Personal Branding: Reinvent your thinking

Reinvention doesn’t have to be an external thing, it can all happen on the inside. You can change your mindset by thinking differently, clearing your head trash or taking a new perspective.

Take a new perspective

As you look back on last year, is there anything that happened that had an impact on the way you look at the world? Has there been some event that has made you think differently? Maybe it’s challenged your view about what you do, how you do it or why you do it? Have you stopped to fully integrate this and think about who you might actually make changes as a result?

Think differently

Or, have you had an epiphany? Maybe something happened that has forced your to reconsider your view on certain things. This might come from a significant life changing event such as illness, loss of loved one or the loss of a job. Our life is filled with moments that challenge our way of thinking and so often we don’t stop for a second and take note. The mistake here would be to not take action and change as a result. Steve Jobs spoke of how his terminal illness helped him to think differently and focus, and there’s no question of the impact that had on his work, and our lives, as a result.

Clear your head trash

Sometimes it’s not about changing your perspective, but getting rid of the self sabotaging thoughts that don’t serve you and just hold you back. We’ve all got head trash; emotions that control us, inner negative chatter or internal conflict, and it can build to such a level that it impacts our relationships, our work and our happiness. Having a good clear out can reinvigorate many aspects of your life that suddenly life feels all new and shiny again.

While these changes may begin on the inside, they will soon seep out through your behaviour and actions. As you clear your head trash, you will gain more clarity about what’s important to you and this in turn may lead to you positively choosing to extend your reinvention into other areas of your life. In my work with people on their personal brands, when I am faced with someone who wants to move on, but they don’t know where to, clearing head trash is always the starting point. It helps to create a stillness within that enables you to just KNOW what is right for you. If head trash is something that is holding you back, you might want to check out my sister site or have a peek at some of the videos on HeadTrashTV.

Why not read one of these:

Reinvent how you express yourself

• Reinvent your looks

• Reinvent everything!


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Personal Branding: A Time for Reinvention

The new year is always a time for new starts and fresh thinking. We might not need to turn our lives upside down, but we can’t help trying to inject a bit of life into what we do. Sounds like the perfect time for spot of reinvention!

Reinvention is not something that is reserved for the Madonnas of this world. It’s something that most of us need to consider at some time or other in our lives. Of course, if you have a job for life or an endless pot of cash then it probably won’t feature very high on your to-do list, but not many of us can lay claim to having those. If on the other hand you’re someone who finds themselves on the shifting sands of technology, business and 21st century working life, then reinvention is most certainly something that you will need to grapple with at some point.

Reinvention can take many guises. It’s not necessarily about dying your hair a new colour and buying a whole new wardrobe. Reinvention can also happen at different levels. Here are a series of articles I wrote for Fresh Business Thinking that explore the various levels of reinvention that you can undertake.

– Reinvent your thinking

– Reinvent how you express yourself

– Reinvent your looks

– Reinvent everything!


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10 ways to build your personal brand online

1. Set yourself up with a profile on the high traffic social networking sites that are relevant to you. You want to make sure that if someone Googles your name that you will be easily found.

2. Ensure that you fill out your profiles as completely as possible, remembering to include a head shot photo.

3. Put some time aside to familiarise yourself with the bigger social networks. They can be very powerful and useful for you in terms of progressing your career so a little time investing up front could pay dividends later. Quite literally!

4. Always use a professionally taken photo. You have to look your best remember. Ensure that your photo is a recent one so that you are recognisable. And, aim to use the same photo across all your profiles, to build consistency. The photo needs to be close one, as the images often appear quite small. We want to see your face!

5. When choosing a username for sites such as Twitter, pick a name that is obviously you – i.e. your name, or variations of. Using cryptic names or using lots of numbers will in time begin to look quite unprofessional. They are also much harder to remember, which means you are unlikely to be found.

6. Try to use the same username across all sites. This can be hard so take some time to find a username that is likely to be available. Consistency in username means that if people connect with you in one site or network, that they are more likely to find you in others.

7. Buy your name as a web domain. You might not want to do anything with it, but at least no one else can use it to create negative or irrelevant content. Managing your digital reputation is about damage limitation too.

8. Decide what you want to be known for. This is a big one and not to be rushed. Once you put information online it stays there so only put things up that you’re happy with and that enhance your career and life prospects.

9. Engage in the rich tapestry of the web, don’t just stand from the sidelines and watch – no one will see you there. Comment on other peoples’ blogs, maybe write your own, but take part!

10. Set yourself up with Google Alerts to track instances of your name online. This enables you to find out quickly if some negative content is doing the rounds so you can sort it out. You might also want to track key words in your area of expertise or your industry. If you blog this helps you to blog about subjects as they arise and can help you to be perceived as a thought leader.

There are many more things that can done, if you have any more that you’d like to add, please pop them in the comments section. Thanks!


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Writing your personal bio: 1st person or 3rd person?

This is a question that I’m always asked, and while there is no set rule on the matter, it’s certainly something that divides opinion. Just glance through a handful of LinkedIn profiles to see what I mean. But as our personal bio becomes more important in a world where our digital profiles are read before our voices are heard, understanding how best to write your bio is definitely something worth figuring out.

Your personal bio serves several functions. Firstly, it needs to tell people who you are and what you’re about and it’s a great opportunity for you to tell people what makes you great/different/interesting/unique/qualified for the job/credible/worth listening to (*delete as appropriate). Ideally it should tell people what you think they will be interested in knowing about you and help you to stand out and be memorable. What you don’t want, are people giving up on reading your personal bio half way through because they’re bored or they think you’re an idiot. Anyway, back to the question; “Should my personal bio be written in the first person or third person?”

As part of my research for this post, I put the question to my Twitter followers, and here are some of the responses I received.

@Story_Jon Jon Thomas “If its your own site, I would say first. Otherwise, third.”

@colinjbrowne Colin J Browne “Third. That way people can cut and paste it, which is really the point, I reckon.”

@CopyFountain “Personal bios: 1st or 3rd person RT @colinjbrowne: @AlexiaL Third. That way people can cut and paste it. <- Mark likes this.”

@gspress4attnpr Greg Simpson “hmmm re personal bio, I would say 3rd person as often used by people who do not know you”

When I ran a poll on my Facebook page, the votes were 67% – first person and 33% – third person. What does that tell you? We don’t really know! So, to help us figure this out, I think the first question we need to ask ourselves is this:

Where is it going to be used?

Is it on your personal website? Is it for a speaker bio at a conference? Is it for the “Meet our team” page on the company website? Is it for a book? All these are very different environments and the reader will have a different expectation of “who” is doing the talking. For example, at a conference, all literature and collateral is likely to be produced by the event organiser. So, in this situation, most people would probably expect a bio to be written in the third person. Just as if the organiser is standing there on stage introducing this person who’s about to come on.

However, if it’s for your personal website or your LinkedIn profile they are going to have a different expectation. People are going to be engaging directly with you (you hope!). So, in this environment you want to be able to create that connection as effortlessly and as naturally as possible. Imagine being at an event and introducing yourself: would you do it in the 3rd person? NO! Not unless you’re an idiot or you’ve multiple personalities. People are going to assume that you are responsible for your own website or LinkedIn profile and that you write it yourself. That is, unless you want to create the impression that you have a team of minions that do everything for you. But even if you did, would you still outsource the bit where you meet and engage with new people? Probably not. A great bio will encourage people want to find out more about you. People are more likely to want to find out more about you if you’ve helped to create a connection with them and in this situation, a connection is better created when you’re speaking as you rather than through someone else.

@StoryJon ‘s response “If its your own site, I would say first. Otherwise, third.” highlights my next point.

Your personal bio never exists in the singular

You have several. It is likely after all, that you will be engaging with different audiences, in different places, in different contexts. Different audiences have different needs and will be interested in different aspects of you. In some instances your bio will need to be four or five lines, whereas others may be two or three paragraphs. Do you have the same bio in your Twitter profile as your LinkedIn profile? Knowing what to say, where, and to who is the art of communicating. So having one bio to fit all these is just not going to work. You don’t have just one way of introducing yourself when you meet people; you have several depending on who you meet, where you are and what you think they’ll be interested in. The same goes for your bio.

Free for all?

@ColinJBrown ’s comment “Third. That way people can cut and paste it, which is really the point, I reckon.“ is interesting. Personally I’d never considered that someone would copy and paste my bio from my site. Why would anyone be using your bio without your knowledge? In my mind, if someone wants a bio from you, it’s very likely that you’re already engaging with them on some level and that you know that they will want your bio. Maybe you’re speaking at their event, or contributing to their magazine or blog. In this case I would send them a bio that is tailored to the audience and message I want to get across. This may well be a standard bio that you have ready to send, even if it is a direct copy of your first person bio.

Keep control of your message

Mark (@copyFountain) likes the fact that people can copy and paste a bio from the online home where it may be living. Personally, I find this a risky strategy. If anything, you DO NOT want people to copy it. If someone wants your bio, then it’s worth taking the time finding out where it’s going to be used and who’s likely to be reading it. This then offers you the opportunity to tailor your bio appropriately thus ensuring that you are saying exactly what you want to say to that particular audience.

This close management of your message will go a long way in helping you to build and maintain the kind of reputation that you can be proud of. The lazy approach of letting people copy and paste what they like, maybe even writing it for you, means that you are relinquishing control of one of the most important opportunities for you to be clear on what you’re about and thus extend your reach and your network in the way that you want. In a world where people will first meet you through your personal bio, can you afford to take the lazy approach?

So, what are your thoughts on whether your personal bio should be written in the first person or third person? I would love to know, so please leave me a comment and let me know!


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Guy Rigby: 4 mantras that built his personal brand

I’ve been very fortunate to be working with Guy Rigby @guyrigby in the lead up to his book launch. His book “From Vision to Exit” is the definitive entrepreneur’s guide to building and selling a business and is based on his years of experience advising entrepreneurs and their businesses. Guy now works for London city accountancy firm, Smith & Williamson and heads up the Entrepreneur team.

Guy hired me to help him to build his digital presence to ensure that he had a web presence that supported his book launch. You can see the results here: Guy Rigby’s personal website.

In my time working with Guy, I was amazed at how well connected and well respected he is and I was surprised to learn that he has built this incredible following of people who know, like and trust him in only 3 years! So, of course, I had to ask him how he did it. Guy was only too happy to share with me his secret; he has four mantras that he lives by in business and he believes it is these four cornerstones that have helped him to build his personal brand.

So, without further a do.. here they are!

Who cares, wins!

Always exceed and do more than people expect. This is about delighting your customers, whether they are true customers in the traditional sense of the word, or people for whom you are doing something. If you care about what you’re doing and who you’re doing it for, it will show and they will appreciate you for it. And, happy customers are happy to share their experiences so this can quickly become fantastic word of mouth

If you turn the same handle, you will get the same result.

If something isn’t working for you, try doing something else. If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got. It reminds me of the definition insanity: doing the same thing and expecting a different result! So what does he mean by this? Be innovative. Approach your problem from another angle. Look at things differently.

Also, always look for new people to connect with. Don’t always hang out with the same people but find new places to go, new events to attend, new networks to tap into. You never know who you’re going to meet.

It means always looking for new opportunities and ways of doing business.

If it isn’t broken, break it!

This is about never accepting the status quo and always questioning what is before you. There’s always a better way of doing something, so look for it. If you can’t find it, you’re not being creative enough!

If you’ve got nothing to do, polish the church pews.

Don’t sit around doing nothing. If you’re constantly engaging in something, then something will happen. An interesting person may wander into the church and so begins a fruitful relationship. If nothing else, you’ll have well toned arms!

Guy’s new book “From Vision to Exit” is definitive entrepreneur’s guide to building and selling your business is now available to buy.

With a forward by Luke Johnson and fantastic reviews by countless other well-known entrepreneurs, this book is definitely one to read if you’re an entrepreneur.

You can buy your copy of “From Vision to Exit” here.


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Personal Branding video in The Independent’s business section

I’m super chuffed to have a video of me talking about the importance of your personal brand featured on the home page of The Independent’s business section.

You can see the video right here: Building a strong personal brand.

Let me know what you think!


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10 Key considerations when recording a video blog post

How will you present yourself?

You will want to ensure that you present a consistent version of yourself, so try to avoid, recording videos straight after getting up in the morning before your shower. Remember, this is going out TO THE WORLD! So, before you press record ensure you putting across a version of yourself that you’re happy being seen by anyone that you’re trying to impress.

What’s in your background?

Remember to think about what your environment is saying about you. Does your background include a grubby dressing gown hanging on the back of a door, or a dirty pile of washing stacking up on the floor? Eugh! Think about what’s behind you.

What kit are you using?

The kit you use will make a huge difference to the quality of your video. Now, you don’t have to go and spend a huge amount on your video kit, but essentials you need to think about are the audio and visual quality. People will be a lot less forgiving with rubbish audio quality – if they can’t hear you they certainly won’t be watching you! So do some dry runs to listen to your kit.

Where are you looking?

This will depend a lot on the kit you’re using. If you’re using your webcam, then you need to be careful that you don’t record your video by watching the video of you on the screen. If you’re doing that, you’re not looking at the camera and it just looks a bit weird, like you’re cross-eyed. This is never a good look.

If you’ve got a free-standing camera on a tripod, great! This will make it much easier to look straight at the camera. Unless, you’re reading some notes off camera. If you’ve not managed to get hold of some auto-cues then make sure that any notes you’re using are behind the camera so that it still looks like you’re speaking to camera.

Are you using notes?

If you’re using notes, what ever you do, DO NOT READ THEM OUT! Did you get that? DO NOT READ THEM OUT! This is not only intensely irritating to listen to, but it definitely does not help you to convey your expertise. People who know what they’re talking about don’t need to read their notes. They might need prompts, to keep them on track, but that is it. If you need to read your notes word for word, then you need to question why you’re doing this.

Have you practiced?

Before launching into video blogs, put aside half a day of just faffing with your kit and getting comfortable with it. Get comfortable talking to camera and watching how you look. Look out for any weird on camera habits you may have [hair flicking, looking sideways, eye twitching, licking your lips, etc).

Have you heard yourself speak?

One of my main challenges with videoing myself was to slow down my pace of speech. I talk waaaaay too fast. So, one thing I’ve had to learn is to SLOW down. And the only way I’ve done that is by practicing. Some may say that I still do, but believe me, at least you don’t get out of breathe just by listening to me now! Listen to what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. You might have to cut out your colourful language (if appropriate) or stop saying “uh” and “you know” every other sentence. Ask a friend who’ll be honest to give you some feedback.

Are you aiming for recording your video in one take?

This is ambitious, so you’ll need to think about how long you want to speak for and what points you want to get across. Waffling does not score high points here. Sometimes, you’ll be able to pull it off in the first take, other times you’ll be there all afternoon!

Do you have an editing suite?

If you’ve decided that a one-take shoot is too much, then you’re going to have to edit. Make sure you have some good editing software to help you do a good job. Some cameras come with their own easy-use software, but watch out because these can be very limited in their scope. On the other hand you don’t want to get caught up using professional software, because you could waste a lot of time faffing.

1-2-3 Action!

It can be too easy when you’re recording yourself to talk to yourself in your head and count yourself in, usually while getting your words straight in your head and staring out the window. Then when you reach three: you flick your hair while taking a deep breathe while simultaneously turning your head toward the camera. Then you deliver your perfect video, finish off and quickly walk toward the camera, happy that you’ve done a good job. UH-OH! Your video is a nightmare to edit!

Before you decide to start recording make sure that you’re looking at the video for a few seconds. Then at the end, stay looking at the camera for a few more. This ensure that you have sufficient footage to edit your video without cutting it too short.

If you’ve got any more tips that you’d like to share, feel free to post them in the comments below.


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Personal Branding: How to increase your level of influence

In my latest video I explore your ability to influence and how you can hope to affect it.

If you want to find out what people think of you, I offer a Personal Brand 360 & Reputation Audit so that you can find out WHAT people think. Get in touch to find out more.


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Personal Branding: What’s your mission?

I want to share a great post that I’ve read on Michael Margolis’ website, Get Storied.

Michael is someone who is challenging the perception of what personal branding is by calling time on all the personal branding BS out there. He argues that the crux of your personal brand is the story you choose to share with people. After all, it is through your story that you are more likely to engage and be more memorable. Great business brands are built on stories and so are we. I am a bug fan of his work and so I’m uber delighted that he’s taken the time to write this piece. It’s one that I’ve been meaning to write for a while.

Every good brand needs a mission. And the same goes for us. If you can figure out what your mission is, then you’re doing a lot better than most. But the clever bit is articulating it, and doing so in such a way that you encourage others to join you and support you. But the thing about missions is that they’re not always articulated very well. And that’s what this post is all about.

It’s a well written post that I’m not going to attempt to take snippets from so all I’d like to do is to encourage you to pop along to his site and read it for yourself.

Read the post here  Stop Trying to Change The World: Find a Better Mission.

If you want to find out more about using storytelling in the context of your personal brand you might want to check these posts out.

Personal Branding: What’s your story?

Personal Branding: “And, what do you do?”

What story are you telling yourself?


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