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Maximizing Professional Brand as a Business Asset

Building a company is also about creating a brand story. And like any great story, this one should share ideas, influence thoughts, and provoke new ways of doing business. As leaders of these enterprises, our expertise starts to become our professional narrative and it becomes important to actively manage that as you would any part of your business.

Storytelling informs clients and customers, current and future employees, and other stakeholders about the expertise a company provides. Your professional narrative tells those same audiences what your contribution is to all this. Is your story as clearly defined as the one your organization is telling?

Forbes contributor, Glenn Llopis, shares his ideas about personal professional branding, “[It] should represent the value you are able to consistently deliver to those whom you are serving. You should be creating awareness for your brand by showcasing your achievements and success stories.”

Discovering the story’s purpose makes it easier to connect with an audience on a more meaningful, professional level. People don’t always remember data and numbers, but they are likely to remember the way a story made them feel; never pass up an opportunity to connect emotionally.  Your story not only sets yourself, but your organization, apart from everyone else. When you show your vulnerability and ask people to do the same, it builds trust.

As you develop your professional narrative, there are a few questions to consider:

  1. What path did you take to reach this professional goal?
  2. What inspiration led to the pursuit of your current career?  

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Let’s Talk About Sleep, Baby

Sleep is one of the first things we neglect when life gets a bit too hectic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls our sleep habits – or lack thereof -- a “public health epidemic,” on the same level as an outbreak of disease, because a very small percentage of people can function properly with little to no sleep.

Almost half the population isn’t getting enough sleep. The effects of not getting enough sleep may even carry over into some jobs. “Researchers at Harvard University and Boston College found that people seem to strengthen the emotional components of a memory during sleep, which may help spur the creative process.” explains that getting more sleep consolidates memories which makes them stronger and your brain appears to reorganize and restructure them, which may result in more creativity as well. Some days you feel the effects of lack of sleep more than others, and we call know what the bad days can be like.

How do we make changes to help our sleep habits? Below are some of the most tried and true tips to improve the quality of your sleep and your life.

Listen to your body: Neglecting sleep is easy because the adverse effects don’t impact the body all at once. However, the human body will do everything in its power to regain homeostasis. It’ll tell you repeatedly that sleep is the answer. Besides the obvious signs like yawning and heavy eyelids, look out for breakouts on your skin, feeling like you’re in a fog, being more on-edge, and hormonal changes that increase appetite.

Hack your office: Getting more sunlight during the day has been proven to help you sleep better at

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Principles in Practice

You have seven seconds…Go!! You’re probably thinking, seven seconds for what? Well, according to research, people tend to make their first impression within the first seven seconds of meeting somebody. How we look shapes the message we are conveying.

Body language communicates attitude, emotions, and intentions and can punctuate, emphasize and enliven messages.

 Communication involves both verbal and nonverbal messages to create a shared understanding. In today’s world, much of our communication is digital and often it’s difficult to understand the true meaning behind the electronically-delivered content. Being behind a computer, we tend to forget the principles of body language that come naturally when we are speaking with somebody, whether at a conference, a business development meeting, or with colleagues.

I recently read an article on Leonardo da Vinci’s “painted psychoanalysis,” the Mona Lisa. The portrait illustrates mixed emotions. Depending on the angle the portrait is viewed, the woman is sometimes perceived to be smiling, while other times appearing more serious.  The painting allows viewers to create their own opinion of her depending on their observation.

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Hydration Motivation

When most of us think dehydration, what usually comes to mind is running on a hot day, sweating through our shirt and gasping for breath. Crawling in the desert, looking towards a mirage may be a second thought. What we don’t think about, is the businessman, wearing a collared shirt with a jacket, getting lost in his work for eight or more hours, that forgets to drink a glass of water.

He stands up quickly, throwing off his balance, dizzy, but thinks nothing of it. He gets tired earlier and easier, but he’s been working too hard lately. His skin starts to sag slightly, losing some of it’s color, but that’s just due to age.

Unfortunately, each and every one of these symptoms is caused by lack of water, or dehydration. With meetings, calls, presentations and other activities that happen in an office daily, drinking water is not the highest priority for anyone and usually becomes an afterthought. But, forgetting to drink high quality H2O has adverse effects on your work quality and health.

The body is made of up to 78% water, which helps to maintain temperature, brain function and protect organs. Trying to memorize a presentation or concentrate on reading a proposal becomes easier when your brain and body are nourished. From a beauty standpoint, drinking water helps to clear skin, quicken metabolism and lose weight.  In comparison, losing just 4% of your body’s water, which could be meager pounds, will cause fainting, skin shriveling, blood pressure dropping and your body overheating. Further water loss can result in organ damage and, at 10%, loss of life.

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Make Your Content Count

As strategic communication professionals, one of our most crucial obligations is exceeding client expectations. Fostering two-way communication and creating a dialogue allows us to better understand their values and beliefs that contribute to strategizing and researching campaigns. After all, our end goal is to generate impactful and measurable results.   

Public Relations Tactics contributor, Ivan Ristic, mentions, “Research, in its most ubiquitous PR use, is a tried-and-true tactic that can provide unique, substantiated content.”  In order to effectively ensure client partnerships are constantly part of media conversations, a component of creative and extensive research should factor into the campaign method.  

Collecting accurate research provides an immeasurable amount of value to the work we do. With this data we can create newsworthy material with compelling headlines that position clients in front of the right media. 

So you might ask, how do we tap clients into the national conversation without knowing what that conversation is? It’s the power of storytelling. It’s the stories that give meaning to the complex information we want our audience to remember. The reader is more likely to remember a descriptive story rather than data and numbers.  Everything we put in front of them needs to be relevant to their interests, allowing them to identify and engage emotionally.  To create a compelling story, think visually, be creative and take the reader on a journey they won’t forget.

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It’s Not About You

“Think back to the first time you were asked to manage. How did it feel to lead? What got you to where you are now?” So opened an informative and inspiring presentation by Pat Falotico, CEO of the Robert K Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership. Our Dec. 2nd leadership forum, co-hosted with Randy Hain of Serviam Partners, was attended by more than 70 senior Atlanta business leaders, all of whom expressed varied feelings in response to Pat’s opening questions about leading teams.

As Pat spoke more about what defines true servant leadership, she asked us, “Who are you for yourself, for others, and for your organization?”

Who are you for yourself? Leadership begins with the innate feeling that you want to serve, and serve first. Pat zeroed in on this conscious choice we’re required to make as leaders. Many of us have had a manager who tried so hard to be sincere, but it was clear they were not meant to lead. There is no place for pretending to be authentic, and no one is buying it anyway.

Self-awareness plays a huge role here. Pat used an example from the TV classic, Seinfeld, where George believes every decision he’s made in his life has been wrong and decides to do the opposite of everything. To his surprise, this approach actually worked for him. As Robert Greenleaf said, “Awareness is not a giver of solace, it is a disturber and an awakener.” Once we are aware of our weaknesses, we can try different approaches and become a more purposeful leader.

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