You have a personal brand, whether you “created” it or not. My simple way of explaining a personal brand is “what do others see, hear and remember about you when/ after you meet”. Nobody wants a negative personal brand, but it’s easy yo create one without realising. Many introverts understand there is a negative perception of introversion, without also considering that can be part of their personal brand.
What’s the negative brand of introversion?
Yet many people, in their hearts, see negatives to being introverted and report they issues as a result. I often speak of the myths of introversion because these myths lead to the negative perception of introverts. They’re myths, they’re not true and yet they persist. As they persist introverts need to counter them in their personal brand when networking (as well as any other area of career/ business).
Where does a personal brand matter?
“what do others see, hear and remember about you when/ after you meet”.
Your personal brand can’t fail to be important, especially when networking or marketing yourself. It is the tangible and / or intangible impression you reflect. It can help build credibility, trust, professionalism, and likeability. But a bad image can create the opposite.
How an introvert can improve their personal brand?
Here’s some ideas to improve your personal brand and counter some of the negative elements coming from being an introvert.
- Understand how people perceive introverts: Are they the ones that quietly stand in the corner, the ones that speak quietly, or something else? How do you naturally enhance that and how could you counter it?
- Understand how you’re really perceived. Ask for some real feedback, from people you trust, to tell you the (non sugar coated) truth. Never accept feedback from somebody you wouldn’t ask for advice. Feedback is like a Christmas present from somebody you don’t see often – say thank you and later choose to keep it, or not.
feedback is like a Christmas present from somebody you don’t see often – say thank you and later choose to keep it, or not.
- Physical Image: Boring place to start and you’ve heard it before! But, most people make some sort of judgement on your physical image. How do you want to appear? That might need to relate to your profession, you might want to make a bolder statement to “overcome” the possible negatives of being the quiet person in the corner. You might do something slightly (but professionally) bold in order to make it easier for people to start conversation with you. That also removes the thing that many introverts don’t like, approaching others to start conversation. My branding has for a long time been orange, now I regularly wear orange, which often gets commented on (even “you can’t be an introvert as you wear bright colours“).
- Physical image part 2! Your physical image also includes how you stand and where you stand, you don’t need to be the one standing at the back of the room! Create a physical image that is true, builds you and consistent to your brand.
- Written Image: Business cards, marketing material and online presence. In a post pandemic world your online presence may be more important than ever before. Many introverts use their online presence to make it easier for others to approach them (it’s one reason why I talk a lot about my love of scuba diving).
- Verbal Image: How do you introduce yourself and engage in conversations? This is something introverts often don’t like doing. Your ‘elevator’ pitch doesn’t have to be loud, proud and as “boasty” as many others may give. You may feel uncomfortable using the formulae that many networking experts suggest; but something clear, crisp and brief will do the job of getting others to ask you for more information. An idea is to say what you do, and give an example of a recent client success.
What will you do to change your personal brand?
- Virtual networking for introverts
- Networking meetings - Post Covid
- Should you arrive early to networking events?
Charlie Lawson, author of "The Unnatural Networker" and Director of BNI-UK knows a thing or two about networking. Here's what he said about how introverts can improve their networking.