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Stay True to Brand “You”

August 21, 2013

According to Phil Rosenthal in a Chicago Tribune column, Roger Ebert was the pioneer of the “brand called you.” Ebert lived his brand, remaining true to himself and his identity, even remaining in Chicago to work as a journalist. He was proud of his work and communicated that pride in everything he did.

Not only does remaining true to your brand allow others to know who you are and what you can offer, it provides stability and strength. It lets your customers know what to expect and fosters trust. Recently we have seen where not remaining true to its brand caused J. C. Penney to flounder, losing many of its loyal customers.

Not remaining true to your brand is not a new phenomenon. Years ago, Gould, the battery manufacturer, was known for its 1-800-Battery. Gould’s promise was that if your battery went bad, you could call 1-800-Battery and they would bring you a new battery. Even though the company was successful as a battery company, at some point the leaders decided to totally change the brand with the result that Gould is no longer in existence.

Stay true to your brand and communicate it in everything you do. It will pay off.

Not sure what your brand is? Want to improve how “Brand You” is perceived? We can help bring strength and authority to your presence!

Take Control of How You are Perceived

June 4, 2013

Many of us think that the people we work for and with know what we are doing. After all, they may sit near us, work closely with us, join us in meetings and more. They are there with us every day so we just assume they know what we are doing.

In reality, everyone is so busy doing their own job, they don’t have time to watch out for us. If we want people to know what we are doing, we have to tell them.

I had a client who felt that way. When asked by his boss to prepare a document dealing with what he had accomplished over the past quarter, my client grumbled: “He knows what I’m doing. He’s there every day and is often part of what’s going on. He even sits near me in the office.”

As I pointed out, although the boss was there every day, he had his own job to do. In addition, he managed seven other people besides my client as well as having to work with and report back to his own boss.

If you want others to know what you are doing, you need to tell them. Communicate what you do daily, what goals you accomplish and what you think.  It’s important to promote yourself and take credit for your accomplishments.

Self promotion definitely has a place in developing one’s professional image and letting your colleagues know about your contributions and successes. Not sure how to manage this tactfully? We can help.

Vocal patterns can, um, undermine your message?

March 15, 2013

I gave a speech on Thursday that examined what happens when nonverbal communication sends a different message from what the words say. This nonverbal communication can encompass a lot of things but I focused on several vocal patterns.

One vocal pattern is when a person’s voice goes up at the end of a sentence, making the sentence sound like a question, not a statement.  It would be as though I said “It’s a beautiful day out.” but went up at the end of that sentence. Going up makes it sound as though I’m asking, not telling/making a statement. Going up when a person means to sound firm to make a statement gives an impression of being insecure, indecisive, possibly unsure.

Another vocal pattern I discussed was the use of space fillers such as “um”, “uh,” “okay”, “you know”, “like” and so on. Not only are they irritating but they distract from the meaning of what is being said. A client went on an interview and was told he used “uh” so many times, it became annoying. In fact, it was so annoying the interviewer started counting the “uhs”. Unfortunately when the interviewer began counting, the “uhs” were all the interviewer heard.

No matter how good an idea is, vocal patterns such as going up at the ends of sentences meant to be statements and the use of space fillers undermine the idea. They can also change the meaning so that what is heard is not what is meant.

How to succeed at your resolutions (and at life)? Follow your passion!

January 24, 2013

As we begin a new year, most people make resolutions that we truly hope to fulfill. Sometimes the resolutions come from our own experiences, wish lists, other things we would really like to accomplish. For many of us, our passions become the basis of our resolutions.

I am genuinely excited to have a quote about following my passions accepted for the 2013 Women’s Advantage Calendar. The quote,

“Have a passion and do it with all your heart.
You will shine and others will follow you.”

is the basis of how I develop my resolutions each year.

Following your passion is one of the best guarantees you will succeed with your resolutions.

How do you follow your passion? How has doing so helped you?

Tell me how you follow your passion and you could win a 2013 Women’s Advantage Calendar. The calendar makes each day a new adventure as you look to see what someone has suggested.

The two best examples of putting my quote into action will receive a calendar! Think about how you follow your passion and let me know.

Believe what you see, not what you hear

October 9, 2012

There is an adage that says: Believe what you see, not what you hear.

Often our body language sends a message quite different from what we actually say. This can cause confusion to the people we are communicating with  because they are not certain which message to believe—what they hear or what they see.

For instance: when if someone says they are so sorry you are having problems but have a big grin on their face, we tend to think they really don’t mean they are sorry at all. The grin contradicts what is said as we rarely grin when we genuinely feel sorry for someone.  We might have a sad or straight face. We might hug, touch or use some other means to show we feel badly for the person. A big grin is not one of them.

Have you heard someone make a statement such as “It’s beautiful out today.” but end the statement with an upswing in their voice? It really sounds as though the person is asking if it’s beautiful out rather than telling. When we want to make a statement, we go down at the end of the statement to express that we mean what we are saying. Going up like a question when it is a statement makes us sound unsure or lacking confidence.

Our body language includes what we sound like, what we look like and what we physically do. We can control what we say but it is far more difficult to control our body language.

We are back to the truth of the adage: Believe what you see.

Life’s Little Ironies

July 9, 2012

Oh, the IRONY!Here’s a question: How can you have a Liver Clinic without liver docs?

The other day I went for a scheduled appointment with my liver doctor only to find out my doctor, and all of the other hepatologists, left. Hence my question: how do you have a Liver Clinic without docs?

Irony is a great communication tool because it enables you to poke a little fun in a subtle way. Unlike sarcasm, which shows through the voice that you don’t mean what you are saying, irony relies on the listener or reader to pick up on the nuance and know you are not quite serious.

Carl Grapentine, a radio host on Chicago’s WFMT, used irony on Independence Day to introduce one of the pieces to be played that evening at the Pritzger Pavilion. The program was to end with the 1812 Overture. Carl commented what better way to celebrate American independence from England than to play music commemorating a battle between the Russians and the French.

The late Illinois Representative, Doug Hoeft, used to continually poke fun at the Elgin-O’Hare Expressway because, as he always said, it neither goes to Elgin nor O’Hare.

Kathy Rubel, of Public Communications Inc., finds the teen-age use of “friends” to be quite ironic. As she says, the art of face-to-face communication is becoming less of a reality with every new social media app. Teen-agers boast of having 500 friends but how many of them have they ever met in person? The answer is “Two—my parents.”

Irony is great fun for those who understand and enjoy it.  But as one person once said of me; “She’s really nice but she has the strangest sense of humor.”

Voicemail: Enhancing your Reception

May 22, 2012

I’m often amazed at how little thought many people give to the messages they leave on voice mail. And I wonder why that’s so!

Most of us know that when you call someone, the likelihood of reaching the actual person is slim. Instead, most of the time you get their voice mail. That’s not surprising since statistics indicate around 70% of the time most callers are answered by a person’s voice mail.

If you know you will probably get voice mail, why not have your message already mentally prepared. It will save stumbling, overuse of “ums” and other things that make the message less than clear.

These simple steps will enhance the reception of your message while making a positive impression on the person you called:

  1. Prepare to say your name slowly and clearly.
  2. Then have a message that is short and provides the person being called a clear understanding of why you called.
  3. Finally, say your phone number slowly enough for the recipient to write it down so your call can easily be returned.

Many times, a voicemail is your first contact with a potential new employer or client. Take advantage of this opportunity to make a good vocal first impression.

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