In my last post, I talked about the qualities that make up your professional presence. I mentioned that it’s not one of those innate qualities we are all born with, but rather something that is worked on, constantly improving and evolving.
As a refresher, professional presence is your personal, professional value proposition. Your very own brand promise, if you will. So how do you drill down into what that brand promise is? It requires some introspection and thought. So find yourself a nice, quiet place and ask yourself these questions;
1. What’s my meaningful and differentiable brand promise? What is it that only I do that adds value my company and my team?
– This does not mean you fit the needs of the job description, but rather, those other skills, traits and values that you bring to the table that differentiate you from your co-workers.
2. Does my brand promise support where I want to go in my career?
– Chances are, you’re still growing in your career. Do your personal values, traits and skills (and those you want to develop) align with where you want to go, or are they holding you back or showing you another possible career direction?
3. How do others truly see me? Physically what do they see? Emotionally, what do they perceive or think about when they consider me and my work and abilities? Think back to the qualities that make up professional presence – how are you stacking up?
– Review feedback you’ve been given during performance appraisals, have themes emerged? You can also ask a trusted colleague for their honest feedback as well.
– Take a look at yourself in a full-length mirror after work one day. What do you look like? Do you look messy or haggard? What is your posture showing? Do you look approachable?
– Are you the person that your coworkers are continuously coming to for advise or help? Is your opinion being sought after when working on projects? How your colleagues act towards you can also be very telling of how they perceive you.
4. What are the gaps between my view of my brand and the view that others perceive?
– What are the things that are holding you back, contributing to a lack of professional presence?
5. What do I have to change or develop to reinforce my brand promise?
– What do you need to do to fill those gaps you identified above? Is it training in a particular skill set to gain expertise? Or is it tied more closely to your behaviors or appearance?
6. How will I know if it’s working? What’s my mechanism for measuring and continuously improving?
– Think about what successfully living up to your brand promise looks like for you. Would it be more involvement in projects? A promotion? Or, in some cases, it could even mean training and developing others so that they can fulfill their own brand promises.
From here – take action. Repeat this exercise bi-annually, quarterly or whenever you feel the need. Remember, your brand promise should never be a static thing; as we have life experiences our values change and your promise should grow to reflect those evolving values. It is work to align your vision of how you want to be seen with that of how folks actually perceive you, but it is work that will always pay off in the end.