Personal Branding Archive

Why Time Management is Inextricably Linked to Your Personal Brand

Last week, I attended a time management course at SCORE, which is a nonprofit small business advice service based in Seattle.

The course was delivered by a chap called Greg Paley, who has been a successful business person within the field of digital media.

The reason why I felt compelled to attend was because as a new business owner myself, I’m always trying to make sure that my time is being is spent as wisely as possible.

I’ve always been the type of person who is a bit of a procrastinator. In fact I self diagnosed myself about a year ago as a maladaptive perfectionist. Now a maladaptive perfectionist is someone who likes to have everything just so, but because they know that not everything is going to be perfect, they delay until the last minute in actually getting anything done, thus exacerbating the fact that the results of their work will not actually be as perfect as they want them to be.

Sounds crazy? Yes! Tell me about it!

During my time at LookSmart (from 2000 until 2003) I used to get myself in quite a state, always feeling like there was too much to do and too little time. My boss at the time, Rob Pearson, called me into a room one day and suggested I take a time management course. (Yes I have now been on two, but they were 10 years apart!)

The day I entered the classroom, in a tiny office above Tottenham Court Road in London, change my life! The guy teaching the course was an ex-British Airways steward who had decided to get into corporate training. At one point during the course he started talking about the “circle of influence and concern”, something that Steven Covey talks about in the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. You can read more about that at this post, as right now I’m in a hurry to explain how having an excellent grasp on your own time management can help enhance your personal brand!

During Greg Paley’s presentation he talked about the prevailing attitudes that we all have towards the amount of time there is to get done what we need to get done.

Things like:

  • No matter what I do, I still don’t or won’t have enough time
  • I work better under pressure
  • Time management is just common sense
  • I use an appointment calendar and a to do list: is not good enough?
  • I don’t have time to learn how to do all of this

Any of these sound familiar?

Time Management

Flickr Credit AToach

Greg also poked a little fun at all those people who seem to spend so much time telling everyone how busy they are, so much so, that it actually makes them underperform.

If there’s one thing seven years of Microsoft told me, it was how to plan my time, plan ahead, and plan with other people’s agendas in mind. My personal tactics are to use Microsoft Outlook is my calendar, use my inbox as a to do list of actions, emails, or things I have to read, and I have a real world notebook and pen in which I not only write notes from meetings, but also copious amounts of to do lists.

It really doesn’t take much to use these few tools in order to look forward now and again (at least once a day) to what meetings you might have coming out, deadlines you have looming, or people you should be contacting or following up with.

Getting a grip on your day-to-day activity, anticipating that other’s may not be as organized as you are, and sending an email or making a phone call couple of days in advance of the meeting or deadline, can not only help them prioritize their own task list, but also potentially save a last-minute scramble.

I honestly used to think that I thrived off stress; that being in a rush to the finish line at the end of every project, meeting, brainstorm, or reporting cycle, somehow made the work better. But it’s only now in my 13th year in the digital industry that I feel somewhat in control of how I manage my time, and therefore how that time management affects the other people across the projects that I’m involved with.

Like many others, I have a lot to do, but I always try and keep everything prioritized to keep ahead of the curve so that I don’t impact anybody else’s work life balance or their stress levels. There are a few things worse in our business lives than having a deadline looming and worring that there will be some kind of crazy hiatus coming down the line that could’ve been avoided.

One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given during my time at Microsoft, was to never accept the meeting request that did not have an agenda attached to it, and to never accept meetings that were in hour-long. The advice said that nothing that could be said in an hour couldn’t be thrashed out in 45 minutes, and by giving yourself that 15 minutes back, meant that you have time to reflect on the meeting you just been in and plan for the meeting you might be about to go to.

This is been invaluable advice to me, advice that I’ve held even more dear since starting Delightful Communications. The fact that I try and keep meetings to a minimum, means now I have more time to actually do the work my clients are paying me to do.

Having more time to do the work, means I’m more productive, and I hope the results of that much more sweeter for the client.

Before starting my business, I was encouraged to read “Million-Dollar Consulting” by Alan Weiss. In this remarkable book, Weiss states that true wealth comes not from the amount of money you have, but from the amount of time you have to enjoy that money. I’ve never understood the attraction of “pulling long hours” in order to get a project finished, or this very idea that unless you’ve spent many many hours producing a report, or writing some technical spec, it can’t be very good.

Getting a grip on your time, providing timely responses, planning ahead and anticipating your workload’s next direction can really help improve your quality of life.

Trying to chip away at Greg’s “prevailing attitudes” and using all the tools available to you to keep you on an efficient and productive course will enable and not hinder your future professional growth, your family will love you for it, and your co-workers will see you in a new and endearing light.

Having excellent time management skills is so important to how the people that work with (and for you) perceive your professionalism and productivity.

Isn’t it time you though about spending more time on things that really matter?

If this post resonated with you please share it. If you hated it, please share it anyway and let me know why!

Content Marketing Tips: Beware the ‘So What? Factor’

Last year, “Big Data” was this buzz phrase emanating from everyone’s mouths and social media handles.

Now we’re well into 2013, “content marketing” seems to be the Holy Grail adorning the subject line of most inbound marketing blog posts and digital industry conference agendas.

It’s a little funny to me, because for several years many companies have been creating meaningful, useful, relevant and delightful content in order to amplify their brand presence and attract new customers (keeping current one’s entertained), and yet it only seems recently the trend has become mainstream and part of our digital vernacular.

To this I say, HURRAH!


/shrug (Flickr Credit: striatic)

During my time at Microsoft, I worked with different marketing and PR teams to create content – be they blog posts, videos, photos or social experiences – that helped the brand be talked about for longer. I’ve written before about how important Digital PR is to an organization, and about how CEOs need to get with social media in order to create the kinds of conversations people want to hear. So couple that with a content marketing discipline throughout the company, and you start to have a really powerful platform for message dissemination that’s both enduring AND endearing.

CEOs Need Help With Social Media and Personal Branding

Something told me when I set up Delightful Communications that I was onto something with helping CEOs with social media and personal branding.

During my 12 years in digital marketing and my 9 year career in the entertainment business, one thing I’ve observed is just how badly some CEOs and senior business leaders conduct themselves online and onstage.

Okay, so “badly” is probably too strong a word, so let’s say they leave a lot of opportunity begging as they and their PR teams miss many chances to really cement a positive image in the minds of their own staff, their customers AND their potential customers.

Only last week, eMarketer talked about some Weber Shandwick research into the subject.


Is your CEO ready for the digital stage? (Photo: CODYody)

This is what they concluded:

“Having some kind of CEO presence on social channels is becoming an almost necessary part of doing business—whether for brand image or company transparency. Eight out of 10 employees deemed it important to communicating with customers and investors. On the flip side, almost half of respondents said CEOs who did not engage on social channels risked becoming out of touch with their customers—an indication that, over time, not engaging on social media will be considered a liability more than a choice.”

We’re living in an age where digital feedback via social channels is rife and marketing and PR teams get that.

What their not doing well is promoting one of their best and most public assets in an intelligent way.

Next week I’m talking about Digital Evangelism at SearchFest in Portland, and I’ll be touching on the need for companies to have a face, a human face that customers can identify with and look for positive signals from and engage with.

Digital and social media content across a myriad of devices has educated a much more savvy public as to what is PR spin and inauthenticity on the part of a CEO.

They can smell it a mile off, and they will react badly if they get a whiff.

What companies need to do is formulate a strategy around their leaders’ personal brand and open them out a little to the world.

Some CEOs are not that gregarious, really busy running the business, and just not that into broadcasting their every thought and that’s OK.

But they all have a story to tell, and they all have a duty to respond in some way in an authentic and honest manner to feedback whether good or bad.

In 2013, that’s the sort of behaviour that gets your brand liked. That’s the sort of behaviour that get’s your brand talked about in a positive and endearing fashion.

In a world where one Tweet can go more viral than anything ever before and say so much in a photo about that leader and his feelings & values, doesn’t it make sense that your business at least try and create a positive digital platform for your CEOs personal brand and that of the company?

If you or your company leader is in need of a personal branding strategy please Contact Me…….before your competitor does!

If you agree with this post or have a comment please share it and say your piece below!

3 Ways to Enhance Your Personal Brand at Work (CCs All Millennials!)

In a hilarious post last week, Brian Morrissey from Digiday, wrote about what advertising agency execs feel about their younger charges in an article entitled:  WTF Millennials: Managing Agencies’ Newest Generation. It was called out and quoted by many in the industry press and caused much debate on Twitter.

Hilarious because of the quotes Brian managed to solicit from various sources, and because he gave millennials a chance to answer back where many of them seemed to agree with what had been written about them the day before.

Whatever generation you were born in, the impression you give people in the workplace has never been more important. A business doesn’t owe you a living whatever age you are, and rather like companies trying to survive head and shoulders above others in an increasingly crowded digital world, the same goes for your personal brand in the office.

My Personal Branding Services largely help people with their online persona and how to behave positively and effectively through social media, but having read these articles, I couldn’t help but want to jot down my thoughts on how to leaving an enduring impression in the physical workplace.


Millennium Bridge in London (Flickr)

How To Present Yourself with True Confidence and Sincerity

It’s January and many of us will be embarking on new resolutions that we hope we’ll still be keeping by the end of the month.

Some maybe health and fitness related, some maybe career-driven and some will be a combination of both.

Although many of us focus on the physical health of our bodies at this time of year, it pays to have a think about the mental or attitudinal aspects of where we want to be in the next 365 days and how we are going to get there from a cerebral point of view. It’s all very well losing 10 lbs. or cutting down on caffeine, but physical health needs to go hand in hand with some mental limbering up as well.

When it comes to that new job, promotion or next round of VC funding you’ve promised yourself, personal branding and how you present yourself online (or off it) has never been more important to think about, especially in this age of ubiquitous social media.


Photo by artwork_rebel on flickr

Online Personal Branding Tips & Examples

Whether you’re looking for a new job, you have a public-facing role in the role you’re in right now, or you’re just simply curious what Personal Branding is all about, then this post should add value to whatever you know already.image

Where are Your Digital Footprints Taking You?

As I’ve written in the Delightful Personal Branding blurb on this site, the proliferation of the web and social media means having an optimized presence online is crucial for a number of reasons:

  • I’ve been told by people “in the know” at search engines that searches for names represent 60% of search queries. Now I’m pretty sure they meant brand searches, because most people use Google and Bing as navigation aids as well as looking for stuff, but people names are going to make up a significant proportion of that massive number and that means YOU are going to be among them!
  • If you have a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account, and your name isn’t as common as “John Smith”, then the chances are you’re going to rank very highly via these social media sites because those networks are very authoritative with the search engines. If that’s the case, doesn’t it make sense to make sure they present you and your brand in the best light possible?
  • Somewhere down the line, you might want run for office or have a family and how are voters or your kids going to feel if your online persona is littered with compromising photographs, factual errors, missing data or, even worse, NOTHING can be found out about you at all!

Making sure that you have a tidy house online says a lot about you:

  • It shows how serious you are about people getting a good first impression when they look you up.
  • It helps people find the right sort of information about you and puts you in control of your personal brand.
  • And it shows you actually care what people can discover about you online, and acting like you care adds positive fuel to your fire.

Now you might be thinking: “Who are these people that are looking for me online?”

Well here are a few scenarios:

  • Job recruiters and headhunters – whether you have applied for a job or not.
  • People in your company that want to know more about you.
  • People in other companies that want to know more about you – they may be competition or potential work partners.
  • Ex-flames!
  • Potential new flames!
  • Long-lost relatives.
  • The nice lady you always chat too at the supermarket checkout.
  • On and on and on…..

Now having an effective, orderly and clean online presence is fine, but in order to maintain it you need to learn to conduct yourself in a manner that shows your interested and interesting.

This might mean:

  • Regularly checking and updating your various profiles to make sure they are accurate and current.
  • Having a no swearing policy – what would Aunt Mary from Outer Mongolia think?! – unless of course you’re a rock star and that sort of thing is cool (man)!
  • Keeping abreast of social networks’ privacy policies and security features, so you know the minute they change how to hide certain content or add new permission measures you can act swiftly.
  • Simply adding a bit more flesh to your posts and updates so they are not so thin and cryptic and anyone can instantly see what you’re about – hopefully in a positive way.

Personal Branding is not something you get right overnight. It takes discipline and nurturing to start cultivating an online persona that starts paying dividends.

The good news is that it can be done, and over the next few months I’ll be updating the Delightful Blog and adding links to this post that will give you some ideas, tips and examples of how you can look good online so people like you, you give a great impression to potential employers, and you leave a digital legacy that you can be proud of.

Thanks for reading,


Here are more posts on Personal Branding from this blog:

3 Ways to Enhance Your Personal Brand at Work (CCs All Millennials!)

How To Present Yourself with True Confidence and Sincerity

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Photo Credit: M Pratter

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