally, I have a page on Facebook ( DogDaz ) that I use to connect with my followers that prefer that social network and to promote my PetBlog, dogdaz.com.   The goal is to connect with other animal lovers, promote animal rescue and remind my Facebook followers to read today’s blog posts.  This has worked great in the last year and I have over 40,000 hits on the blog (which is huge for me).

dogdaz fbWhat you will find is that people will start recommending your content to other people, who will recommend it to other people, and building your reputation.  In the Facebook world, the number of people (FANS) that LIKE your page, the higher the rating and stronger your reputation.  These ratings act as SOCIAL PROOF that your page (you) has value.  If someone agrees (thumbs up) that what you are saying, or selling, or doing, has value, that social proof leads others to see greater value in your stuff.  Dorie Clark says that “basically, [social proof] means that people look to others around them to judge the value of something. (If a book has 1,000 five-star Amazon reviews, it must be good.)”  Can you see how you might leverage this to help build your reputation?

2. Connect to Other Professionals with LinkedIn

LinkedIn is definitely ‘the place’ to connect to people professionally.  Just like with Facebook you set up a profile, but the power of LinkedIn comes through your participation in groups that interest you.  This is where you show your smarts.  You build a following on LinkedIn by following other people and groups, and commenting on their ideas, or in forums, with your ideas.  This gets your name out there.  As you comment, you build your credibility as an expert in a particular area, and your reputation increase.

3. Write a Blog

Though blogging is not for everyone, blogs are a great way to let the world know what you are thinking on a particular subject and why you are an expert. It takes time to build an audience, but if your posts are on interesting topics and you take the time to research and write clearly, the benefits to your digital presence is worth it.  I use this blog (thedigitalattitude.com) as a way to pull all my thoughts together about digital eminence, personal branding, and social project management, and then I link my posts to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and IBM Connections, to make sure that those people who are following me on different platforms, know what I am thinking today.  (Don’t be overwhelmed by the media connections, you can manage the feeds with tools like HootSuite or feedly – but that is for another blog post.)

4. Comment on Other People’s Posts and in Relevant Communities

Being helpful and answering questions in forums and communities is a great way to get known.  This may sound like a tease, but you can give just enough information in your answer and then encourage people to contact you through your email, blog, website or other links, so that you start to build a direct relationship.  The more you put yourself out in front, the more digitally social you are, the more will come back to you.  Trust me – it works (your reading my blog, aren’t you?).

5.  Be a Regular On Your Social Media Sites

If you are going to use any of these suggestions to build your digital reputation, do them consistently.  I hate when I come upon communities, groups, forums, and blog sites that are woefully outdated.  If you are going to have a presence in social media, you need to post regularly or it does you little good.  People will lose interest in your posts if your site, or blog, or Twitter feed is outdated.  You don’t need to post everyday, 2 or 3 times a week is fine, but you should be doing it regularly.

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The internet provides the ability to grow your reputation exponentially,  And, based on the concept of Six Degrees of Separation (or the Small World theory) “millions of people are connected by just a few short steps.” (Lovgren, 2010)  So what are you waiting for? How are you leveraging your connections?

Tell me what you are doing to grow your reputation?

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Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)

References

4 Steps To The Brand Of YOU

You are unique.

Yes, you are.  You’re one of a kind. There is no one else like you. Some people may have similar attributes, but they are still different from you.  Even if you are an identical twin, you are not a clone (well, I am pretty sure you aren’t). Good personal branding is communicating through words and actions those things that show who you are: your unique self.  Today’s Attitude Adjustment post looks at 4 things that, when put together, call out what makes you UNIQUE: Expertise, Perception, Personality, and Presence.

My cousin's triplets.  All look the same, but are very individual personalities.

My cousin’s triplets. All look the same, but have very different personalities.

To describe our brand, we need to look at the combination of characteristic features that make us, us. We must be able to describe our personal traits: the distinguishing features of our personal nature, our personality, that we alone possess. It is through analyzing our traits, strengths, weaknesses, and other differentiating qualities, that we construct our personal brand statement and show people the unique value we bring to things.

We have all heard people say things like “it is his nature to help others,” or “she is a natural-born communicator.” Well it is our nature that determines our actions and reactions to things and it is through understanding ourselves to this degree, that we are best able to craft a compelling and authentic personal brand statement.

The Brand of YOU

To get you started on thinking about personality traits, here is a list of some of the more common ones.  Do any of them fit you?

activeness, activity – the trait of being active; moving or acting rapidly and energetically
attentiveness – the trait of being observant and paying attention
communicativeness – the trait of being communicative
discipline – the trait of being well-behaved
drive – the trait of being highly motivated
emotionalism, emotionality – emotional nature or quality
emotionlessness, unemotionality – absence of emotion
femininity – the trait of behaving in ways considered typical for women
firmness of purpose, resoluteness, resolve, firmness, resolution – the trait of being resolute
humility, humbleness – a disposition to be humble; a lack of false pride
individualism, individuality, individuation – the quality of being individual
masculinity – the trait of behaving in ways considered typical for men
pride – the trait of being spurred on by a dislike of falling below your standards
serious-mindedness, earnestness, seriousness, sincerity – the trait of being serious
sound judgement, sound judgment, perspicacity, judgement, judgment – the capacity to assess situations or circumstances shrewdly and to draw sound conclusions
thoughtfulness – the trait of thinking carefully before acting
trustfulness, trustingness, trust – the trait of believing in the honesty and reliability of others
trustiness, trustworthiness – the trait of deserving trust and confidence
wisdom, wiseness – the trait of utilizing knowledge and experience with common sense and insight
Trait definitions from TheFreeDictionary © 2012 by Farlex, Inc.
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When I ask people what their personal brand is, many can not tell me.  They can talk about their technical or business expertise and they can recite their work and life resumes, but they lack the details of what they uniquely bring to the world – their personal twist – their brand.  When pushed they can tell me their moral and ethical values, and their passions, but they have never tried to create a personal brand image.  And, you first need to develop your personal brand image before you will be able to create a digital one.

Attitude Adjustment Homework:  Crafting Your Personal Brand Image.

In your notebook make a list of the following information.

1,  Expertise:  Include here your competencies: general knowledge, point of view on things, technical knowledge, and your critical thinking ability.

64309“An expert is someone who knows some of the worst mistakes that can be made in his subject, and how to avoid them.”
Werner Heisenberg

2.  Perception: What do other people think you’re an expert in? What are you known for doing well?  What strengths do others perceive you possess?

Understanding how people see us is enlightening, and is the best way to investigate and improve our image, especially when it comes to branding. I regularly survey my mentors, managers, colleagues, and clients to ensure that I have a good feedback loop between what I think I project and what I really project.

This makes me think of a line from a Robert Burns poem:

“O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us.”
(O would some power the gift to give us to see ourselves as others see us.)
Robert Burns, Poem “To a Louse” – verse 8
Scottish national poet (1759 – 1796)

3.  Personality: What are your personality strengths and weaknesses?  Describe your core personality traits.

Personal strengths, unlike skills and expertise, are based on who you are, not what you know.  These are the personality traits that I mentioned above. Once you understand your personality traits, your natural talents, you can apply them to your personal definition.

Take me for example: my top personal strength is “Individualization.”  I am intrigued with the unique qualities of each person and have a gift for figuring out how people who are different can work together productively. (Gallup StrengthFinder) This talent has served me well in my role as a global program manager, in customizing projects for clients. and in identifying different approaches to everything from data analysis to personal problems.

4.  Presence.  Your personal image depends on how you appear in the world.  Presence or appearance includes things like how you dress, the way your carry yourself, your posture, your gestures, even your facial expressions.  Influence demands on personal presence.  You can have all the other factors, but without the proper presence you may never be able to ‘sell’ the Brand of You, “Presence is not an all-or-nothing commodity. Consider it a continuum, with your physical attributes, natural talents, communication skills, and character traits plotted along the way somewhere from one end to the other between “low presence/low impact” and “high presence/high impact.” (Dianna Booher, Creating a Powerful Personal Presence to Influence and Engage, American Management Association, March 6, 2012)

Once you have a solid list in all 4 categories, you can begin to create a strawman of your brand profile.  But I think that is enough homework for a couple of days.

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Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)

18 Ways To Increase Your Digital Presence

1.analyzing_computer_tv_head_sm_nwmTo help you stay motivated on this hyperactive journey toward digital eminence, I have credited the Attitude Adjustment Rewards System.

Have you been playing along and doing your Attitude Adjustment Homework (check out the Attitude Homework page to catch up)?

Today I past 500 hits on the blog (Yeah!!!! 500 people looking and reading) and  to celebrate that milestone, I have put together a list of activities so that together we can look at all the good work we are doing toward DIGITAL EMINENCE and reward ourselves.  I have imbedded helpful links throughout the activities list to help you get your rewards.

Activity Points
1. Understanding What You Look Like: Exploring Google, Yahoo, to see how the world sees you (Taking Out The Digital Garbage) 1
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2. Updating your LinkedIn picture (tips on background colour) with something more professional looking.  (That is how all the people and companies in cyberspace see you – don’t you want to look your best?) 1
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3. Take that new picture and replace all your other profiles with it, so you have a singular face to the world. (It is easier to maintain one picture on all profiles, and easy is good.) 1
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4. Rework your resume and create a one-page version.  Only send your long resume if people want it.  
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5. Reword your LinkedIn profile (LinkedIn Profile Blueprint from Social Ben Martin)  to ensure that it represented the business information that you want the world to see.  Your personal brand.  Though you may still be working on ‘who you are,’ try to be as authentic as possible.  Branding is, of course, a dynamic process, so updating will happen often. 1
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6.  Do you Tweet?  Update your Twitter profile and start to use it more (at least once a day, if it makes business sense for you).  Follow more industry people you admire (like me) and also spending some time checking out the links they post.  You don’t have to say anything, just listen to what’s tweeting. 1
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7. TAGGING – tagging, tagging, tagging.  Tag yourself every chance you get.  At work, tag your profile,  tag your blog, tag people you know, tag your external profiles.  If you don’t have labels on what you do, and who you are, how are people going to find you. 1
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8. Created a word cloud of your expertise and have other people help you see where your expertise lies. 1
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9. Reading.  There is so much good info out there both on the web and in print.  I gave you a weekend reading list.  Personally, I am trying to spend at least a half hour reading a book every day.  I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but at least it is something.  Are you reading to expand your mind and increase your knowledge? 1
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10. Follow some Communities or Groups, like TED: Ideas Worth Spreading Community.  Keep up with the pulse of one or two companies, industries, or movements. 1
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11. Register and play with an app called BrandYourSelf 1
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12. Offer you assistance in education or public speaking in your area of specialty, both physically and virtually. 1
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13. Create your Attitude Adjustment Plan, and work on clarifying your vision, purpose, values and passion statements.  You can’t know what your brand is if you don’t know who you are and what you stand for. 1
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14. Expanded your internal company and external network contacts (Are You Ready For Cyber Relations?) 1
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15. Add valuable content and comments to articles and blogs online 1
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16. Focus more on your listening skills.  Participate in activities like the 21-day Mediation Challenge with Deepak & Ophra to help quiet your mind. 1
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17. Registered with Klout.com to see how your score is changing on the internet 1
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18. Read THEDIGITALATTITUDE blog every week and comment on how you are doing. 1
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Total Reward Points

I know for a fact that these activities will help increase your digital presence.  But if my little Attitude Adjustment Reward System isn’t enough to motivate you, how about a piece of Dark Chocolate? Let me know your score. Need help with your one pager or your LinkedIn profile? email me: thedigitalattitude@gmail.com

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Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)

2 Steps To Understanding Your Hard and Soft Skills

Player_runsSocial Presence is about putting your best foot forward… but you need to know which foot that is.  Only when you are clear on what skills you possess can you really paint a good picture of yourself online.

Today we are going to talk about the two types of skills that are critical to your success in business, your HARD and SOFT skills. Your Attitude Adjustment Homework will help you hone in on both so that you will be able to highlight them in your online profiles.

I find that people tend to define themselves more by the technical and business hard skills that they have, rather than the strengths of their personality that are defined by the soft skills.  They lead with their business titles, not with their strengths.

Human Resource people say “it may be your hard skills that get you the interview, but it is your soft skills that get you the job.” (SearchCIO).  So let’s start with the easy stuff and look at your hard skills.

Hard Skills

Hard skills are learned.  You are taught them in school or from books. They are a way of doing something; a procedure, a best practice.  They usually refer to training and knowledge that a person has in a specific skill set.  Hard skills are usually what you spend hours and hours learning in school. First you take the basic courses, then you move on to the more advanced.

Using me as an example, I am a project manager. Project management is my hard skill.  I took many IBM courses in project management, earned Masters certificates from both George Washington and Stanford Universities, passed my Project Management Institute (PMI) Exam to become a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), and also passed the internal IBM certification process.  Though life experience was important in completing these milestones, it was the hard skills, that were being assessed.

Hard skills take smarts, they are about using your brain (in particular the left side of your brain).  They are about your ability to perform a certain task. Careers that rely heavily on hard skills are Physicists, Mathematicians, Computer Programmers, Statisticians, etc.  What are your hard skills?

Attitude Adjustment Assignment #1:  Identify Your Hard Skills

Take out your notebook and write down all the skills you can think of that relate to you.

I am an expert in  (specialty):  _____________.

People come to me (I am the ‘go-to’ person) for:  _______________.

I am known for the following skills: ___________________________________________________

Soft Skills

tightropeSoft skills are more difficult to quantify. These skills are personality qualities, habits, attitudes, and even social graces. Unlike hard skills, which can be evaluated by a logic intelligence test (IQ), soft skills tend to use your heart, and conversely would be evaluated by an emotional intelligence test (EQ).  This is ‘right brain’ stuff.  Some examples of soft skills would be: anticipating risk, motivating others, teamwork, innovating, listening, communicating.  They are things that you learn, hone, and improve over a life time of trial and error.

People skills, management skills, communications, leadership, politics, are all soft skills.  You can take classes in how to develop these skills, but it is your innate personality that will ultimately determine which ones you excel in and your ability to apply what you have learned to different situations over time.  Unlike hard skills where the rules pretty much are static (for example, the Waterfall Application Development Method), soft skills are dynamic and change based on the situation to which they need to be applied.  For example, you could do a great job communicating technical status to your team, but a poor job communicating project progress to your executive management.  When the audience changes, your must change how you are communicating accordingly.

What are your soft skills?

Attitude Adjustment Assignment #2:  Identify your Soft Skills

Look at the list of 28 soft skills below and pick out 5 or 10 that you feel are your top soft skills.  Put them in an order from strongest to weakest.

(The list is adapted from: List of 28 Soft Skills – Business Professionals, June 2, 2011, Career Success – Ask A Wharton MBA)

  1. Self awareness – knowing what drives, angers, motivates, embarrasses, frustrates, inspires you
  2. Emotion management – being able to control unexpected emotions like anger and frustration so you can think clearly and at your optimum.
  3. Self-confidence – those who believe in themselves have access to “unlimited power” (wisdom from KungFu Panda)
  4. Stress management – Being able to stay calm and balanced in stressful, overwhelming situations
  5. Resilience – Ability to bounce back from a misstep in your job or career
  6. Skills to forgive and forget – Ability to move on without baggage from a past mistake or something in your career that wronged you
  7. Persistence and Perseverance – Ability to overcome challenging situations and obstacles and maintain the same energy
  8. Patience – ability to step back in an emergency to think clearly or the ability to pause and wait when you are in a rush or want to rush others.
  9. Communication skills – skills to listen and articulate your ideas in writing and verbally to any audience in a way where you are heard and you achieve the goals you intended with that communication. This is also known as interpersonal communication skills
  10. Presentation skills – ability to maintain attention and achieve your desired outcome from presenting to an audience
  11. Facilitating skills – ability to coordinate and solicit well represented opinions and feedback from a group with diverse perspectives to reach a common, best solution.
  12. Interviewing skills – ability to sell your skills as an interviewee or accurately assess other’s ability or extract the needed information as an interviewer
  13. Selling skills – this is not just for people in sales.  This is the ability to build buy-in to an idea, a decision, an action, a product, or a service
  14. Meeting management skills – at least 50% of meetings today in corporate america are a waste of time.  This is the skill to efficiently and effectively reach productive results from leading a meeting
  15. Influence / persuasion skills – ability to influence perspective or decision making but still have the people you influence think they made up their own mind.
  16. Team work skills – ability to work effectively with anyone with different skill sets, personalities, work styles,  or motivation level
  17. Management skillsability to motivate and create a high performing team with people of varied skills, personalities, motivations, and work styles.
  18. Leadership skills – ability to create and communicate vision and ideas that inspires others to follow with commitment and dedication.
  19. Skills in dealing with difficult personalities – Ability to work well or manage someone whom you find difficult
  20. Skills in dealing with difficult situationsAbility to stay calm and still be effective when faced with an unexpected difficult situation.
  21. Ability to think / communicate on your feet (under pressure) – ability to articulate thoughts in an organized manner even when you are not prepared for the question or situation you are in
  22. Networking skillsability to be interesting and interested in business conversations that motivates people to want to be in your network.
  23. Interpersonal relationship skillsability to build trust, find common ground, have empathy, and ultimately build good relationships with people you like or in positions of power/influence.
  24. Negotiation skillsability to understand the other side and reach a win-win resolution that you find favorably, satisfies both sides, and maintains relationships for future dealings
  25. Mentoring / coaching skills – ability to provide constructive wisdom, guidance, and/or feedback that can help others further their career development
  26. Organizing skills – ability to organize business gatherings to facilitate learning, networking, or business transactions
  27. Self-promotion skills ability to subtly promote your skills and work results to people of power or influence in your organization.  This will build your reputation and influence.
  28. Savvy in handling office politics – office politics is a fact of life in corporate america.  This is the ability to understand and deal with office politics so you can protect yourself from unfairness as well as further your career.
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On the flip side of the Mathematician is the Salesperson.  Someone who needs little schooling but a lot of personality.  They need to excel in persuasion, and the art of the deal.  They know how to sell themselves, on and off-line. But for most of us, our personal story will be a mix of both hard and soft skills.  I have had to balance my deep technical knowledge (hard skills), with the ability to handle clients, negotiate the win-win, and delivery with grace (soft skills).

Once you do your homework, we will take a look at how you can change-up your online profile to show off who you really are.

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Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)