3. Part 1 – Developing your personal narrative
In this episode, I share the first half of a presentation I did at a conference in Sydney for the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (see link below). It was their Annual Leadership Summit, and I was asked to speak on personal branding. However, to avoid "eyes rolling" and having mining engineers opt to leave the room for a coffee break during my session, I decided to change the title to trick everyone, basically. The topic is indeed about building your personal brand. So, there you go. Listen at your own peril!
The content of my presentation is based on years of personal trial and error, research, best practices, and anecdotal successes and failures from clients, friends, and co-workers.
It’s something I am drawn to; I am really curious about how we speak about ourselves and why it is so hard. And I find that people around me come to me for support when they need to tell a compelling story about themselves. So, I keep investigating the topic. Thus we now have a podcast and these notes.
It’s awkward to do it. To talk about oneself. Even for the best storytellers out there, the best salespeople, to talk about yourself without feeling like a prick or actually being one is really hard.
Furthermore, having that clarity of purpose in your career is hard because you are so close to what you do that you project the understanding of it onto other people. For example, we often hear that people will work really hard and expect to be promoted. And when eventually we find ourselves in a situation where we have no option but to speak about what we do, let’s say a job interview, we run the risk of sounding unprepared, or we may end up conveying it in such a way that denotes a false humility, which only makes matters worse. So, you end up digging a hole for yourself: you either end up not owning your success and leadership, or you share it in a way that is perceived as disingenuous.
Another big error in talking about what you do is being vague or using jargon words that few people understand. Things like “industry 4.0”, “internet of things,” “project management,” “agile,” “RPA,” “CX.” “SAP,” “business transformation” (this last one is my cross to bear!): many of the words floating around today are meaningless to most people.
When I speak about how a story you own ends up being told by people outside your realm of influence, this is the illustration I'm referring to (yes, I made this myself!):
And when I'm explaining the difference between Personal Selling (i.e., Marketing), Public Relations, and Branding, this next illustration may help (source below)
We will talk more about personal narrative soon in Part 2, so hang on and keep following the Job Hunting Podcast!
Leave a comment on the Podcast's private Facebook group if you also think "personal branding" is cringe-worthy, and let me what you enjoyed about this episode. Do you have a topic you would like me to address in the future? Leave a comment there also!
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Links mentioned in this episode:
- Free download of A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments, by Roland Barthes
- “I cannot write myself. What, after all, is this "I" who would write himself? Even as he would enter into the writing, the writing would take the wind out of his sails, would render him null and void - futile; a gradual dilapidation would occur, in which the other's image, too, would be gradually involved (to write on something is to outmode it)” - Roland Barthes
- Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy 2019 Leadership Summit Website
- 6 Classics: "Best of" Marketing / Branding pictures on the web
- Download a transcript of this episode