Thoughts, Ideas, and Concepts by Sandra Parks

Posts tagged ‘professional’

Are you Arrogant of Confident?

Personal Branding

There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. This is especially true given both entail a strong belief in one’s own abilities. When it comes to the results they provoke, however, that’s where the similarities end.

Confidence is inspiring; arrogance is a turn-off.

Confidence gets hired; arrogance is shown the door.

Building confidence takes work; arrogance is simple. In fact, it’s easy to come off as arrogant. Avoid these 10 behaviors so you don’t leave the impression of being a Class-A jerk people would rather avoid instead of the confident leader they want to follow.

1. Drop names out of context.

The name-dropper is a character who frequents many local Chamber of Commerce mixers. Name-droppers are a dime a dozen. Completely unsolicited, they will jabber endlessly about who they know, who they met and who they pal around with. As a journalist, I interview many great business leaders, one of whom was Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. Bringing up his name in a presentation about leadership is appropriate; talking about Schultz with a barista at my local Starbucks is arrogant.

2. Avoid eye contact.

Arrogant people could care less about others. They’re only interested in themselves. The arrogant person will constantly be looking past you for someone else to talk to — someone they think will benefit them more than you. Confident leaders look you in the eye and make you feel as though you’re the most important person in the room.

3. Arrive consistently late to meetings … and don’t apologize.

Arrogant people think their time is more important than anybody else’s. Being late means nothing to them. Confident leaders are timely and quick to apologize when they’re off schedule.

4. Use condescending phrases and put-downs.

Some well-known business leaders have been known to put down others with phrases like “that’s stupid” or “you’re a bozo.” These particular leaders are supremely confident, of course, but they’ve crossed the line into arrogance. I worked for one famous broadcast executive who routinely demeaned his employees and colleagues. Before long there was a massive brain drain from his department. He was bright ; ambitious; and yes, confident. But his arrogance turned so many people off that he lost the loyalty of his team (and ultimately his position).

 

5. Strut or swagger when you walk into a room.

The best way to describe arrogant body language is “dominating.” Examples include pointing a finger at someone’s chest, hands on hips or waving someone off with a flick of the finger. Confidence is open and less intimidating.

 

6. Interrupt conversations … frequently.

Since arrogant people are only concerned about themselves, they’re not really listening to you. Not only are they always on the lookout for someone else to talk to, they interrupt the conversation frequently

7. Have an answer for everything..

Psychologists say that arrogance is a compensation for insecurities and weaknesses. An arrogant person will rarely say, “I don’t know the answer, but I’ll find out.” Confident people admit mistakes and learn something from those experiences.

 

10. Always one-up the other person.

The other day I was speaking to someone who has a reputation for arrogance, and I noticed a common theme in his conversation with me — he always tried to one-up everything I said. For example, when the conversation turned to a documentary that I had recently seen on sharks, this man said, “That’s nothing, I swim with sharks.” This trait in arrogant people is so common that the famous Dilbert cartoon strip has a recurring character named “Topper.” Confident people don’t feel the need to brag. Their accomplishments do it for them.

 

11. Blast competitors.

Arrogant people can’t see the strengths in their competitors, and if they do, they seek to minimize those competitors by bad-mouthing them. This simply makes the arrogant person look even smaller. I recently overheard a woman talking to a recruiter and saying vicious things about her former company as well as other companies in the industry. The recruiter listened patiently. When the woman left, I leaned over and asked the recruiter what he thought. He simply rolled his eyes. Take the high road so you don’t get the eye roll.

 

12. Blame someone else.

Arrogant people can’t ’fess up to their own mistakes. Watch America’s Top Model with Tyra Banks. The most arrogant young wannabes are the ones who blame others for not taking a good photograph — it’s either the fault of the photographer or the makeup artist. Needless to say, they don’t last long, even in an industry that has more than its share of divas.

Some famous business leaders are unquestionably arrogant — people about whom you may have heard or for whom you work. But the vast majority of inspiring leaders are confident, not arrogant. Be a leader people want to follow and not one people would rather avoid.

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If you are doing this, then STOP

Personal BrandingIt’s so easy to get your name out these days. But to what end? Just like all corporate-branding plans, your personal-branding activities need to be a part of a well-conceived strategy — one that will help you achieve your goals and increase your professional fulfillment.

As I watch people build their personal brands on the Web, I see a lot of personal-branding disasters — efforts that detract from brand value rather than increase it. Here are the personal-branding mistakes I see repeated over and over. Avoid them to build a powerful and compelling presence that increases your brand equity.

1. Be fake.

Personal branding is not about fabricating a persona; strong personal brands are based in authenticity. You can’t start building your brand until you understand who you are, what you want and what makes you exceptional. What are your superpowers? What do others think about you? Don’t create an image; be yourself — your best self. As writer/aviator Anne Morrow Lindbergh once said, “The most exhausting thing you can be is inauthentic.”

2. Be wishy-washy.

Trying to be all things to all people is the opposite of branding. Strong brands take a stand and often repel as many people as they attract. You need to know what you want to communicate and how that message differs from what your peers are communicating. What’s your area of thought leadership? What’s your position? How do you want to express your personality? Answer these questions, and stick to your guns.

3. Act before you think.

Thanks to the availability and ease of social media, you can increase your visibility very quickly. But visibility is not the same as effective personal branding. If you don’t have a clear plan — a message that you want to communicate consistently along with a strategy for expressing yourself — you will create confusion rather than build a fan club. Personal branding requires thinking before acting. What’s your overall communications plan? Which communications vehicles are the best for you? How will you link your communications activities? Answer these questions before putting finger to key!

4. Talk just for the sake of it.

I see some people tweet multiple times an hour — re-tweeting anything they see, reposting their own tweets — just to seem like they have a lot to say. And I’ve seen similar misguided fervor on blogs. People can see through this. It’s better to make a few high-quality posts to your blog or tweets that add value to your brand community than to be associated with content that is vapid, regurgitated or stale. Create content when you have something thoughtful to say that is valuable to your brand community and reinforces what you want people to know about you. Quality trumps quantity.

5. Aim for as many contacts as possible.

Branding is not about fame; it’s about selective fame. The only people who need to know you are those decision-makers and influencers who can help you reach your goals. Trying to be everywhere with your message will exhaust you without adding much value to your brand. Think about your target audience, then research the best places on the Web to express yourself. The scattershot approach isn’t very effective … and it isn’t very fulfilling, either.

6. Switch tools often.

Social media is attractive. So attractive that some people jump onto the latest social-media tool with reckless abandon. I was speaking with an executive the other day who told me that he was a big fan of social media. When LinkedIn came along, he worked hard to connect with everyone he ever met. After time, he lost interest. Then Facebook gained prominence; he began “friending” all his LinkedIn contacts, and he updated his status hourly. He became tired of this as well and switched his attention to Twitter. This approach will not only wear you out, it will do little to build brand value. Choose the social-media tools you are going to use and commit to using them regularly.

7. Forget traditional vehicles.

The ubiquity of social media has convinced some that personal branding is an exclusively Web-based activity. Sure, social media has made it much easier to express yourself to a much larger audience, but it doesn’t replace real-world relationships and communications.

I started my personal-branding business, Reach, almost a decade ago — long before Facebook, blogs and Twitter existed. Before social media, personal branding was focused on real-world activities, like public speaking and publishing books. A lot has changed in the world of personal branding since I founded Reach, but the core principles remain the same.

Those who are most effective in building their brands combine the real with the virtual. They continue to write and provide content for traditional media; they speak publicly, attend professional association events, volunteer for professional organizations, sit on boards and so on. The trick is to connect the real and the virtual — expanding what you are doing locally by making it visible on the Web.

8. Do it yourself.

If you think people who are making decisions about you are impressed by the photo your mother took of you at last year’s family picnic or the poor-quality video you posted to YouTube, you’re fooling yourself. You need to invest in services and tools that will help you present your best self. The New York Times said it best in its article about video resumes: “A well-produced video can send the message that the applicant is both professional and on top of new technology, while something that looks like a home video can send the opposite message.”If it’s really important to you, invest in the right resources — career coaches, resume-writing services, Web designers, video producers and more. Sure, there are costs involved in these services; but what’s the cost to you of damaging your reputation with poor-quality copy, images and video?

9. Talk about yourself

Personal branding is about giving to your brand community — value, insights, feedback, recognition. I see so many people confusing social media with billboard advertising — blatantly promoting their services 24/7. As social media expert Chris Brogan says (I’m paraphrasing) : Use the 12:1 ratio — make 12 posts about your brand community for every one that is about you. Just as people use TiVo to skip TV ads, people will start to tune you out if you come across as an immodest self-promoter.

10. Don’t measure your efforts.

Are you spending a lot of time implementing your personal-branding plan without asking yourself, “How is this helping me reach my goals?” I spent 20 years in corporate marketing and branding, and one of the most important parts of any campaign we launched was metrics. You need some way to evaluate your progress and see if your efforts are paying off. Decide on what metrics you will use up front (onlineIDCalculator .com, Klout.net or another tool), and establish a baseline. Then remember to measure progress along the way. Have you increased the volume and relevance of your Google results? Are you growing your brand community with the right people?

If you avoid these brand-busters and focus on being your best (high-quality) self — on- and offline — you’ll bolster your brand with everything you do.

William Arruda [www.williamarruda. com]is a personal-branding consultant and public speaker. He is the founder of Reach Personal Branding [www.reachpersonalb randing.com] and coauthor of the bestselling book, “Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand” (J. Wiley).
 

Blogging

Do you blog?  If so what about?  How often do you blog?  Do you have a blog page for every particular industry/topic that you blog about? 

These are questions that are asked by people that are thinking/interested in blogging.  Different people will tell you different answers to these questions as well.  However I will tell you based on my experience and research it is very important that once you begin to blog that you keep it up.  It’s vital that once you put your blog out there and get attention that you keep it updated and free from grammar errors. 

I don’t think that in order to have a successful blog that you have to ONLY blog about one particular topic.  However if you have a professional blog that is directly pertaining to your professional business then it is in your best interest to blog only about your professional business.

Blogging is very theraputic.  However it can be very educational, inspirational, and you can tell about your own professional interest as well.  The main thing about blogging is simply start!  Waiting for this or that is simply not wise.  So begin to blog.   Start blogging and adjust accordingly.  Your blog site should give you some stats as to how many people are coming by regardless to if they are leaving comments.  So for example if after a week or two you are not getting any activity it may be wise or in your best interest to try something else unless you are blogging on your professional topic.  Surely you would want to give it more then a 2 week minimum.  

So the key is to begin some where.  So go ahead start blogging, why not!!

Sandra Parks

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