by Paul Copcutt
In a conversation with a senior management client recently it was interesting to observe that even with a list of impressive and significant accomplishments they were very reluctant to talk about them, even admit them and certainly not willing to put them down on paper.
They are currently working for a large Fortune 500 company where a strong internal profile and personal brand is key to getting the next opportunity or promotion, but no-one has even shown them how to do it - authentically.
This was their dilemma. How to brag without appearing brash, arrogant or just plain big headed? Here are 10 ways that you can market your talents without feeling unclean or sleazy!
1. Know exactly what it is you do to or for others.
You need to be able to express this in a very short, memorable sentence, so that when people have a particular issue that you can solve they immediately think of you. Most 'branders' will tell you it has to be 12 or less words, some say 7, some say even 2 or 3. Whatever it ends up being make it impactful.
2. Make it impossible someone to say no to you after they have met you.
If you have managed to do all the hard work and gained someone’s attention, make sure that you provide them with enough that they feel they cannot leave the interaction without wanting more. Might be another meeting, a request to follow up or to see a portfolio.
3. Do not shy away from what you do and love what it does for others
If you are not passionate about what it is you do, if you are embarrassed when people ask then its draining and negatively impacting on all that you do. Find something that connects with your values and delivers a difference. This is perfectly possible in a corporate environment.
4. Do not be like the cobbler and his children
Quite often I hear the phrase "Typical, its like the cobbler who's children had no shoes.....” I will admit it, even I am guilty of this sometimes. But bottom line is that we should always be walking our talk - if you are in finance be sure your personal money is in order, if you are in IT don't have an overflowing in box, if you are in marketing have a portfolio that reflects that.
5. Do more of what you are good at, leverage your talents.
What are you particularly known for, your unique ability? How can this be weaved more consistently in to your everyday actions? Become known for something that proves to be invaluable, because then you are.
6. Not everyone knows what they want, help them.
Everyone is overwhelmed today - too much e-mail, too many choices, too many requests on their time, not enough resources. Be sure of what it is you can do for people then ensure that you tell them and then demonstrate how that is going to be useful to them. If they can see the relevance the decision is made.
7. Attach the emotions, let people feel the connection.
If you only can explain your talents in very rational terms then the listener is much less likely to be engaged. Be more emotive in describing certain examples of the situation before you got involved, the challenges faced, the feelings associated with those problems. And then the feelings after you were able to help with your talents. Then people can feel connected to you, what you can do for others and be mindful of that when they hear of others in a similar bind.
8. Do not leave anything out.
All too often when we are using our unique talents we take a lot of what we are able to do for granted. After all, it just comes so naturally that it is not a strain, isn't that the same for everyone? Well no it's not. So make sure that those who do utilise your talents are fully aware of all that you bring.
9. Have an answer for the doubting Thomas'
On occasion people will suddenly find a reason to be negative, sarcastic or doubtful of what it is you claim. Be ready with an effective response.
10. Build your brand - everywhere.
Ensure that all you are doing, saying and communicating is a reflection of how you want to be known, and that information is what you want others to know. By the time they actually reach you then you have got them at Hello!