So what's all the hubbub about this Personal Branding?
It all started in 1997 when Tom Peters wrote an article for Fast Company called "The Brand Called You." Here's the main message:
"Big companies understand the importance of brands. Today, in the 'Age of the Individual,' you have to be your own brand and stand out from the crowd.
The following five branding tips are worth knowing, so read, practice and watch your success grow!
1. Brand yourself through your professional presence. You say so much before you open your mouth and first impressions -- that first 10 seconds -- so count! Pay attention to the little things„Ÿ like your clothing. What's the message from what you're wearing? Are you trendy, conservative, fashionable, or outdated? What about your grooming, especially facial hair, scuffed shoes and too much cologne/perfume? When was the last time you had a new hairstyle or makeover? And last, but not least, have a smile ready.
2. Brand yourself as a valued partner. Knowing your customer's background, services and products gives you an edge. Research their company, read their publications and peruse their annual report. Think and talk like your customer. The more you know, the more you know!
3. Brand yourself with strong communication skills. Learn how to quickly read your customer's style, his/her preference in working with you. What's the best approach? Should you take time to chat awhile or immediately get down to business? Mirror their style and build a stronger relationship.
4. Brand yourself by staying one step ahead. Anticipate what your customer wants or needs. Put yourself in his/her shoes and anticipate what might be going on in the company or on the team. Be fully prepared for questions...and always be truthful when asked something you don't know. Just say I don't know, but I'll find out.
5. Brand yourself as being socially savvy. Know good dining etiquette and the tools of the table. Be a good conversationalist. Mix and mingle rather than staying in one spot. Ask open-ended questions...and then really listen.