March 14, 2006
Liz published this at 7:54 pm
Know Your Product
Your personal brand communicates your unique value in ways that others understand who you are. Developing a personal brand is a process that takes time and requires investment. Your brand develops as you develop self-awareness. You have to know your product to communicate its values–in this case. your personal strengths.
Identify Your Strengths
By the time we reach adulthood, most of us have a sense of our strengths and of our weaknesses. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hard to get through school and get a job without having some idea of what they might be.
But few of us actually take time to determine our most outstanding assetsÃ¢â‚¬â€œour highest proficiencies, our core competencies. We often discount the things we’re best at because they come to us naturally. Thinking that everyone can what we can, we tend to undervalue our natural talents. Take a moment to ask yourself questions such as these to find your strengths.
- What am I asked to teach others?
- What responsibilities are delegated to me?
- What kinds of meetings and tasks am I asked to lead?
- What special skills do I have that others rely on?
- What parts of my job would be hardest to fill?
- What traits make me a valuable member of the team?
- What are the things that only I can do?
Remember don’t overlook your great personality or that talent you have at organizing a project map in 30 seconds flat. Just because it’s a personal talent, doesn’t mean it has no value. The people that you work with rely on it–so count it as a strength. Not everyone can do what you can.
Capitalize on Your Strengths
To build the strongest brand, once you know your strengths, capitalize on them to make them stronger. Play to your strengths in what you do. Determine how each strength meets a specific need of the job market. Marketers call this naming features and benefits. People call this naming problems and solutions. The market has a problem or a need. I have the strength or skill set that meets that need. I’m the person for the job.
A written version of one of my skill feature and benefit statements might look something like this.
I have core competencies in teaching others to be detail-oriented champions of accuracy. That means that any work under the care of those I teach is assured to be error-free, saving the company the time, money, and embarrassment mistakes can cause.
Do yourself the favor of writing down your skills and strengths and naming the market need they meet. The act of writing out theses feature and benefit statements to define your personal brand or the brand of your business causes you to put your value into words–to internalize it, to make it your own.
Internalizing your strengths and how they meet needs in the workplace puts you in the best position to talk about your strengths when the opportunity arises naturally within the workplace.
Being about to talk freely and naturally about how your strengths meet the needs of others is a strength in and of itself–don’t forget to write that one down once you conquer it.
When you can do that, you will be fully capitalizing on your strengths. You’ll no longer need to verbalize your brand. You will have started living it.
–ME “Liz” Strauss