When I started working on developing my public speaking skills, I never really considered it a form of branding. Truthfully, it’s one of the best forms of personally branding you’ll ever find. I can’t tell you how many people have “heard of me” or the number of referrals I’ve received for my business based on speaking opportunities.
Now that I’ve delivered a number of presentations, I see just how important it is to put yourself out there and to do so in a deliberate manner. This can probably be said about a variety of things that we do from both a personal and professional perspective but personal branding is vital to your presence both on and off the stage.
Define who you are.
Personal branding begins with defining who you are and what makes you unique. I’m not talking about physical characteristics, but more about the “what” and “how” you present. If you are boring, then that’s probably how people are going to brand you. Outrageous, you got, you’ll be thought of for that extreme as well. Regardless, you need to pick your spot and create a common thread in your presentations.
For me, I like to be informative and helpful. From the URL’s I put in my presentation that I share with everyone in attendance to my personal email on the final slide, I make sure that people see me as informative and very helpful. Of course I do this for selfish reasons – like making myself the go-to person when someone needs the type of services I offer and referrals – but I also do it because it’s part of my personal brand.
One way to think about your personal brand is with regard to how you want others to speak about you. Do you want them to say, “He’s a nice guy, very helpful” or something else? The great news is that you get to choose. When you do, shape your presentations accordingly. Think of all the attributes you want to showcase and make them an integral part of your presentation.
Branding doesn’t stop when your presentation is over.
Just because you’ve finished your speech or delivered a presentation, that doesn’t mean that you are totally branded or done shaping your brand among others. The key is to create a positive user experience before, during, and after presentations. For example, after your speech, you’ll likely have others coming up to you and asking a question. How you respond to them should be congruent with your brand. If you’re known for brevity, be brief. If you’re known for informative answers, provide one.
Once you return back home or to your office, think about your brand and other ways to keep things consistent. For example, I recently bought two monitors for my desk at one of our satellite offices. Why? It’s because people know me as being ‘online’ and always connected. If I showed up with a desktop that was 10 years old, it wouldn’t fit my brand.
This concept of personal branding can also be extended to the car you drive, people you hang out with, etc. but all culminates when you stand in front of others and share information. Before you next presentation, think about your personal brand and what it means in terms of the way you speak and act.