Last Updated Sep 24, 2009 7:28 AM EDT
Let's be honest, talking yourself up and sharing your ideas is scary and awkward for many of us. What if people call BS? What if people find you pushy? Still, to succeed in business (and in any joint enterprise really) people need to know who you are and what you can do. So how do you find the balance? Blog Copyblogger is offering great advice on just this question, addressing "the critical piece that's missing from all the advice on social media and career branding." Namely, "the inner game work that's needed to throw yourself and your personal brand online." These five tips may be targeted at those writing online but they could just as easily apply to personal branding in any situation, from a reach interview for your dream job to introducing an idea to a colleague.
- Use your fear - It's supposed to be scary. Don't think for a second that those other people (the ones you think are doing it better or easier than you) never feel fear. Where there's a new experience, a learning curve, a risk, or a challenge, there's fear. That fear isn't there to derail you. It's not there to stop you. It's there to let you know that you'll have to stretch a little bit.
- Use your story - One of the very best assets you have is your own story. That's what makes you unique. Forget about "fitting in." Use your story to talk about what matters to you, in the ways that make sense to you.
- Use your voice - Don't alter your voice to fit in with what you think people expect of you, and certainly don't change your style in an effort to make yourself popular or appear to be an expert. By all means think about your audience, but don't fall into the trap of trying to please them all.
- Use your instincts - Logic and reason can be powerful allies when going through a branding process, providing a structure to help you navigate through. But those very things can easily persuade you to follow a path that's not one you particularly want to follow. Trust yourself enough to use your instincts. Check in with what your gut is telling you about what you're working on.
- Use your vulnerability - Your audience isn't looking to connect with a tanned, toothy expert with a plastic veneer.... Talk about your successes, but also talk about your screw-ups, your flaws, and your fears. Your vulnerability makes you human.