It will be no surprise to anyone to read that we are all living in a digital world today. What might surprise some is the depth to which this has changed our ability to communicate effectively in general. This is hindering how we do many things, including how we communicate our personal brand. Yes, we all have a personal brand, whether we embrace it or not, or whether or not we market it. I recommend that we not just embrace our personal brand, but that we communicate it effectively. But first, let’s do a brief review of some basics of communication.
In my speaking and consulting work, I often find it important to assure that all have a common definition of the purpose of communication. Too often I have found that there isn’t a common definition of such a common topic, communication. Perhaps since communication is one of the things we have all done all of our lives, we take it for granted, and in so doing, we often fail to communicate effectively. Me too. Effective communication is easier to describe than to do. (That last sentence is likely not worded best, but hopefully it is clear!)
The purpose of communication is to reach mutual understanding. Plain and simple. Well, maybe plain, but not simple. Reaching mutual understanding is different than talking or listening, which are the most frequent answers to the “What is the purpose of communication?” question. It matters little if we talk or listen well if the message we are trying to deliver is received differently by the other person than the message we intended to deliver. This is true whether we are communicating in person or in writing. We should realize that just because we have spoken, regardless of the median, we cannot assume that our message was received as we intended. Effective communication is much more difficult to achieve in writing than face to face, or even voice to voice. Body language and voice tone are two of the main variables missing in written communication.
Written communication is more common today than human connection. When we are texting, which is meant to be for short messages, communicating effectively is even more difficult. When our message is short, we often fail to include words that can soften a hard message. Also, when we are delivering a “hard” message, it should be delivered face to face, if possible.
The issue of communicating more with our digital device than the person in front of us should also be mentioned. When someone is with us, it is simply rude to pay more attention to the digital device than to the human in front of us. I regret that this needs to be mentioned. What happened to our manners? And yes, I sometimes fail in this area, so I need the reminder also.
Back to the personal brand issue. I will use my personal brand as an example. The tag line of my Leadership Development Speaking, Consulting, and Coaching business is, “Inspiring Positive Change in Work, Life, and Family.” I know that is broad, and I am ok with that. I care a lot about all three of those different areas; Work, Life, and Family. My books, articles, and blog posts cover all three of these areas. I believe in Gandhi’s mantra, “You Must Be the Change You Wish to See in the World,” so I am working on inspiring me as much, if not more, than anyone else! And that is a constant challenge. I realize that some of my behavior at times hasn’t been inspiring to others (nor to me!) at all, but that is less of an issue than it was years ago. I have worked hard on me. If I had not, then I would not be authentic. And failing to be authentic is deadly related to one’s personal brand.
Now, what is your personal brand? How are you living it? How is it being communicated? If you are not satisfied with your answers to these questions, you can course correct. Just be honest with yourself, and get started. You are too important in the world to miss living out your passion, which is directly related to your personal brand. I believe in you, and so do many others! Our capacity to change, grow, and improve is still alive in us as long as we have breath. If you are reading this, that means you too!