Public Speaking for Personal Branding
From clothes to social media, marketing to job titles, shopping to exercising…we’re surrounded by corporate brands. Those corporate brands exist and succeed because they target personal brands, personas, avatars, individuals, humans. And targeting is increasingly customized, scarily personalized: from the Under Armour advert popping up on your email browser minutes after you’ve visited their website or the YouTube adverts intruding in your videos with uncannily familiar products and services. The flip side of such mass market personalization epidemic is to think of yourself as a product…let me explain.
Personal Branding is a dirty word. It’s associated with artificial images, a fabrication of reality, an unreal representation of a very real person. Dishonest, untrustworthy and fake elaboration of not so much what is but what it aims to be. And that’s indeed the case when such personal brand is based on possessions and looks and not on values and principles. Value-based personal branding is the renaissance of humanism in the ultra-capitalist, mega-globalized world we live in. An honest, sincere, from-within approach to tell the world who you really are, why you matter, how you add value to your ecosystem and how you can help others. When bundled with passionate, data-based and eloquent public speaking, it’s a powerful force for positive change and here’s how you can build yours.
Value-based Personal Branding is the Renaissance of Humanism
The first and most challenging task is to identify your values and principles. What do you believe in? What is your moral compass? What are the thoughts, feelings, ideas and actions guiding your life? These are big questions and you will need time and an internal conversation to find the answers. Don’t worry if those answers don’t come quickly or clearly. Most people live, surprisingly, unaware of what their values are. The good news is that they’re there, within you; you just need to find them and articulate them in your head so that you can then articulate them to the world.
The second important action in this process (and most relevant to this article) is matching those values and principles with the topics you speak about and there are 3 situations to consider:
- Everyday harmless, trivial, silly, basic conversations with family and friends, at work and on the street: we don’t pay too much attention to these, do we? We’re happy with those conversations taking us from A to B as painlessly as possible. We’re missing an opportunity. Building the edifice of our brand begins with those closer to us. They need to know what our values and principles are. Your interests are a part of this too. What you do, the activities you enjoy and the dreams you pursue should be a part of colloquial life. Once you’ve found who you really are, tell your circle.
- Private, emotional conversations, social speeches and presentations and meetings at work: everything said above applies to these too with one addition. These should focus on added value. How are you adding value to the world and to the people you are engaging and living with? What makes you unique and why should people listen? This category is half-way between the very basic conversations and the very public speeches and it’s important as a ‘training field’ – every of these conversations/presentations is an opportunity to get better and an opportunity to add value.
- Public speeches: these are obviously the most visible and prominent and they’re a priceless opportunity to share your vision and your purpose, for you and for the world. Sounds megalomaniac? Perhaps. But you have a value and a voice and it ought to be heard. Don’t keep (all) your thoughts and plans to yourself. There are others out there who will benefit from your story. This includes representing your own business, speaking on behalf of charities or speaking on behalf of and with local communities and civil groups.
What makes you Unique and why should people listen?
You have nailed down your values and principles and you’re starting to share them with the world via the three categories of speeches above. The third and final step is to put those 2 in the context of your profession or your business (if you have one). How can your thoughts and your words (driven by your values) drive positive change in the world around you? Fortunately for those who enjoy their jobs, they/we spend 40+ hours working every week; that’s 160 a month, 1,920 a year and approximately 76,800 hours during your working life. You might as well make the most of them and bring as much of YOU as you can. Make sure that your work is a truthful representation of who you are and the best and easiest way to do that is to craft what you say and how you say it. If you don’t like what you do, change it, start your own business. Yes You Can. Follow Your Passion.
Public Speaking for Personal Branding is a vehicle to differentiate yourself, find your purpose and make a difference. As such, it’s also a vehicle for personal and professional fulfillment/happiness/success. If you can share your value-based brand in writing too (a different type of public ‘speaking’) through a book, a social media post or a letter, even better. The world needs a record of who you are and how you make it better. All this takes some effort and practice but it works and it’s worth it. Start small and find what works for you. If in doubt, ask me!