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Who are you?

By Dr Diana Theodores

You are doing a great job as a committed, accountable, talented individual. You perform. You make a positive impact on those around you. You have got a vision.

So, who knows about you? Who needs to know? How are you communicating your story? How are you leveraging your impact? What is your exposure-barometer reading?

Time to replace the story, so that doing a great job will get you the recognition, credit, or promotion you deserve. It is time to get noticed more and shine more. It is time to speak up. It is time to feel big on the inside. It is time to step into your fullest self and upsize your visibility.

Having visibility enables you to inspire and galvanise others to support you and help you achieve your goals. Having visibility means having gravitas. It means that the message you transmit to your company is 'I am ready'. It means having self-confidence and presence.

Elevator pitch

Let us go back to basics and reconsider that 'elevator pitch' - that short, but compelling introduction of yourself that is always at the ready and can flex for the audience and the context you need it for.

It is a micro story of who you are, what you do, what you bring to the table that is unique and what you are ready to do next. It is bold, simple, clear, and specific. It is dynamic and energised. Any time you find yourself in any of those 'seize the opportunity moments', raise your visibility through your elevator pitch. Your pitch should include these points:

  • Your name and your job title and what that title actually means. What is the story behind it?
  • What energises and excites you about your role?
  • What strengths or 'at your best' qualities do you bring to the table (projects, team, organisation)?
  • What is the impact you could make (on your organisation)? Something you are uniquely able to create, offer?

Try creating a bullet-point version of this story and speak it out loud to get a shape and flow that sounds natural and utterly convincing. You can tell this story in a couple of sentences or take a whole minute - depending on the scenario. The more familiar you are with your story, the more you embody it, own it and live it. 

Have a 'brand audit' 

While you are rehearsing your elevator pitch, it is also a great opportunity to do a 'brand audit' on yourself. You are not a commercial product, but you do have a 'brand'. You stand for something. You have values, vision, competencies, and outstanding strengths. You are seen and heard by others in your own unique way.

Here are some questions to reflect on in clarifying your brand:

  • What are you the 'go to' person for?
  • What capabilities are you known for?
  • Why do people trust you?
  • How do you create that trust?
  • What are your core values?
  • How do you exercise those values, especially under pressure or when challenged?
  • In a few words, how would your friends and family describe you?
  • What are your unique qualities?
  • What do you feel passionate about and how do you communicate that?

Enjoy creating an actual 'brand logo' for yourself or find a picture that expresses your personal vision or something you want to create.

Share a story with a friend or trusted colleague about a peak performance moment or success you experienced and get feedback about the impact of your story - some key qualities about you that your listener 'gets' about you from hearing your story. Thank them for the gift of feedback.

Write those qualities down. Say them out loud and reflect on what those words mean to you. These powerful words are gateways to the story of your impact.

Go forth and tell your story. Clarify your brand. Enjoy the results of upsizing your visibility.

Find your passion

In the everyday performance of our jobs and responsibilities, we forget parts of ourselves for periods of time, sometimes for whole chapters of our lives. Often, these parts are what we might call our creative selves, and they go dormant. The piano not touched for a decade, the favourite poems not read since school, the voice that once sang now speaking only workplace jargon behind a PowerPoint deck, the sketchbook abandoned for spreadsheets. Where is my doodler, dreamer, my secret songwriter, my fashion illustrator? So long lost. We tell ourselves: 'At some point there will be time for me, but not right now.' So, make creativity dates with yourself: step inside that art gallery you pass every day, register for that workshop, join that choir, take out your sketchpad. Start today. Your acknowledgement of your creativity can boost your professional story.

Notice how your voice, energy, body language and belief come alive when you talk about one of your passions. Whether it is cooking or travel, reading poetry, dancing or sketching, gardening or mountain climbing, quilting or singing in a choir - whatever connects you to your passion and your creativity - notice how animated you are and put that quality into your communication and presentations at work. Bring the voice that reads poetry so thoughtfully or the voice that sings with such heart and enthusiasm into those stories about 'the numbers' in your slide deck.

By reconnecting to your creativity, you are also reawakening the child within who knows the power of playing. Children at play, in their immersion and flow, in their innocent confidence and state of wonder and curiosity are profound and magnificent role models for exercising our imagination and sense of 'anything is possible'.

Look at a photo album of your life - literal or visualised. Reflect on the different chapters of you - what you looked like, sounded like, experienced - from ingenue to leader. Give your different personae, traits and energy qualities an airing! Exercise them as required.

Remember: being authentically you does not mean being the same all the time. It means having the capacity to tap into all your behaviour styles for your best performance. When you assert different energies, you are playing you: the Rottweiler, the Nurturer, the Motivator, the Challenger, the Seducer, the Authoritarian, the Creative and so on - all you. You possess a whole palette of expressive possibilities. Play them as you need them!

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About the Author

Dr Diana Theodores is an international performance coach, Programme Director for the Impact and Influence programme and Director of Theatre 4 Business. She is author of bestselling Performing as YOU: how to have authentic impact in every role you play

Tags: Leadership, SME Businesses, impact, executive development, Personal Development, Communication and Personal Presence, Article