Take a moment to look around yourself. Tick off a visual inventory of the items that jump out at you. Now ask yourself, why do you have those particular photos or mementos on your desk or those specific titles on your bookshelf? If you aren’t sure, then your potential clients won’t be sure either.
What does that mean? For one thing it says that you aren’t in full control of one of the most integral components of your personal and business brand. You need to leverage those potent visual communications to your advantage – otherwise it may say to others that your brand is vague, unfocused, or unaware.
You can read a great deal between the lines and gain a keener understanding of someone by studying their office or workspace. The ambience you create can give you a powerful way to broadcast your intentional image message in subtle but effective layers that bolster and enhance your image. But neglect those visible cues and you may inadvertently trigger unwanted doubts about your leadership brand in the minds of your potential clients, bosses, and employees.
Think of yourself and your personal brand as an individual culture. What does it stand for and what do you want it to remind others of that will reveal truths about you? Maybe you can put some of your awards on the shelf or a picture of you doing work with a favorite charity. Does it have a motto, a favorite destination, or a famous iconic leader? That’s why people showcase photos of them shaking hands with leaders of industry or have special motivational or business philosophy quotes on the wall.
How does that particular culture express itself artistically or creatively? Do you have trophies from sports activities, a favorite work of art, or pictures of you traveling overseas? Which books are in its library? Put books on your shelf or coffee table that reveal what you believe in and enjoy in your free time. What people have had the most influence upon it over its history? Photos of family, friends, mentors, and teachers say a great deal about who you are, where you come from, and what holds meaning in your life.
When I see sleek technology like the newest Apple products on someone’s desk, for example, it tells me that they are on the leading edge. The magazines in a doctor’s office reveal whether they are top-notch or behind the times. When you visit an attorney you expect to see diplomas on the wall, just as restaurants display a prominent health inspection certificate. Don’t just accumulate clutter, select items for your office that reinforce your brand and image. Choose accessories that tell a cohesive story about you, and you’ll be amazed how much it says about you!
Ask yourself this question: If there were a museum or gallery devoted to your leadership, what artifacts and pictures would visitors see there? Then start becoming the visionary curator of that image and brand museum!
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Sarah Hathorn is a leadership development mentor, executive presence coach, image and branding consultant, public speaker & author. She is the founding CEO of her own successful company, Illustra Consulting, and the creator of the proprietary Predictable Promotion™ System.
1-800-267-3245 | www.illustraconsulting.com
Copyright © 2013, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS