It helps you launch your career. It increases your upside for a promotion, and it’s what helps you keep your job during a tough economic climate. Often times it’s why past colleagues reach out to tap you for future opportunities. It’s your personal brand. It can take years to build, and it can self-destruct over night.
Here are eight tips to ignite your personal brand at work:
1. Network Over Lunch
Your company has an org chart. Find it, and determine who to have lunch with based on your interests. Is there team you’re interested in joining in the future or someone that could be an influential mentor? Send them an email, but do your homework first. Review their internal profile. I once received advice from someone whose profile listed that they were open to mentorship. Secondly, review their social profiles to see what they are interested. In a recent study, 1,000 cold emails were sent to executives to see how many people would respond. The 1,000 emails yielded a 1.7% response rate. You will shatter those results because you’re an internal employee. People feel obligated to respond.
2. Help Others
Setup 30 minute coffee meetings with people you don’t normally engage with. Don’t ask them how you can help. Instead, find out what they’re working on and see where you can add value.
3. Write A Thank You Note
In his book, A Simple Act of Gratitude, John Kralik set a goal to write 365 thank you notes over the course of the year. He's written over 2,000. Your goal is to write one thank you note. It could be a note to your colleague, boss, or even someone who often goes out of their way for you like your office assistant. They usually don’t feel as appreciated as they should be and a small note of appreciation will be something they will remember forever.
My example note to our office assistant:
I appreciate your help as it seems I'm often forgetting things or needing to do something last minute. I'm working on that habit. Thank you for booking rooms for me, reminding me to get my mail, and all the other the little things that mean a lot.
4. Start A Book Club
Send an email to your office-mates. Announce that you’re starting a book club and ask them if they’d like to join. Survey your peers to see what they’re interested in so you can select books that are industry specific or general business books. Guide the meeting by asking the group questions to warm up the conversation, but keep the dialogue as an open discussion for everyone to get involved. This will ignite your personal brand tenfold.
5. Ask Intelligent Questions
I was speaking with a chief marketing officer at a supplement company who makes protein powders about their digital marketing. I asked him what percentage of his business came from Bodybuilding.com. He was blown away and I had instant credibility. That specific retailer is the largest online store in the world, so by asking that question he knew I had domain expertise. Next time you’re in a meeting ask questions that subtly show you’ve done your homework.
6. Get Involved In A 20% Project
At Google, we were encouraged to spend 20% of our time working on a project we were passionate about. It was also the Trojan horse for joining a new team and gaining experience outside of your role. If your company doesn’t allow that, find a project you can work where you can contribute outside of your normal working hours.
7. Be Charismatic
In The Charisma Myth, Olivia Fox Cabane explains a study done by MIT Media Lab that concluded it could predict the outcome of negotiations and business plan pitches with 87% accuracy merely by analyzing the person’s body language. Cabane says that it doesn’t matter how great your pitch is, if your body language is wrong you won’t be charismatic. In turn, with the right body language you can be charismatic without saying a word. This book helps you better your communication skills which elevates your charisma.
8. Be Noticed For The Right Stuff
Being late to meetings, bad hygiene, and working on your laptop during meetings all negatively affect your personal brand. As important as it is to make deposits to build your personal brand, you want to avoid things you don’t want to be noticed for.