Personal Branding – you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression!

26 Jul

Personal Branding – you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression!

I was recently undertaking a training session for a client of mine with a room full of new managers.

When I say new managers, I mean young and inexperienced, but eager to make the right impression and take advantage of new opportunities.  The downside to this enthusiasm was that their soft skills were lacking and we needed to get them up to speed, fast!

There were many things I wanted to go through but I wanted to start with them as people first – their style, how they want to be viewed as leaders and their personal brand.  This confused them, after all, what does your brand have to do with being a good leader?  The answer is EVERYTHING!

Personal branding is essentially the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group, or organization (Creating Your Personal Brand – Los Ellis 2009)

What is it that you want people to think of when they think of you?  Is it your expertise in a subject manner?  Is it the way you treat your staff or your communication style?  Are there general qualities you want linked to you and your brand?

When managing teams and working with them, or meeting someone for the first time, first impressions count and are formed within 7 to 17 seconds of the initial meeting!  So your style, confidence and speech are all vital to making a good first impression.

When meeting someone for the first time, consider this:

55% of a person’s opinion is determined by physical appearance

38% of a person’s first impression is determined by tone of voice

93% of people’s judgements of others are based on non-verbal input like body language

Whilst we now have very famous CEO’s and leaders of business rocking up to work in their Adidas, Jeans and T-shirt (think Google, Snapchat, Facebook) how you present yourself must align with the industry you are in and the role you play.  Jeans are not going to cut it in the Banking and Finance industry, but nor is a three-piece suit appropriate for the Head Office of a Surf Retailer.

In the famous (or infamous) studies conducted by Prof. Mehrabian, words, tone of voice, and body language respectively account for 7%, 38%, and 55% of personal communication.   When conversing with people, it’s not so much of what you say but HOW you say it (and how this is reflected in your body language).

So, whether you are a leader in business, an up and coming team leader or attending a job interview, you MUST consider your personal brand – and how you want to be remembered


Helen Tame , HR Strategist

Helen brings over 15 years of Marketing Management and HR experience to the team and has worked in a variety of industries including retail, wholesale, logistics and not-for-profit business environments. With a passion coaching and mentoring teams, Helen provides contemporary high level operational and strategic support across the full spectrum of Human Resource settings.

1 COMMENT
  • Karen Robinson

    Great advice Helen – not just for our young managers but for all of us – your appearance on a daily basis speaks volumes about your respect for your organization and your team that you work with – looking like a slob at work will impact how others view your capabilities and commitment and whether or not you get the next plum assignment – managers may wonder if you would dress appropriately for a client meeting, etc… Soft skills are now as critical as technical competencies – Katie just helped us revise our Performance Managment system and we included a section with 7-8 “soft skills” to highlight the importance of these for all our staff.

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