March 29, 2006
Liz published this at 8:00 pm
What’s Your Big Idea?
Knowing your Big Idea , showing what you believe, and capitalizing on strengths, making a personal branding brochure have brought you 99% there. LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s talk about how you might explain your personal brand using images and sound-bytes that people will remember.
Suppose youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re at a networking event and your conversation partner asks your opinion of what makes a true leader. Could you answer in a few words that show you knowÃ¢â‚¬â€œbecause you are one?
Picture Yourself as a Leader
Leadership is at the heart of every personal brand. You’ll be asked questions about your idea of leadership throughout your entire working career. You’ll want your own answer–one that is as unique as you, one that expresses what only you bring as a leader. That means the definition needs to come from YOU. You need a leadership brand that is as personal as developing your own logo might be.
Start with an Image of a Personal Hero
Pick a hero, real or fictional–living or not–someone you admire and aspire to be like. Choose one from history, your favorite superhero, or just make one up. Now imagine that leader on a quest–something larger than life–Marco Polo about to travel to the Far East, Joan of Arc about to lead an army. You get the idea.
Make a List of Sound Bytes
Picture that leader preparing to a take team on a mission. Make a list of what traits and strategies that leader uses. Write them down as a list of sound bytes. My list looks something like this.
A true leader
1. knows where the team is going and why the team is going there.
2. plans the operation before setting out.
3. explains the plan to the team–the team might need to improvise along the way.
4. delegates to each membersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ strengths and skills so that every member feels a vital part of the missionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s success.
5. supports the team and gets the job done, without a thought of glory.
6. lights the way.
So What Was With the Picture?
I used the picture to see what a leader would do. Now the picture helps me remember the sound bytes on the list. Even better, when a question comes out of the blue, I can not only answer, I draw a picture of leadership for whomever I’m talking to. Folks might not remember all of the sound bytes, but the picture of my idea of leadership stays in their head, long after I’ve gone away.
That picture serves in another way too. I’ve internalized my answer so my conversation partner gets a chance to respond and be a pert of the conversation too–which I’ve found is always a nice gesture.
The 3 Big Ideas of Your Brand
Spend some time thinking about your brand. Make mental images of the traits you want people to understand and gather your sound bytes. Then you’ll be ready to draw anyone a picture of why you are a unique and valuable asset that they should be learning more about.
It’s not hard to do and it only works in your favor. You can promote your brand, your business, your blog the very same way. You could promote me too. Imagine that.
–ME “Liz” Strauss