When it comes to speaking, we like to think that what we say and how we say it is more important than what we look like and how people see us. But the truth is that people do judge us by our appearance and by our offstage behavior.
When you are portraying an image that fits in with your brand, you will really have the audience in a place where they’re going to be very receptive to what it is that you’re talking about.
Your Brand: What Everything You Do Says About You
The most important thing in terms of making the right first impression is brand. How do you decide what your personal brand is going to be? Well, it takes a bit of research and it takes a bit of digging. Some simple things that you can do first is:
Research the brands that you are attracted to is the first step in recognizing your brand. What brands do you like, what brands do you resonate with? What brands will accurately represent the image that you want to have?
When you start to get clearer in that, you can get some clarity around how you’re going to position yourself.
Grab all different kinds of magazines: lifestyle, beauty, business. Go through and tear out images that speak to your values and your brand. Create a “Brand Board” around what look and feel you want to project into the marketplace based on images. Then create a list of value words around those images.
Words that Define Your Brand
So for us, that is Shift Lifestyle, and the words that define our brand are fun, anything is possible, looking for the bigger pie, contribution, lifestyle, freedom, and a myriad of other words. And around these words that’s the brand we created.
Your Dress and Image
What you wear is going to be influenced by your brand. You rarely see Richard Branson wearing anything other than a sweater, a pullover, a jumper and looking unshaven with unkempt hair. He’s got that relaxed look around him at all times. That’s his style.
On the flip side, you never see the royal family, for instance, wearing anything other than expensive tailored suits. There’s a certain look and feel to what you wear if you’re a royal.
It’s the same for a speaker. When you start your speaking career you need to choose your brand. And then everything you wear onstage and off needs to reflect your brand. So you need to get really clear about that.
Your clothes = Your Brand
So this week, have a think about your personal brand. Who is it you would like to model? Create a ‘brand board’ and look at the words which describe your brand. Also look at what it is you are wearing onstage and make sure that your clothing backs up your brand. And remember, have fun!