Tag Archives: Personal Branding

Embrace your own personal style and ways of expressing yourself through your office decor

IMG_0048We spend a lot of time at work and research has shown that people perform better when they work in a pleasant environment, clean offices, with natural light, plants, comfortable furniture etc. (see, for example, http://smartbusinesstrends.com/tips-creating-healthy-efficient-positive-work-environment/) and are able to customize their work space to some degree. In fact, we see a lot of firms (Hubspot, Dropbox, Skype, Evernote, AirBnB etc. http://mashable.com/2014/01/09/playful-workspaces/) that design work spaces that reflect the company culture and often provide ‘play’ areas as well as quiet spaces to give their employees the freedom to move between different work environments that suit their needs and moods.

It is important that you remain true to yourself when you are at work rather than hide your true personality to fit a work ‘ideal’. If you are a warm, homely person it is fine to convey that to your work colleagues. How you decorate your office does say something about you and can be a conversation starter when unfamiliar people visit you, so it is worth considering what subtle messages you want to convey and the topics you are happy to discuss with strangers. It is good to have individuals within an organization who are different from the norm since they can provide refreshing perspectives and challenge the status quo and ‘groupthink’. If you are individualistic and happy to be out on a limb, celebrate and remember the value that you bring by being different.

However, be aware that your style may not come across well to everyone you meet and that some people may overlook you if they do not see you as leadership material or capable of working on special assignments. Tune in to how others behave towards you and continually sense how you are coming across.

Study how other people decorate their offices; do they personalize them with photos of loved ones, drawings by their children, art, etc. or do they stick to company-supplied pictures and posters, business awards or nothing at all? If most people tend towards a more neutral, business-like environment then you might consider toning down your own office décor without eliminating all traces of your personal life. If you are unsure, ask a trusted colleague for his/her honest opinion.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

 

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ASSERTIVE LANGUAGE

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There are some conflicting views about whether women should minimize the use of weak language; word such as ‘just’. A few years ago Ellen Petry Leanse, former exec at Google and Apple (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/just-say-ellen-petry-leanse) noticed that women use the word ‘just’ frequently in emails, conversations and emails. She felt that this was a ‘permission’ word that put the other party in a position of authority and control. Shane Ferro, writing in Business Insider (http://tinyurl.com/zkjutoy), disputes Leanses’s claims saying that women should not have to self-regulate everything that they are saying since this in itself undermines their confidence.

When women try to act more like their male counterparts and use strong language they are often viewed negatively. Therefore, it is important to find your own, unique voice and style that reflects who you are and how you want to be seen. If you are happy to be seen as hard and aggressive, that’s fine. If you want to have a different reputation, look for a way to get your message across in an assertive, yet feminine way.

Believe in yourself, you are in your position because your colleagues and seniors think that you are capable and have a valid perspective. Speak out with authority on topics where you have a viewpoint and something to contribute.

Think about how you want to come across to other participants; what impression do you want to make? What do you want them to say and think about you? Ensure that you wear outfits that make you feel good and confident whilst respecting the dress code.

 Learning suggestions:

  • Think about what you want your reputation to be. What behaviours will reinforce this brand? Make sure that you look and act the part. For example, if you want to be promoted, take actions that demonstrate that you are capable of operating at that level and people will start visualizing you there;
  • Set yourself a goal to be more assertive in meetings. Enlist the help of a trusted colleague who can give you feedback on how you came across and what impact you had on the other attendees. Take this feedback on board and try to improve your interactions in future;
  • Listen attentively to how others put their ideas across. What language do they use? What emotion do they convey; do they remain calm and composed? Do they get angry? Do they emphasize important points? Analyse what techniques are effective in which scenarios and try to incorporate them into your own communication style;
  • Remember these following tips:
    • Use the word ‘I’ so that you retain control;
    • Maintain eye contact;
    • Have a good posture;
    • Express body language by using gestures that convey warmth and openness;
    • Be clear. Make short statements that are to the point and unambiguous;
    • Learn to be comfortable with silence and pauses. This can emphasize the point you are making and also give people time to think and digest what you are saying;
    • Use appropriate language i.e. no swearing and don’t be rude!
    • If you feel strong emotions welling up (for example, tears or anger) take some deep breaths to give you time to compose yourself;
    • Be aware of your voice i.e. not too soft or too loud;
    • Take responsibility for yourself.
  • When you find yourself doubting your ability, remember that ability grows with experience and effort. In other words: “The will must be stronger than the skill” (Sheryl Sandberg);

How many of the tips above do you follow? Identify areas and situations where you can increase your assertiveness.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

Good Work isn’t enough! 

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By: Anja Uitdehaag 

Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

~ Will Rogers ~

Much more than men, women held to the belief that doing good work – great work even – is enough to climb the corporate ladder. But the reality is, in today’s competitive work environment, being bright, hard working, and having a positive attitude aren’t enough. Capabilities like intuition, nurturing others and strong interpersonal skills are important but they won’t help you be sufficiently recognized for your work.

Success is not only about the caliber of your work.

Hard work and good work are the expected standards. You need to go above and beyond that if you want to stand out from the crowd. Visibility is just as important as ability. If nobody knows how great your work is, it’s not going to get you anywhere. If you aren’t proactive about reporting your accomplishments, you’ll never get recognized for your good work.

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Situation 46: Female competition; Personal branding

Femsy noticed that all senior staff had their diplomas, awards, certificates etc. in a visible place in their offices. Now she is not longer sharing the office with Mansy, she puts hers up as well only to be told by a female colleague: “I guess some of us prefer not to show off.”

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A great leader:

  • Is her own person and is guided by her values and principles;
  • Is attuned to the organizational culture and understands the inexplicit rules and norms of behavior;
  • Pays attention to her personal brand and reputation.

How to best handle the situation:

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What impression do you want to make? 

elastigirl-the-incrediblesBy: Anja Uitdehaag

The first thing we do if we want to find out more about a first date, a potential employer or a new colleague is googling the person concerned. And what we’ll discover is his/her personal brand.

A ‘personal brand’ is in many ways synonymous with our reputation. It refers to the way we are seen by the world, including clients, investors, peers, boss, friends, etc.

If you are not conscious of what your personal brand is and not deliberately branding yourself, the outside world is branding you.

Thus, if you are quiet you could be branded as passive; if you’re too caring of others’ feelings you might be branded as weak; if you’re too open to learning new things, you may be branded as naïve; and, perhaps most unfairly, if you’re aggressively proactive, you could very well be branded as “mannish.”

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Lindsay’s In Business: Mirror Mirror

Femflection is excited to run its first interview with blogger and businesswoman, Lindsay Uittenbogaard.  Lindsay has been writing the story of her transition from employment to entrepreneur with Mirror Mirror in Femflection for several weeks.  Now, we get to hear more about where she’s got to, how her business concept is taking shape, and how she is handling these developments.

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So, you’ve been blogging in Femflection about setting up your own business.  Tell us, where are you with that right now?

It took several weeks to land the idea I’m working on right now.  It felt like quite an unusual position to be in actually – to know that you want to run a business but not have an idea in mind.

Once I’d investigated various concepts – from an art promotion business, to a one-stop home maintenance service – I have landed on something that is fundamentally about communications for the corporate market, which is my area of expertise. It also covers HR, learning, leadership and business improvement.

So here we are… it’s called Mirror Mirror – it’s a structured team situation assessment tool that helps team leaders with engagement, teamwork and performance.  It’s also a perfect team leader onboarding tool.  We’ve finished the design and are currently testing and refining it. Continue reading

Situation 29: ROMANCE

Betsy gets romantically involved with someone at work. Billy advises her to handle the situation in a highly professional manner.

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