Guest blog by Lily Naadu Mensah, Coach and Personal Brand Strategist
What has this personal branding thing got to do with me — I hear you ask? I just want to get on with my job.
Hold up, you have a brand and people are judging you fairly or unfairly based on how you show up.
If you’re new to working from home, say since March 2020, pull up a chair, a cuppa and let’s talk. I’m going to give you a couple of highlights to get your brand sparkling based on old Hollywood tried and tested principles for superstar status.
Think wardrobe, hair & make-up
Long before you peel yourself away from your duvet think wardrobe, hair and make-up.
It may seem like you are at home, but you are still working and it’s best to get your ensemble, at least from waist up, to look as good as when you were in the office.
This provides consistency and reassurance for those who matter, and a great impression comes from those non-verbal cues.
If not, a half-hearted look gives the impression that you may not be working that hard, but lazing about on the sofa between calls. Your personal brand cannot afford the unintentional doubt that is sewn in others’ minds, based on how your present yourself.
Then we move to lights, camera, action!
For best lighting, always face the light source rather than have it behind you so that your face glows.
Be your own camera person and find the most flattering angle to sit for your video calls. Use your phone to test the best spot.
I’ve been known to change my ‘working arrangements’ several times since the pandemic hit and I think I’ve finally found my sweet spot.
Now let’s get to the action bit. Turn your camera on, if you want people to feel that you are fully present. Sure, you may need to run to the loo or open the door for the Amazon delivery, but is should only be for a couple of minutes.
Camera off should be the exception in your day-to-day interactions, or you risk alienating people. It is about building trust and workplace psychologist, Lou Banks, believes you cannot truly connect in a meeting without your camera on. She adds:
“As humans we are hard-wired to connect, and any form of disconnect puts us in social pain. Turning a camera off is a clear indicator of disconnect and often comes with a fear of not being able to see if people are interested and engaged with what they are seeing and hearing.”
Refresh your LinkedIn Profile
As we are all networking from our keyboards now, it’s important to get your LinkedIn profile looking current. Those who sat next to you in the town office might even be checking you out whilst just scrolling absentmindedly.
In the same vein, imagine that head-hunter, stumbling on your name, company, position and then going a bit further. If the rest of your profile is not so impressive — they will move on.
It doesn’t hurt to spend some time making it look current to those who might want to explore your next gig with you. It might even be your current boss looking to promote you for that dream job you’ve been asking for.
Have a look and ask yourself, if was hiring, would I hire me?
All said and done, being present and authentic means, you will be seen and heard by the right people.
Plus, those mind-zapping days will go quicker so you can clock off at the right time. When I say clock off, that means turn your computer off until the next working day so you can have a proper rest. Switch off and spend time with loved ones or just catch up with yourself and that sparkling brand that is you. No peeking at your emails on your phone either. Off, means off.
Work from home has meant us all working harder, but let’s do it smarter, OK?
Here’s to a sparkling brand that’s uniquely you!
If you would like to work on developing your personal brand, you may find these resources helpful:
- Blog and webinar: Stop Working Hard and Start Getting Noticed
- Video: Transform your career: empowering you for success in the digital age
About Lily Naadu Mensah
Lily’s career in branding and client facing communication spans over 30 years having lived and worked across Europe, Africa and the USA. She is the founder of Lyncs Media and spent long stints working for and with Global brands, while focusing her passions & values on areas where her diverse portfolio and experiences have led her to two disciplines around identity — Personal Branding and Inclusion & Belonging around race.
- 1: Personal branding: Lily has developed multiple business and career enhancing services for entrepreneurs and professionals to co-create powerful, viable and visible results for the next big gig. Whether its wardrobe consulting, online profiles such as LinkedIn, branding materials for that professional presence, coaching and training on job search & interview preparation, I’m confident that together, we can make your brand sparkle!
- 2: Inclusion & belonging around race: Often the only Black woman in the room, Lily has experienced the value of allyship, by cultivating relationships that win hearts and minds. She spearheads safe spaces for conversations & programmes with leaders and employees alike, whilst finding common ground for all parties to flourish. Lily’s gift to unify and speak her truth in places where people who look like her are often unseen, makes her that advocate for the voiceless and that voice, those with power rely on, to say what needs to be said and done, with grace.
Lily is the author of Work Your Quirks: The business woman’s companion to a sparkling personal brand, and a member of the Chartered Management Institute.