When I work with leaders, my goal is to help them communicate and connect better with their target audiences. While I extol the importance of sharing their unique stories, developing their emotional intelligence, and serving, not selling, I always come back to three core tenets: clarity, consistency, and discipline.
By focusing on these areas, you will not only improve your communication, strengthen your thought leadership, and strengthen your personal brand, but you will also strengthen your career. Here’s how:
Are you ambitious but still seem to be spinning your wheels and not progressing professionally? You probably lack clarity.
Clarity is a matter of focus. And in our chaotic world, where distractions are endless, it’s more important than ever.
When you are clear, everything becomes easier. People understand you, what you offer, your value, what makes you different, how you can help them and how they can help you. Clarity helps others to know, love, and trust you.
Having clarity also allows you to align your goals with a plan to achieve them and to stay away from things that can take you off the rails.
The best way to gain clarity is to slow down and think about what you want the most. By asking yourself, “What do I want? may seem like an easy exercise, for some it can be surprisingly difficult. This is especially true for those who struggle with fear and insecurity about recognizing their dreams and for people who have never pressed the pause button long enough in their busy lives to give themselves the necessary space. to do it.
Also be aware that you are allowed to change your answer over time; what you wanted when you started your career may no longer apply, or you can use that time to pivot and achieve that dream you had been hiding for “someday”. Now might be the perfect time to reinvent yourself. Challenge yourself to be open enough to allow new, alternative – and sometimes even better – possibilities to emerge.
But here’s the problem with clarity: it requires specificity, and there is no room for a bland answer. You can’t progress if you want to “sort” out something. The more focused you are on what matters most to you, the better.
Once you have clarity, make sure your actions support your goal. Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you’re productive. You have to make a conscious decision to align your attention with your intention.
Have you ever read someone online to be surprised (and maybe disappointed) after meeting them in person or seeing them interviewed because they looked different? Or maybe someone was confused about your values, your separate offering, and what you do?
It is the inconsistency that rears its ugly head.
Consistency is all about aligning and maintaining your “voice” and appearance in all of your communications. It’s the way you present yourself, the way you sound, the way you write, all visual and verbal touchpoints. So much so that people come to expect and anticipate your specific point of view and your unique perspective.
The strongest brands understand that consistency – in tone, appearance and message – is vital. No one would ever confuse Apple with Microsoft, because Apple has demonstrated how important and powerful it can be to align your internal work with your external messaging, having cohesion and consistency across your brand.
For a moment, think about your core values and skills in relation to how you promote yourself: Are they in sync? Would your colleagues and clients agree?
Whether you realize it or not, you are sending a message to the world about who you are and what you do. Rather than making your consumers, clients and customers guess who you are and what you stand for, be sure to communicate your destined message while maintaining consistency.
It’s nice to have many interests; it’s terrible when people aren’t clear about your strengths and how you can help them.
Discipline means you stick to those few areas that you have expertise in and avoid straying from your post, audience, or platform. It means saying no to things that don’t support your professional brand and its offerings. The danger is that if you stray too far from that, you might confuse people. And worse, you could lose them.
Maybe after many years in the corporate world you have decided to go it alone. You have an impressive set of skills in several areas. You are a sales / marketing / operations / administrative leader who can do it all, right?
Maybe, but probably not very well.
Without discipline, you run the risk of trying to be everything to everyone. And that reduces your competitive advantage and dilutes your offering. Worse yet, people won’t know what to think of you (if they think about you at all).
Instead, focus on what you do best and let other things fade into the background. Promote these one or two areas of your wheelhouse and expertise to help others so that your name becomes synonymous with these skills. In this way, restraint can be your greatest ally.