Author: Cristina Muntean, coach of strategic communication and leadership intelligence
We all know it: personal branding is important, mainly today in the age of the life-long, unpredictable, entrepreneurial career. By working consciously to have our names connected with the qualities and values that we respect we increase our impact and sphere of influence in our teams, companies and communities. One of those opportunities to give our personal brand a solid boost is to become part of a prestigious community like the Equal Pay Day Speakers & Mentors in the Czech Republic.
Yet, even when we manage to join such a nurturing community, we sometimes seem unable to fully pick and bite into the ripe, low-hanging fruit that is there for us to boost our personal communications. For various reasons we fail to leverage the wonderful communication opportunities that an event of the magnitude of Equal Pay Day provides to our personal brand. By doing so we might be wasting a valuable opportunity: to speak up, to make our voices heard, to feature thought leadership, inspire others and perhaps to make a real difference in someone’s life.
If this reflection grabbed your attention, I am glad. Now we can look together to a handful of useful tricks that you could consider should you like to do more in order to boost your visibility in connection with Equal Pay Day.
- Make a conscious decision to be visible: I AM HERE. One of the most challenging things I’ve ever come across when developing personal branding for women is to make the leap from the passive attitude: “I should be visible for my results” to the proactive: “If I want to be visible I need to speak up.” It takes tremendous courage to do that and I honor each person who decided to show up and show their soul in communications, because authentic personal branding always comes from a place of inner depth and vulnerability. However, unless we make this conscious decision we continue to operate from a position of pushing both the gas and the brake pedal at the same time. “Should I do it? Should I not do it?” As we know, we most often end up by not doing it.
- Remember your WHY. Reflect carefully on why you wanted to be part of the Equal Pay Day community in the first place. Reconnect with that purpose and allow it to speak to you. Imagine yourself living in a world transformed by your vision. How does it feel? Allow your purpose and vision to energize you and to hold you when you feel you don’t have enough energy or self-confidence for that next interview. Understanding your WHY and having it fresh in front of your eyes will take you a long way. Just allow your sense of personal mission to guide you, including in your communications.
- PESO: make a list of all of your communication channels. Note the so-called PESO communications model, which differentiates among paid, earned, shared and owned communication channels. I usually start at the end with your own communication channels such as your phone number, email, perhaps your newsletter, blog or website. If you don’t have any such personal communication channels, reflect on the communication channels of your company that you could perhaps leverage to increase your visibility (your company internal network / Intranet, blog, website etc.). Second we move to the shared communication channels. Here we talk about social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, but also about the communication channels of your strategic business partners (your clients, suppliers and various associations). If you don’t have a website, perhaps some of your business partners has a website with a healthy traffic where you can place a guest blog post. Third, earned media is the field of genuine, traditional media presence (print, radio and TV). Last but not least paid media is, well, advertising. Once you go through all these four categories, place all your available communication channels in a separate file: your PESO inventory. Now reflect on how you could use more of each of the channels you identified to boost your personal brand visibility.
- Define your message. If you were to go on the EPD stage and have one sentence to address to all the women in the room, what would you say? What is your most important thing that you want to communicate on the topics related to EPD – for example this year the role of women in sustainable businesses? Now write that message down. Don’t be afraid if it’s too long. Allow your imagination and soul to flow freely. We will get down to shaping your message in the next step 😊
- Create your personal sound bites. Now that you have clarity about your overall message, let’s give it a shape. Read what you wrote aloud. If it’s longer than 5 minutes, edit it with the intention to bring it under 3 minutes. Now try to bring it under one minute. And under 30 seconds. Now bring it to one single strong, powerful sentence. Do you have it? This is your sound bite. This is your key message. This is what you want to tell people over and over again.
- Reach out to the EPD organizers. Ask the organizers proactively about what you could do to support the EPD communications team. There are always real opportunities awaiting to be co-created, some of them even better than you could imagine on your own.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for help. If you feel you would like to communicate more but you don’t know how to go about it, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help. Sometimes just a simple conversation with a fellow EPD mentor over the phone or over a cup of coffee can provide you with the inspiration and the excitement you need to get your creative juices flowing. At the end of the day this is why we all do it: to share some togetherness, get to know each other, learn and grow together.
Now that you’ve made a decision to become more visible, how will you go about it? What else do you need in order to make your voice heard even louder in our community and in our society? Let us know – we are here at your disposal together with other mentors, partners and the entire EPD community. Enjoy the process and see you on March 27th at Equal Pay Day!