Take the time to maintain a concientious and cultivated first impression.
I get the feeling that many talented workers, particularly in fields that are increasingly technical, think that they can slide by on talent alone. Yet as fields become more and more competitive we can’t ignore the benefits of a solid sense of personal branding. We’re social creatures and are impressed by a well put together individual. If you can combine a well manicured sense of self, you’ll end up being that much more appealing to potential business partners, clients or projects.
It’s Not All Vanity
The most frequent push back against taking time to manicure your branding is that it seems vain. Branding isn’t exclusively about visual appearance. The way you hold yourself, the way you communicate, your handshake, these are all easily honed skills – yes, skills – that will really help you take your social self to a new level. Diction and elocution are lost arts and – due to their rarity – are valuable assets. Recite some texts out-loud to practice your language abilities. Tongue twisters also help and can be good fun.
The added bonus: You may end up realizing you enjoy some of the poems you read, or memorize a line or two of a favorite.
Some of it is…That’s OK
Sometimes we need to accept that it’s OK to put some effort into our appearance. In general, casual style should appear effortless so there’s no stress here to try and look like you’ve recently gotten off a plane from Milan. Style can be as simple as walking into your local retailer and asking the floor staff what might look good for you. The beauty of fashion is that it is not ubiquitous. Your own style will shine through in the colors and patterns which appeal to you or the slight quirks in your fashion.
Exercise is important as well. Being a member of a local gym is not only an excellent networking opportunity, it will keep you healthy, lower stress, and keep blood moving in your brain. Beyond looking well kept, exercise will actually make you work more efficiently and direct energy.
The Added Bonus: You get to take all this with you. A healthier, more well put together you.
Curate Your Interests
Having interests outside of your sphere of work will make you a versatile conversationalist. Being able to competently express opinions on any number of issues will make you more accessible. What does this take? Simple, follow the things that interest you. The more you engage your natural curiosity, the wider your knowledge base, the stronger your conversation skills.
The Added Bonus: Who doesn’t like pursuing their interests?
The more I look in to it, the more I see that so much of branding is simply linked to personal development. We’re better at our jobs when we are better versions of ourselves. Build a strong foundation and you’ll see that develop in your work life as well.