3 personal branding tips for your dating profile

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Interestingly, most people around me don’t know that my personal/professional branding career started with writing personal dating profiles about 6 years ago.

This is probably because few of my clients feel comfortable giving public testimonials about such a personal thing and I am also very discreet about my work. People trust me for a reason. But you know what, everybody’s doing it. It’s like I always say, everybody wants to look good and feel good, so if you haven’t seen a branding specialist yet, then this is the time to do yourself that favor.

My pitch has also sharpened over the years, because previous and new clients and their referrals are running down my door. A new year, a fresh start, I need to work on myself and my business and ‘getting myself out there’ will be the first move!

And when I tell people what I do, it doesn’t take long before they bring the professional branding conversation over to a more personal one. “You don’t happen to look at more personal profiles, like dating profiles and stuff, do you? I have a friend…”

So if you have ‘a friend’ who want’s to go on some great dates this year, tell them to call me.

I spend a lot of time with my clients and the value they get from a sharp profile is priceless.

 

 

I won’t include everything here, so to start with here are the first 3 tips for your dating profile:

(Then you, or your ‘friend’, can get in touch later if you really want to make an irresistible profile that gets you what you want.)

 

1. Be clear about your desired outcome

  • How do you know how to get there if you don’t know where you are going?
  • How can you expect others to give you what you want if you yourself don’t know what that is?

– Don’t dwell on it, just write down the first thing you think about when you ask yourself the question; what do I actually want?

  • A girlfriend/boyfriend? a hookup? to get married? to have children? a friend?
  • Talk it over with a few friends and write it down. Must write it down. Write. It. Down.

NOTE: Don’t place onto one person the burden of being everything you want in your life, that is not a managed expectation…!

 

2. Let your pictures say the right 1000 words

  • Do you actually know how exactly you (or anyone) size up a potential match based on their looks? (whether it’s in person or in a picture)
  • Do you know that, what you write in your profile (with the exception of the first 50 words) says less about you than both the decision about what pictures to include in the profile, and the pictures themselves?
  • Do you know that you can determine someones personality based on how they look better than a set of pre determined questions?

– Unconsciously, our brains and bodies can ‘see’ the specific characteristics we look for in a potential mate within 7 seconds of meeting that person (or seeing their picture).

– Your body language says more about you than what you think. Think about you are trying to say, Which characteristics you have and wan to display. Are you neat and tidy? Are you vain? Are you free spirited?

NOTE: Your photos may actually be even more accurate in determining some specific social characteristics than in-person interactions – from your facial expression to your clothing style — before factoring in what you say or how you act.

Some brief clues:

  • how you stand, hold your arms, or how you face camera can show confidence levels and extroversion/introversion
  • facial features can show whether you are after long or short term relationships and effect what types of people get in touch with you; men look for femininity whilst women look for chiseled (short term) vs softer features (long term)
  • if you are smiling, or whether you’re alone or in a group can show social preferences

Note: I tend to disagree a little regarding the social pictures on dating profiles because you may want to consider your friends privacy. If you decide to include social pictures ask your friends or blur their faces in a non creepy way.

 

3. Your profile picture is their way to your heart (and soul)! 

  • Yeah, it’s not food.
  • And it’s not sex.
  • It’s not even all that laughter you bring into their life.

– It’s that look. It’s that look you give each other when the freckles in your eyes are perfectly aligned and what you see is a mirror image of more than what you are even thinking. It’s called understanding. Meaning and understanding. And that’s what all humans want and need the most out of life, yet give each other the least. Words alone can not describe meaning and understanding. What we think and what we say are not the same. Have you ever had a conversation with someone and felt like they ‘got you’ without you getting into details? And have you ever had a conversation with someone who didn’t understand you, even after explaining every little detail…?

 

Why don’t we give each other understanding you ask?

Because it’s challenging. It’s not easy. Most people just want life to be easier and they’re not actually willing or able to give understanding to others.

Bare with me, I’m going somewhere with this.

I’m not saying that you should spend a lifetime analyzing and creating your profile picture. What I’m saying is that your profile picture is the beginning of getting to your desired outcome (point 1 remember). So let that picture show who you are. Let people see that you understand who you are. And whether it’s a quick hook-up or a long term relationship you are after, save yourself and others the time of being honest. Theres plenty of people who want the same as you, so talk to that audience instead of deceiving both them and yourself.

NOTE: Don’t wear sun glasses, don’t be shirtless, don’t have your friends in the picture so people can’t determine who’s you.

  • Just face camera straight on, relax, and smile.

This is where my friends say I need to include an analysis of my own personal profile picture, and perhaps I will write another post later on. Although I think it’s pretty clear to people with their head screwed on and feedback from my 360 (which included that picture) states that it says I am: determined, vulnerable, cheeky. I’m happy with that.

Good luck writing your dating profile, I hope you get what you are after, and call me if you get stuck.

Sophia

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5 questions to help you launch, refocus or refine your personal brand

Personal Branding

Everyone wants to look good, feel good, have more, know more, be better. It’s human. It’s biology. It’s your right.

Most people however, don’t know how to achieve this. They think they know, but what they really know are all the excuses not to have all of the above.

They have what Covey calls excusitis, and they say things like this to avoid facing their fear of success: ‘I’m too old/young/tall/short’, ‘This is just who I am and I can’t change my personality’, ‘I’ve tried and it doesn’t work’, ‘It’s not for people like me’ etc.

And because I discovered this, and learnt how to overcome it, I myself was able to find my niche, my way, my strengths, and my passion.

With the gift of encouragement and ability to see the best in people (which has at times also worked against me), I help people look good, feel good, and be great. I do this through helping them discover who they are, their strengths and how to leverage them, for then to implement strategies to achieve set goals. This results in my clients finding more and better work or clients; new jobs they love; it increases sales, their confidence, their service offering; and best of all, it helps them self actualise. One of my focus areas is personal branding.

 

The first step of establishing your personal brand is to introduce who you are with you want to be. 

Most people are stuck on the idea that they can’t or won’t change, but whether you think it or not, most people do change quite a lot over the span of their life time. We change taste in music, hobbies, people, foods, and fashion. We change how we dress, where we work, and who we spend time with. Therefore, when you are establishing your personal brand, you are in a way creating your future self and that’s the persona you need to plan towards (not your past self!).

 

Once you have established your ideal future self, you need to prepare for that role. What you wear, how you think, who you hang out with and so on. 

As people need feedback and constant communication with others to find clarity, I recommend working with a branding specialist to get the most out of your personal brand. It is also important to avoid coming off as flip, arrogant, or unprofessional – which too many people do.

Meanwhile, I have prepared 5 questions to help you launch, refocus or refine your personal brand:

 

1. What are your goals?

– Getting published?
– Landing a new job
– Getting invited to present at conferences?

  • Your goals should drive the major aspects of your personal branding campaign, from what you say, to how and where you say it, and to the audiences you target.
  • The more specific your goals, the better you can tailor your personal branding strategy and evaluate its effectiveness.

 

2. What do you have to say?

– What do you know and want to be known for?
– Do you have a clear and original perspective on your specialty field?

  • A popular or different point of view attract people’s attention and inspire them to share your message, which builds brand awareness and helps to create a following.

 

3. What’s your voice?

– Whats your impression on others? (authoritative, academic, conversational, corny, or quirky)

  • Choose a voice that’s true to your character and aligns with your goals to help you connect with others while differentiating yourself.
  • Avoid being sarcastic and negative – it does not play out well on social media.

 

4. Who’s your audience?

– Who do you want exposure to? (media, executives, students, partners, the health conscious)?

  • Thinking about the stakeholders who can help you achieve your goals, and then establish a strategy for reaching them wherever they cluster.

 

5. How should you engage?

– Which channels should you use? (Your audience will determine this)

  • Consider the types of content and media your audiences will be receptive to, and prioritize quality over quantity.
  • Hire people to help you write, connect, set up social media (or don’t use social media).
  • Be active, versatile, professional.

 

So, why is it important to develop and communicate a consistent message that expresses your professional worth and values?

  1. It is an effective way for passive and active job seekers to distinguish themselves from competitors and gain visibility in a crowded employment market.
  2. For executives, it can help attract talent to their organizations, build goodwill with customers and business partners, and create positive buzz for their organisation.
  3. Building a brand and a following on social media demonstrates strong communication skills, the capacity to influence others, and leadership. All attractive traits.

If you would like to discuss your personal (and professional) brand further, please get in touch. I would love to get to know you and help you and others see how great you are.

Sophia

6 internal triggers that encourage people to share

How can you get people to emphatically click the share button when they see your content?

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Here are 6 psychological triggers behind viral content:

1. Social Currency

2. Triggers

3. Emotions

4. Public Observability

5. Practical Value

6. Storytelling

(infographic by Jonah Berger)

 

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PR Thinking is the Future

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It is always good to know you work in a forward thinking field that people believe in, PR Thinking is the future.

According to a study conducted by European business school Mediaschool Group, 70 percent of current marketing students believe that, in 10 years, marketing will focus on content marketing and “PR thinking”—a focus on building brand recognition and image, and on inspiring customer trust. Further, 80 percent anticipate the demise of stand-alone social media services firms and digital marketing agencies.

That means that tomorrows CEO’s & CMO’s believe that customers will continue to look for:

  1. Ideal public relations (building relationships based on two way communication and trust)
  2. Trust in the customer as an individual with an opinion, decision making ability, and their own brain with knowledge of what is best for them
  3. Brand recognition, meaning, and image – what does the brand represent, and how does that representation have a common meaning to the buyer?

Read more here in PR Daily

What’s It Worth?

images-19In order to understand the value you offer others, you need to establish 3 things:

1. What are values?
2. What do you value?
3. What do they value?

… and then you can ask, what is the value of what you do for your clients?

1. What are values?

Values are important and lasting beliefs or ideals shared by the members of a culture about what is good or bad and desirable or undesirable. Values have major influence on a person’s behavior and attitude and serve as broad guidelines in all situations. Some common business values are fairness, innovation and community involvement. Some common personal values are family, friends, and wealth.

Human economics are often measured in monetary values. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we often forget to stop and think about the values apparent in our environments. Why do we think purchasing a jacket at 50% discount is a bargain when we know it couldn’t possibly have been marked correctly on the original price? (no one would sell below market value unless they were replacing its value with something else). What is employment worth to a single mum as opposed to a Stepford wife? What is the worth of a brand new sports car to a multimillionaire as opposed to a rusty old fiat to a man living 50km away from his workplace? What is an un-paid internship experience worth to an immigrant fighting for their dreams as opposed to an overseas trip for a spoilt teenager?

2. What do you value?

Most people are not clear about their own values. We often cop out on that answer and fall to the default answer that our values are family, friends and wealth. They might be, however then they are not measured correctly up agains each others, and also not compared to your behaviour and personality. The most recent model to measure values is the competing values framework, which is a management model created by Quinn and Quinn (2010).

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Today, management skills are commonly segmented into the competing values framework including four paradigms which have developed over time. Contingent upon environment and situation, and due to the complexities of life and technical, social and political “forces of time” several models are necessary to describe efficiency. The competing values framework includes the rational goal model (Control), the internal process model (Compete), the human resources model (collaborate), and the open systems model (Create). In order to understand yours and others values more clearly, you can read ‘Becoming a Master Manager’ (Quinn & Quinn 2011), contact me for a competing values assessment using a matrix test I have made based on Quinn & Quinn’s model, or read through the below competing values:

Q: Do you value stability and continuity more than team cohesion?

Q: Do you value creativity more than profitability?

Q: Do you value being in control more than understanding other?

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What do others value?

The best way to find another persons values is to ask them, interview style.  Explore and elicit information about the persons opinion, beliefs and values as well as their perspective on a specific issue. This way you achieve a holistic understanding of their point of view or situation. It also allows you to understand an extraordinary amount of complexity and to reduce and compare it for increased understanding and further social development for both of you. As the most natural and obvious way of gathering information, interview style conversations become a “space” for people to be heard and understood, creating a sense of acceptance and belonging. Interview style conversations both connect people with information and creates better relationships.

You will found that, once you learn to listen to others messages with focus and open-mindedness, you will also achieve a sense of self-awareness. Fifty years of research has found that people interpret messages differently due to prior experiences and events and thus expectations. Experience depends on a person’s actions, behaviour, thoughts, decisions, skills, knowledge, identity, environment, beliefs and values. The latter two in particular stands out in a globalised world with increasing awareness of and sensitivity to, different beliefs and values across cultures. Values are hard to change because they are long-lasting beliefs built on moral and ethics about what is important in a variety of situations. Values and beliefs thus play an important role in communicating a vision that will influence individual behaviour, including purchasing behaviour. Do you know why your customers buy? Do you know the value of your product or service from their perspective?

This type of two-way communication is what we in public relations call symmetry. The concept of symmetry suggest that, if the PR function aims to value both the organisation and the customer, it must be based on values that reflect a moral obligation to balance the interests of an organisation with the interests of the customer. So, ideal (or best practice) public relations in your business – customer relationship would therefore be to understand what your customer wants, and then only really let them buy what they want without selling to them – even if it then turns out that you don’t offer what they need.

Is this what you do? Do you let your customers purchase in their own best interest? or, is your price aligned with the value your product or service have to your customer?

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May I Understand You?

images-18Research shows that most humans yearn to be understood. Perhaps today you can spend time understanding those around you. At the very least, your efforts may translate into better communication, increased understanding, and ultimately, improved relationships.

Can bilingualism make people more aware of their own and others love languages? I believe so.

So that we can understand and love each other better, Dr Gary Chapman created the model of the 5 love languages: Quality Time, Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Receiving Gifts.

Most of us grow up learning the languages of our parents, which becomes our native tongue. We later learn additional languages, but with slightly more effort. For those of us who are born bilingual and become polyglots or multilingual, it may be easier to understand others culturally because our brains are used to making an effort to interpret what others are saying and doing.

Our emotional love language and that of others may be as different as Mandarin from English – no matter how hard you try to express yourself in English to someone who only understands Mandarin, you need to use a huge amount of energy to get the message across. Don’t forget that body language (55%) and tone of voice (38%) also have culture specific meaning.

It’s rare for husbands and wives, friends, and colleagues to have the same primary love language. Unless we learn how to alter our own communication, we tend to speak our own primary love language and become confused when others don’t understand what we’re communicating. Once you identify and learn to speak another persons love language, you’ll have discovered the key to a long-lasting, loving friendship, partnership, marriage.

Just with any model, the 5 love languages are meant to guide us and bring us one step closer. We all appreciate all 5 languages, however we usually prefer 1 or 2 over others if we have to choose.  Another way to discover your love language, is to think about how you naturally show love to others, as we often give what we like to receive. We often hear the expression, “treat others the way you would like to be treated”. I think we need to re assess and “treat others the way THEY would like to be treated”.

I had a partner a few years back who thought Chapman’s book was silly. I explained it to him in short, and said to him that I thought his love language was physical touch and words of affirmation. I went on to explain that our lack of connection could be because I did not grow up with words of affirmation and it is something I am learning (I believe I have become genuinely good at it now, especially as a mentor). In addition, because my primary language is acts of service, I would get incredibly hurt when he told me he was going to do something and then didn’t. To me, this showed a lack of love, to him, it was not at all meant to be a disrespect of love, he just didn’t think it was that important to me. Clearly, because we could’t agree to love each others in the other persons language, we had to end it and move on, yet we are still close friends today.

Men, don’t cop out and assume your language is physical touch just because your brain is wired to think so. It might even be worth taking physical touch out of the test until you fully understand how you prefer to give and receive love. Dr. Chapman says, “We’re not talking comfort. We’re talking love. Love is something we do for someone else. So often people love one another but they aren’t connecting. They are sincere, but sincerity isn’t enough.”

Although you may score certain love languages more highly that others, don’t dismiss the other languages. Friends, family and colleagues may express love in those ways, and it will be beneficial for you to understand this about them. In the same way, it will benefit people around you to know your love language so they can express their affection for you in ways that you interpret as love.

Take the test here, and have a relaxing Sunday filled with love and understanding.

My results are:

1. Acts of Service (includes doing work together and small gestures)

2. Quality Time (focussed, fun, experience, not necessarily quantity)

3. Words of Affirmation (I love poetry, what you do means more to me than what you say)

4. Physical Touch (I’m very ‘touchy feely’, I find it hard to be physical if I don’t feel loved)

5. Receiving Gifts (I still appreciate gifts, I’d just rather have the gift of love)

Learn more about Dr Gary Chapman and the 5 love languages here. 

With this backdrop, do you understand why your customers buy? (next article…)

SA Chamber of Commerce Panel Discussion

SA Chamber of Commerce Panel Discussion: Per Claesson from Dental Access, Petra Andren from ATP,  Sophia Demetriades from Dream

SA Chamber of Commerce Panel Discussion: Per Claesson from Dental Access, Petra Andren from ATP, Sophia Demetriades from Dream

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