Yesterday, I had an absolute privilege to moderate an amazing panel of women leaders (Sheenam Ohrie, Managing Director, Broadridge Financial Solutions, India, Sushma Chakkirala, Executive Director at JPMorgan Chase & co, Ann Ann Low, Senior Director, Talent Development Asia Pacific Region, LinkedIn, Dr. Falguni Vasavada , Advertising Professor at MICA | Social Media Influencer and Karthi Subbaraman, Principal Group Design Manager, Microsoft (moderator)) at Conscious Women Summit put together by Shenomics 😍
We spent 60+ minutes exploring the topic and I must say that was the best 60 minute masterclass on personal branding for women (and men) I have come across till date. What made it super special is that the wisdom came from women who walk the talk for decades together. If you could grab the recording from the summit please do. The next best thing you can do is read along. I will do justice to the amazing lessons and reflections here.
Here are some big ideas from the discussion today:
Personal brand - Definition & Mindset
- [Why] A brand is crucial as it helps you to inspire and instill trust. It is the base of building any relationship. Craft your brand consciously based on your value system/beliefs and then walk the talk by showing up consistently.
- Your brand image speaks volume about you even when you are not around. Make it authentic, intentional and conscious.
- [Definition] Simply put, a personal brand is how you come across personally and professionally. It takes a lot of conscious effort to create a brand and reach somewhere. There are no shortcuts.
- Deliberately craft your brand elements (signs/symbols/associations/identity) like how a physical brand (color/identity/tonality etc) does. Remember there is no boost button for your personal brand.
- How people perceive you and who perceives you in what way matters a lot. Your can craft the perception through your clarity and consistent actions. What you want to portray tomorrow as truly you, make it a reality today as perception is a reality for your audience.
- Invest in building a brand for yourself today. Focus on what to be known for and especially what NOT TO be known for. A good indication is when people feel proud to be associated with you.
- Set your intention right. Don't bother about labels and definitions. It can get overwhelming. To leverage your brand, you must have done some work before. Leverage does not work on emptiness.
- Personal branding is a journey and your brand evolves over time. Your brand at 20s and your brand at 60s are different.
- Fight your inner demons (social conditioning/environment/culture). Stop your victim mentality. It takes a lot of courage to be unapologetically you. It takes courage to unlearn. It takes a lot to disregard what the world says. Your confidence is your compass. Random people will say random things. So, have courage to disregard noise.
- In today's world, it takes more work for women in building credibility, visibility and brand. The social conditioning makes it harder for women for no fault of ours. Fight stereotypes. Bring awareness and empathy. Be flexible with definition. It is easy to blame when the world is unfair but stop being a victim. Instead, shift your mindset where the world can become your oyster to make the pearl out of you.
Actionable tips to build your personal brand
- Focus on your circle of competence and share your point of view with your audience. You might not know everything and not everyone is your audience.
- Share your views consistently. Consistency breeds trust.
- Give a lot. Give your time, thoughtfulness, ideas and kindness. Standout by giving a lot in the world full of takers. When people approach you, be a generous connector.
- Take baby steps towards your self empowerment eg: date with yourself once a week, love yourself a little more every day, standup for yourself etc. Your personal brand starts with how you see you. Your inaction affects your brand as much as your action does.
- You are an amalgamation of passions. Be unapologetically you and follow your interests and passions.
- Make the most of about section is social media.
- Self awareness is key in building, monitoring and tweaking your brand over a period of time. For example: when you grow in your career, slowly you will stop being a manager and start being a coach. Be aware of the slippery slope - when you have a lot of energy, make sure you don't burnout your people with your energy.
- Craft purpose statement. Share a compelling narrative and purposefully build a brand. Use social media as your distribution engine to spread your wings beyond your little world of home/work. Today you can take it global with very little effort.
- Fight your mental chatter. A simple tip is use a mantra. It is not a religious one or a sloka but simple things like "I am human" "I am paid to speak so I can say this boldly".
- If you a senior member empowering the community, build a safe space. That is the best thing you can give back.
I couldn't resist sharing the playbook by Ann Ann Low here
Hope these ideas give you the needed confidence and a starting point for building your personal brand.
🥂 to you!