Voice Work and Personal Branding

What you say and how you say it has a direct impact on your personal and business brand. No matter if it is in your outgoing voice mail to Personal Branding Stamp radio and television ads. Vocal quality matters. And when it comes to your personal brand...your verbal skills can sink or enhance your career. From our broadcast, Insight on Business the News Hour

We all...talk, right? But how you communicate verbally can have an impact on your being taken seriously and that can have a direct impact on your career. Here Wayne Bruns from Tero International and I talk about some ways in which you can improve your verbal skills from voice training to the words you use. Listen in as a couple of broadcasters talk...voice and voice work. 

The award winning Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie is the only weekday, hour-long business podcast in the Midwest. The national, regional and local business news along with long-form business interviews can be heard Monday - Friday starting at 5pm Central. You can subscribe on Google PlayPlayerFMPodbeaniTunesStitcher or TuneIn Radio. And you can catch The Business News Hour Week in Review each Sunday at 2pm on News/Talk 1540 KXEL. The Business News Hour is a production of Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications. You can follow us on Twitter @IoB_NewsHour.


Two Books - Career Altering

Those of you who know me know that I'm not much for "self-help" books. Right now some of you are thinking, "Oh, but you should be!". I get it. Most of what I write about is marketing/advertising/branding because it is what I know. Being a journalist that is focused on business has me always seeking the back-story to business and success. So, what happens when you find two books that travel in both Two Books worlds?

I share them with you.

Both of these books are in my office, at my work station, and I read them both...daily. Why? Because they are so spot on when it comes to interaction with others and they will help you create a better personal brand and elevate your value to others.

I became aware of "Your Invisible Toolbox - The Technological Ups and Interpersonal Downs of the Millennial Generation" by Rowena Crosbie and Deborah Rinner months ago. Both women have been on The Business News Hour and I'm a fan of how they dive into research to bolster their conclusions and, yes, teachings. It's no surprise research is such a big part of this book because it is what they also do at Tero International.

There are 100 chapters and each is no longer than two pages. You can start and stop anywhere and in any chapter. The headers include "Tools for Interacting with Others", "Tools for Presenting Yourself in the World", "Tools for Leaders", "Tools for Working Globally" and "Tools for Personal Growth".  Don't let the "millennial" description get in the way of buying this book and using it. Clearly it is for any and all ages. Go get is and learn.

The second book is also a first book and it is brand new. "The Exceptional Professional - What You Need to Know to Grow Your Career" by Callista Gould of the Culture and Manners Institute is equally amazing. Her life story from working in the music industry to industrial corporations is stunning enough. Her stories of interaction with others are jaw dropping. Her tips on how to navigate the mine-field of etiquette are brilliant.

From business lunches, to networking events to your email this book is full of exceptional ways to enhance your personal brand and become that person who stands out above others.  In this book you will discover the lost art of being in the moment and being defined as a person of grace and dignity. All, without being "stuffy".

There you go...now go get.  You can thank me later. 

 


Expect to Be Disappointed

I have a good friend who once said to me, "I wonder when it became normal, in business, to Man Boredignore doing business. Every interaction I go into I start by expecting to be disappointed."

Wow...kind of a negative thought or is she on to something?

When we look at the statistics regarding the engagement of employees and see that, according to a Gallup Poll only 31% of employees are "engaged in their work". That stunning 69% of disengaged workers costs American business about $11 billion a year.

Is it a wonder that business fails to respond to voice mail? Is it a wonder that employees fail to respond to emails?  Not long ago I asked a client of our why his firm had trade-marked the phrase, "We get things done!". He told me because the response from others in his profession is so lousy that time after time clients would tell him, "We're amazed that your firm actually gets things done on time."

Tragic huh?

Let's start to change that. Here are four tips to better engagement:

  • Lead Responsively - When the leader is responsive to the appeals, efforts and requests of his/her employees those employees feel as if they matter. Being responsive is always better than ignoring...anything;
  • Conduct Stay Interviews - Learn why people have made the decision to stay with the company rather than leave. When employees understand that you want to assist in their career they are more likely to be engaged;
  • Model Behavior 24/7 - Being a leader means you are "on" 24/7. Once you get home you can kick the cat but in public you are constantly being evaluated and so too is your business brand;
  • Eradicate Unfairness - Nothing demotivates more than when getting ahead is more about who you know that what you know. Employees have a keen sense of unfairness and so should you.

Four quick tips that may help your business escape being...disappointing.

If you've got others...please share!

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Branding By Phone

Between the advertising agency and the daily business news broadcast we answer lots of calls Man Cell Phone
from clients and potential on air guests.  Because we change our outgoing voice mail daily people know that we're paying attention to the messages we receive. (You are doing that...yes?)  
All good...right?

Well, sort of. You see, so many people "think" that everybody has a cell phone for business that they (the caller) feels like they don't have to leave a return phone number with the message. Uhm...no. Some of us still have land-lines and if you want us to call you back...you get the idea.

So, why bring this up?  Because if it's not corporate branding it is personal branding. Take the time and help brand yourself...better.

One more thing.  When giving your phone number in the message slow down a little. You may know your number but we don't. And when you rattle off 13 numbers in less than two seconds we just might miss a digit or two...and we'd hate to have you think we're ignoring you.

Hey, it's the little things...right? 

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Branding: Professional Not Stuffy

I'm astonished at how informal and non-professional we've become. This trend, I believe, has a Man Snob negative impact on the business brand.

The way in which we answer phone calls, leave voice mails, return (or choose not to return) phone calls, set up our out going voice mail message, emails...it is, for the most part...awful. And, being awful and non-professional has a direct impact on your brand. Best news, it's easy to fix.  Here are a couple of tips:

  • Phone Branding - What and how you speak has a direct bearing on your business brand. That's not to say you have to be formal but you do need to be professional. Smiling when talking actually works. And if the phone call is not so friendly making sure each party is aware there is actual listening going on is important. Oh and voice mail? Return those calls, change your outgoing voice mail message (daily we recommend) and don't tell me my call is "very important" because it's highly likely...you won't call back. It's all branding;
  • Email Branding - I have several clients who always, always address each email with a proper greeting. "Hello Michael", "Good Morning Michael" or sometimes just "Michael". And, know what, that extra two seconds says so much about their professional attitude and abilities. We always answer those emails using the same language; 
  • Names & Branding - If you have a customer or client that has a name that CAN be shortened but you know it is not...poor form to then call Susan "Sue" or Patrick "Pat" or James "Jim" or (yes it happens) Michael "Mike". It tells the other person you are not paying attention or, worse, you think you are becoming "buddies". No, you are not;
  • Dress for Success - I'm astounded at how some business people dress. It doesn't matter if you are running for congress or making a marketing meeting show up as if you're going on a job interview. In public I can always spot the successful business person and the successful brand often by just looking at their...shoes.

None of those examples will cost you more money. They will, however, polish your brand image and, in the end, that matters to your customer, employee and client.

Perhaps you've got other examples...fire away!

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Marketing With LinkedIn

Let's talk LinkedIn!  I get it, you have a LinkedIn account because you are Linked In Image Twoin business and, no doubt, you want to sell more of your product or service. So, connecting with market leaders, buyers and others in business just might help you do just that.  Except it ain't happening.  

Let me see if I can help with some tips to enhance your LinkedIn success:

  • Your Photo - Perhaps it's just me but I don't accept LinkedIn connection requests unless there is a photo attached.  We figure that if you don't want folks to see you...you really are not serious about doing business.
  • Post Something Original - Look, I get it...it's easier for you to post stuff other people write that you find interesting.  However, what we want to know is what YOU THINK. Take some time and start posting your thoughts about your business silo. I know you've got an opinion.
  • Your Profile - Make sure it is complete. You are on LinkedIn to make connections but if I click on your profile and there is no way to connect with you...why are you here?  Take the time and give me contact info.
  • Share Posts - Once you start to master your own posting share others and make a comment. Tell us what you think vs. just posting a link. Thinking is a good thing.
  • Visit Often - Make it a habit to check into LinkedIn a couple of times a day. Scroll through your feed and engage.
  • Like Stuff - Your connections post photos, updates, blog posts, job news...make it your "job" to like and comment on them.  Folks like to know that other folks notice.
  • Recommendations - I have to be honest.  I've been prompted often to offer recommendations for various talents but rarely do. Why? Sometimes I don't honestly KNOW if the person is an expert on XYZ. At the same time, don't be afraid to ask your clients and friends for a recommendation. They know you...and your work. Go for it.

I was just like many of you...I didn't "work" LinkedIn.  Over the past two months I have and I have seen engagements increase by 50%.  Like everything else in the social space it takes work.

Honest, just want to help!  Now, head to your LinkedIn account and get busy with it. 

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Sure, We Can Do That...

Over the years I've "had coffee" with hundreds of individuals. The call or  Coffee Cu ps
the email comes in asking me, "Hey, can we meet for coffee? I'd like to (pick one) share a story, pick your brain, pitch you a project, catch up, offer my services."

I always say, "Sure, we can do that!"

I always look at this as an investment of time.  Who knows who might have the "magic bullet" that will solve an issue one of our clients might have. Who knows, "the pitch" might be just what we're looking for.  Who knows, maybe I can help him/her find a gig.

Who knows...

So we meet and have a cup and some conversation.

The other day I was visiting with Suku Radia the president of Bankers Trust here in Des Moines.  I said to him, "I understand that you often tell people, when they request a meeting with you, that you always grant the first one." He smiled and said, "Yes, everybody deserves to have a hearing."

I think we're on to something.  Perhaps the next time somebody calls and asks for a meeting you might grant that opportunity. Don't do as I do...but do as one of the most successful business people in the Des Moines Metro does.  If it's good enough for him...I'm in.

What do you think?

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I Forgot!

We are all guilty.  Sometimes the rush of getting back to work, the meetings Man oddthat are scheduled while we were out, the stack of mail on the desk.  I get it However, as a business person when we fail to alter our outgoing voice mail message from "I'm out of the office until the 5th..." and it's now the 9th of the month or we continue to have our email set with an automatic response a day or two past our return.  Well, it's not very professional.

So, a quick tip:

When you sent your voice mail or email notification telling folks you'll be gone place a Post-It Note on your computer screen with a note to yourself reminding you to adjust your messages.  That way the first thing you'll see when getting back to the office is your reminder to...change your message.

Simple...no and it helps solve the issue of being reminded by your boss...that your message is out of date.

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Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications is a full service advertising agency based in Des Moines and the fuel that powers Insight on Business the Daily Business News Broadcast.

 


Is It Missing?

I want to help...really!   Faces Many People

"People do business with people they know and trust." That line has been money in the bank for the myriad of chambers across the country and it's true.  We see each other at functions, business networking events, luncheons...we're all real and we recognize each other.

None of us wear a mask.

So...why would anybody create a LinkedIn Profile and fail to upload their photo?  

Daily I get one or two requests to connect with folks who, for some odd reason, wish to remain...faceless.  I don't get it so maybe you can help me better understand why.

Honest, I really am trying to help.  Take a few moments and fill out your profile. Give me a way to make contact with you...like a phone number or an email...and for crying out loud...upload a quick photo.  Your acceptance, no matter what might be your title, will be much more swift....and serious.

Thanks for letting me vent...and Happy New Year! 

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Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communicaitions is a full service advertising agency based in Des Moines and the fuel that powers Insight on Business the Daily Business News Broadcast.


The "Book" and its "Cover"

He was a little stand-offish this guy in the dark suit with the bright red Dave Sanderson August 2014 tie and matching pocket square.

During a recent Midwest Speakers Bureau Showcase, something where professional speakers are given (in this case) twelve minutes to impact a room full of professional meeting planners...he didn't interact much with the other speakers in the room.

Dave Sanderson was getting ready to speak.  He was focused on his craft. He didn't want to be distracted. However, my first thought was that he, perhaps, thought better of himself than his fellow speakers  I was wrong.

Following his speech we sat down together and I opened up the conversation by saying, "Are those (shoes) Allen Edmonds?"  Dave looked at me smiled and said, "Yes, the best huh?"  We had a nice conversation about being well dressed, the value in buying high quality products and staying focused.

You know that old saying, "You can't judge a book by it's cover."? I truly enjoyed the time we spent together. I learned another lesson along with staying...focused.  Oh, his story?  Ever hear about "The Miracle on the Hudson"?  Dave was part of that adventure.  Go ahead...have a look.

(Photo Credit: Dave holding a photo of Capt. "Sully" Sullenberger holding the child Dave helped save - Diane Crone - West Des Moines. You can click to enlarge.)

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Michael Libbie is the principal of Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications and host of the daily business news broadcast, Insight on Business the News Hour.