Last week we had a training session with Shona Rowan (Performance and Mindset Coach, International Speaker, NLP Practitioner and former International Ballroom Dancing Champion) on Standing out from the crowd: Personal Brand, Impact and Visibility. It was a lively, fun, insightful and extremely informative workshop, enjoyed by all of us and from which we took many takeaways. Personal brand is particularly important in the world of recruitment. Whether you’re an employer, employee, or indeed a recruiter like Totum, it helps to define who we are, whether it’s online, in print or in person. Shona’s definition is ‘personal brand is based on the way you look, sound and behave’ and, in less than 10 seconds, you make an impression. This means that non-verbal behaviours are just as important as what we say and how we say it. She discussed Albert Mehrabian’s 7-38-55 rule of personal communication which says ‘a speaker’s words are only a fraction of his efforts’ – 7% to be precise. That leaves 38% for voice and tone, and 55% for body language. So if you are interviewing, going for promotion, looking for leadership opportunities, negotiating a pay rise – think about the whole you.

Tips for success

Here are some of Shona’s top tips for developing your personal brand:
  1. Analyse your strengths. What makes you unique? What are your brand values? Are you playing to your strengths?
  2. Seek out feedback on how you are currently perceived by gathering consistent and regular feedback. It doesn’t have to be formal but it will uncover blind-spots – both positive and negative – that you can focus on and maximise or make a point of working on.
  3. Make a great first impression. Can you sell yourself in 30 seconds? Practice your ‘elevator pitch’. It doesn’t have to be all work either – saying you’re a former ballroom dancing champion will help make you memorable!
  4. Sharpen your body language. It’s 55% of your communication. Use eye contact, a firm handshake, be mindful of your tone of voice and be enthusiastic about what you do.
  5. Build your network and your online presence.
  6. Develop and refine your brand over time. How do you want to be seen in 6 – 12 months’ time and make small changes to the way you look, sound and behave.
  7. Believe in yourself.  Look and say yes to opportunities even if you can’t yet do the full job, project or piece of work. There may be a way to work around any obstacles once you’ve shown your willingness to step up.
But the most important tip of all? Be your authentic self – this will set you apart, help build trust and reflect who you really are. We didn’t have time to chat to Shona about her previous career as an international ballroom dancer, but she is back in London in November so we will be sure to catch up again! If you would like more about how Shona helps organisations inspire, develop and retain their staff and clients, and maximise organisational performance, please contact .  She has over 15 years of experience as a performance consultant and international speaker, and her clients include Ashurst, Baker McKenzie, Citi Bank, DLA Piper, Lockton, Norton Rose Fulbright, Shell and RBS.