Saturday, July 28, 2012

Chrissie Lightfoot Seminar and my experience of creating a personal brand

Yesterday I attended my second workshop in a group of four with Chrissie Lightfoot

I'm a self confessed anxious swot so I had already read her books The Naked Lawyer Volumes one to twelve and experimented with some of her exercises. It was an incredible experience to speak to someone who as reinvented herself and taken control of her life.

I sat in a room of forty franchisees and also a married couple, Lynne and Dave Lister who set up the franchise and watched their reactions to the exercises. I think "personal branding" is a difficult term to understand and it is easy to dismiss it as another trendy phrase. But after my work and research I think it is simply “how you present yourself to the world.” Everyone in the room understands the importance of presenting a professional image when meeting a potential client, none of us would turn up to a meeting in jeans, light up a cigarette while discussing our price list. It isn't that great of a step to think about our online presence.

I think the biggest difficulty was understanding the difference between our personal brand and the companies brand. But it stands to reason that if you have a solid personal brand you’ll be more memorable, you’ll be more impressive, and people will wind up having a better opinion about you.

How I Did It:

Step One
I read the books and did the exercises that Chrissie provided for us, I also caught a bit of one to one time after lunch before the next session to get the more personal advice. Then I used my own teaching experience to make sure the exercises provided to a group of forty would work best for me.

All brands are based on the good qualities and Chrissie had already made us list down our best traits. I didn't want to focus on too many things so I chose the ones I wanted to be known for.

Step Two
Next I used my natural talent for making lists and prioritised my brand elements and decided what was important to me. I also remembered when I was 18 putting on a CV, under hobbies, 'windsurfing' because I had a taster session at school. Only to be interviewed by a guy who had won windsurfing competitions. It didn't end well, so I made sure I was absolutely honest.

Step Three
Again using the exercises provided I wrote my mission statement. And here it was interesting to read and to listen to Chrissie's own story. Everyone in the room had stopped doing something to buy an X-Press Legal Franchise. The hard thing for me is that I can't write a shopping list in less than a thousand words - it still needs cutting - a lot, before I can use it as my strap line

Step Four
What I'm doing now is aligning my online identity with my new 'elevator statement'. Like it or not, what is online about you influences how others perceive you. Chrissie says if you want your personal brand to be effective, your online accounts at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and your other online profiles need to reflect the ideas in your elevator statement from Step Three.

I'm thinking this through though - I don't want to just cut and paste my new strap line straight into Facebook because that would be weird, I'm going to adjust things so to reflect and strengthen my personal brand.

Step Five
I am already working on taking more control of my online identity. Which explains why I'm not writing down my personal brand yet. Like Chrissie's tweet said: I'm gettings my DN, SM and TM handles nailed down before disclosing to the world. But I feel proud of the progress I've made so far.

Tom Peters is right in his quote. "You are the CEO of You Inc. whether you recognize it or not.
The question really boils down to this: Are you going to live accidentally or are you are going to live purposefully?"

I hope my notes are useful fellow X-Presser's and writers good luck with the new online YOU's.

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