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Choices and Outcomes: Building a Strong Professional Image


“A Brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what the consumer tell each other it is” ~unknown


Building a strong professional image is the goal of every business professional. The problem is, not many plan for success. There are 3 major things to consider when building your professional image. How you show up, do you look like a professional, and what you bring to the table?

How you show up

I am not talking about what you drove to the meeting or are you green because you rode your bike. I mean do you behave in a professional manner. Can the prospect/power partner visualize you in the role you are trying to fulfill?

There is a quote “80% of success is just showing up.” It is naive if you believe this.  It’s easy to show up and sit in the back of the room, and not talk to anyone. This is not going to get you anywhere near success.

The first set is to evaluate how you currently show up. Try finding someone you respect and you know will give you honest feedback. Ask them to conduct a 360 degree review on your behavior. It will not be easy to hear the feedback, but it is necessary for growth.  A 360 degree review is best performed if your coach gets feedback from your current managers, peers, and employees. It might even be helpful to gather information from friends and family. It is very important that the person you have perform the 360 review is comfortable giving you the results anonymously. If you just get the results and not who critiqued you, it will be easier to take the feedback as fact.

Do you look the part?

Dress for success. Know your target market, and dress to build rapport. If you overdress, or under dress in a networking environment you will instantly start disconnected. People do business with people they like, and if you are networking with your target customer dress for success.

This does not mean dress in a 3 piece suite; this just means dress like your target market. It would be wise to dress one step up from your target market. If you like wearing jeans and a t-shirt, and your target market wears suites, it will be difficult to close business.

Know your audience and then dress like them, and you will do fine

What do you bring to the table?

Learning how to articulate what you do, is just as important as dressing and behaving professionally. It is amazing how many people do not practice what they are going to say when they show up to a networking event.

Organizations like Toastmasters or APEX Professional Development Network, help professionals become better story tellers.  These organizations are a great start to help you become more confident when speaking in public.

Learn to tell your stories, and you will succeed in building a strong professional image.

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