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Posts Tagged ‘brand’

Season’s Change – Time to Reflect and Plan

September 22, 2010 Leave a comment

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Today is the first day of Fall.   It is a new beginning, a changing of the season, and a perfect time to cozy up in the cool evening air and look ahead.  Have you ever turned around and realized that another season (or worse, YEAR) has passed and you haven’t really made the progress you thought you would? Changing of seasons is one of nature’s reminders to reflect on progress during the previous season and make plans for the next.

Following are some reflection questions I’m considering today as I embrace this opportunity to reflect on summer and plan for fall:

  1. What did I accomplish last season?
    • How do these successes contribute to my long-term goals / plans?
  2. What did I want to do, but didn’t?
  3. What behavior might I need to examine and choose a different behavior for the fall?
    • What one or two things can I do in the next week to begin this new behavior?
  4. What did the summer reveal or validate about how I am wired?
    • How does this knowledge inform my plans for work and life?
    • What one or two things can I do in the next week to apply this knowledge?
  5. Pause to visualize long term goals / plan – envision what it looks like to accomplish each one.
  6. What do I need to add to or change about my long-term goals? (Make sure they are written down.) 
  7. What 1, 2, or 3 things can I do in the fall to make progress towards the vision / each goal?
    • Reality check – Is it realistic that I can do these things?  If not, how can I change them to be realistic or what can I change to remove barriers?
  8. Review everything – What two or three things am I going to do in the next week to kick start this season?

Colors change, revealing true inner beauty.

Evening air chills, a forthright reminder.

Nature prepares, with purpose and urgency.

Time charges forward …

… are you ready?

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The “Worth Your Time Test” – Also a Test of Authenticity

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Whether you are employed, independent, or job searching, it’s critical to understand whether or not an activity or a request is worth your time.  Per a prior discussion about the risk of social media drain on your time, any and all activities can fit into this drain category.

How do you know if something is a drain?  Do you pause to consider the value of the activity and whether or not it’s worth the trade-off of precious time you have to spend that day?  Are there other activities you could be doing that would better further your interests and satisfy your soul?

In an HBR blog, Peter Bregman suggests asking the following three questions (it’s the “Is it worth your time?” test) and included are my additional suggestions:

1. Am I the right person?

I’d add “Is this the right person?” – think of the application of this in trying to further an idea within an organization or with networking to further your business or for a job search.

2. Is this the right time?

Also, “Is this the right AMOUNT of time?” – someone may have requested an hour b/c of the default setting in Outlook, but maybe it’s really only a 15 or 30 minute topic – go ahead and suggest a reduced time for the meeting.  It also may not be enough time – better to schedule enough time to accomplish the goal of the conversation than to have to skip things or schedule a second conversation.

3. Do I have enough information?

This is an excellent question.  Just today, I requested a conversation with someone in my quest to find a company to work with on my grad school capstone project and she admitted that she’s not the right person (she doesn’t have enough information).  Even better, she suggested two people who have more information on the topic.  She exercised this question in the test beautifully!

These questions help you to say no or tweak the time-frame or the person appropriately. Once you’ve done this successfully, take the few extra minutes critical to plan for the conversation, including:

  • Always at least have a desired outcome, if not a full agenda planned.
  • Understand your personal brand and what you may need to do or say to ensure you leave a consistent impression about your brand with the people you meet.
  • Have the information you need in advance – based on the topic, what should you bring to the table?  What questions do you need to ask?  What background information should you reference prior to the conversation?

Be true to yourself and to the people with whom you interact – it’s an expression of true authenticity!

Categories: You in B&W Tags: , ,

Can You Tell Your Story in Just 6 Words?

April 7, 2010 3 comments

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My attention was caught by two-month long discussion on the LinkedIn group:

TED: Ideas Worth Spreading.

It was posted by Kway Yu and has generated 610 comments as of today.  The premise of his invitation for folks to tell the story of themselves in just 6 words is based on a statement by Ernest Hemingway, master storyteller, that his best work was a story he wrote in just six words:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

This discussion has inspired hundreds of people to share a story of themselves in just 6 words.  My story right now might look something like:

Compelled to become who I am!

therefore…

Inspiring change through interaction about ideas.

In an earlier post (The Discipline of Word Choice in Social Media), I shared how the use of fewer words is a discipline presented to us by several great historical works (73 words) and one that we are forced to develop through use of modern communication technology and social media such as Texting (160 characters) and Twitter (140 characters).  It is also a discipline developed by those who successfully communicate with corporate executives and by those who give excellent presentations.  Some of the best presentations I’ve ever seen are on TED.com where no presentation exceeds 18 minutes.

Storytelling inspires emotion and placement of oneself into the story – it becomes personal.  Steve Denning, storytelling advocate, has had a huge influence on my belief in the power of storytelling (or use of narrative) in business settings in recent years.  Is the art of storytelling making a resurgence?  It’s definitely going through an evolution and technology is helping us to think completely different about it.  I know most of you are at least learning to or mastering the art of communicating in just 140 characters, but can you tell your story in just 6 words?  I invite you to comment &/or Twitter your 6 word story, use #6story.

What is your 6 word story?


While searching for an image of the #6 to include in this post, I came across another blog post from 2008 about a teacher who gave this assignment to his students … check it out, too!

Personal Brand – Maintaining a True Reflection of Ourself

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With the rise of the Personal Brand (whether or intended or not) via our online activity / presence, it is important to consider if your visible brand is an authentic brand.

Consider this excellent article from FastCompany:

BRAND OR DIE: The Downfall of the Institution and the Rise of the Personal Brand

The more we explicitly know about how we are wired, the more we should then be purposeful about how this is reflected in our brand, how others see & perceive us.  This came to question for me a few weeks back while having coffee with a personal branding expert (amongst other things), Lida Citroen @lida360.  She shared with me the word a mutual acquaintance used to describe me to her and I was truly baffled.  Sweet?  Really?  I know I’m a nice person, but wouldn’t consider “sweet” amongst the top 10 or 20 that anyone who knows me would use.  Lida shared this with me to point out the power of branding and the mis-perceptions that can be left when it’s ignored.  By not paying attention to it, I left someone with the word “sweet” in their mind.  It could mean that if I were to work with her in the future, what she would get from the experience of working with me would be different than what her perception of me was after our first meeting.  There would be an inconsistency that could cause problems.  Instead, she needed to be left with “engaging”, “full of ideas”, “inspiring”, “knowledgeable” –  something more consistent.

Personal brand is NOT false advertising, it’s all about leaving an authentic reflection of who you are in the minds of others.  The better you understand what it is like for others to be and work with you, the better you are able to ensure that people’s initial perceptions are consistent with what this experience will be like.  It can mean you are more likely to get a return call, email, text, or tweet for a blooming friendship, date, interview, contract, etc.

Categories: You in B&W Tags: , ,