“Look, to be really honest with you…” how does that statement make you feel? It made me feel awful when I heard it last week!
Last week my husband and I, along with other parents, got to meet one of our children’s school mentors. She spent around 30 minutes telling us all about herself, her experiences, expectations of the children and so forth – typical information you would expect from a high school mentor. I was thinking to myself what a great personal brand she was portraying; she was extremely friendly, had buckets of stories to tell to demonstrate her beliefs around education, you could tell she was passionate by her stance and confidence.
But then she ruined it for me!
After half an hour of her talking and giving us the confidence that she would be a terrific mentor to 20 odd boys she crouched down a little and lent into the room as though she was going to tell us a secret and said,
“Look, to be really honest with you…”
I can’t remember what words followed that statement because I was in a state of shock! What I heard was “Look, for the last 30 minutes I haven’t been that honest with you but now that we’ve spent some time together I’ll be honest from now on!” Of course that’s not what she said but how powerful and influential are the words that are spoken?
Personal branding amounts to many things from the words that you speak to the actions that you take to the platforms that you use. We can work so hard to position ourselves and promote our beliefs and values and then just as quickly stumble and start unraveling our brand.
Perhaps I’m being a little harsh on my boys school mentor but I think it demonstrates how important it is to think and be aware of the language you use when you are marketing yourself. You may ask when would a school mentor/teacher ever want to market themselves? and my response would be that any time you are presenting/talking with people you are marketing yourself – positioning, promoting your ideas and advice.
The other classic no no’s are:
“to tell you the truth” implies you haven’t been so far….
“you can trust me” an oldie but a classic
What others can you think of?
A quick plug here! I’m hosting a 30 minute webinar “How to Develop Your Personal Brand” if you’re interested in learning more about this topic then please join me, its on 19 Feb at 12pm so you can grab your lunch too! You must be registered so here’s the link – look forward to seeing you there!