Do you know you are sabotaging yourself without uttering one word? But you are unaware of it! It’s high time and you need to work on your non-verbal communication skills and build your personal brand.
“All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You” – Tom Peters
A brand is a promise and ultimately a sorting device. If I offered you two bottles of Cola, one being a no-name brand and the other a bottle of Coca-Cola – naturally you will go for the Coca-Cola.
Why? Because they have made you a promise of joy and happiness. Ultimately you trust it more than an unknown brand.
Your brand is the promise you make; in other words, what do people expect of you when they engage with you? Seth Godin, author and marketer tells us that brands that keep their promises are consistent and trustworthy.
Your personal brand is essentially how you show up in other people’s minds; it is what is said about you when you are not in the room.
There is so much you cannot control during this time of lockdown but the one aspect that is fully within your domain is your personal brand.
The basis of building a personal brand begins and ends with your behaviour. It is also a combination of everything you say and more importantly what you don’t say, the non-verbal communication skills that can make or break a personal brand. Here are some aspects you seriously need to consider and reflect on to ensure you are showing up congruently to how you want to be perceived.
Consider these seemingly innocent aspects of non-verbal skills that can be speaking volumes without you uttering one word:
1. Be punctual
“If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.” – Lik Hock Yap Ivan
If you already have a guilty smile because you know you have a tendency to always be late, then consider this – when you show up late, even five minutes late, you are signalling to that person ‘I don’t respect your time’.
If you are really late, their internal dialogue escalates to ‘How can I trust this person with my customers or my business if they cannot show up on time for a simple meeting?’ In a space of five minutes, you have immediately impacted your professional presence.
If this happens consistently, it can create two serious problems. Firstly, when the mind-set of everyone on your team is that the meeting always starts 10 minutes late so why should you bother to arrive on time – it begins to create a culture of being late. This of course has a domino effect on your day and every meeting runs 10 minutes late; then you wonder why it’s 3PM and you haven’t left your chair.
I’m not saying if you are late once, you will destroy your brand but become aware of it being a pattern. If it happens on a regular basis, your brand will start to become associated with words like ‘unreliable and untrustworthy’. If this has been part of your repertoire, the good news is you can behave your way back into trust.
So how can you break the bad habit of being late?
Prepare and plan
Sometimes it feels like there is a conspiracy plot against you arriving on time – aspects like an inconsistent data signal, the Wi-Fi drops, traffic, power cuts and your keys are never where you swore you left them. Yes these are part of your reality but there comes a point where you can no longer blame your tardiness on any of these aspects.
All this additional uncertainty means you need to plan ahead.
For online meetings – log in at least 10 minutes earlier to check you have the correct link, check your sound, camera, background, check your Wi-Fi or data signal. Have you ever logged on for a meeting and your computer figures this is the best time to do an automatic update?
For face to face meetings, please check Waze or an equivalent app that monitors traffic flow. You may think it takes 15 minutes on a normal day but you have no idea about the accident that just occurred on your route and there is a huge delay.
Check at least 30 minutes before you need to leave to make sure you don’t need to make any adjustments to your departure time.
Don’t ever arrive in the parking lot at the starting time of your meeting, aim to be inside the building at least 10 minutes early to do the security protocol of signing in a laptop for example. I am sure by the time you go back to work, you will need to leave time to get screened for your temperature and sanitise so best be sure to arrive even earlier.