Sunday, March 20, 2011

I’m busy: A Missed Personal Branding Opportunity

How are you?

When I asked you that question, what was the first thing that came to mind? Did you find yourself thinking, “I’m busy?” If you did, it’s not surprising. As you know, people commonly ask this question of others whether it’s at work, school, or even the grocery store. My guess is that, at one time or another, your response has been, “I’m busy.” I know mine has.

I’m busy. What does that say about you, about your personal brand? Nothing! In fact, most people are busy, so simply saying that is not a differentiator, nor is it memorable. What would happen if instead of this two word response you spoke briefly about a project you’re working on, your involvement in the community, a cause or event you’re passionate about, or even what’s happening in the world? Of course your response will differ based on who you’re speaking with (a colleague or a friend) as well as how much time you have (an elevator ride or a 45 minute car trip); even so, saying something other than “I’m busy” offers an opportunity to build your personal brand and to make a connection with someone.

So, I present you with a challenge. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to respond with something more than “I’m busy” the next time someone asks how you’re doing. Whether you pass by one another in the hallway or in the supermarket, take a few minutes to share a story with them. A story is more interesting, more memorable, and provides an opportunity to make a connection with someone.

In her book “Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It,” Peggy Klaus says “Smart self-promoters show up prepared. They value face time with others and are always ready with stories about themselves that break through the verbal clutter.” Remember, your personal brand is made up of the stories people tell others about you. I’m busy doesn't provide them with a whole lot of options, but sharing a story facilitates their ability to share with others what you’re up to, what you stand for, and what you want to be known for – so take advantage of the opportunity to brand yourself!


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