- For Leaders
- For HR Professionals
- For event planners
The results are in!
Click here to download what we found in our 2017 Strategic Planning Survey.
As a brand and culture strategist who helps individuals and brands define their unique position in the market, I meet many business owners, entrepreneurs and thought leaders who want to position themselves as Brand U experts.
Not only do they want to be known as key influencers in their field, they want to leverage and build a reputation so clients and business finds them, so media ask them for their opinion rather than them having to sell, sell.
I just read an article by Lolly Daskal from Lead From Within and it aligns so closely with the advice I give my clients that thought I would share a part of it here and add my personal commentary (my personal thoughts are included in italics). Thanks @LollyDaskal for the great resource!
Here are 10 simple strategies that can help you raise your profile and help you find the people who need your expertise (plus commentary from me):
1. Identify your skill.
When you know your skills and capabilities, it is easier to position yourself as an expert. What are your skills, experience, and knowledge?
(I recommend the Gallup Clifton Strengths Finder, you can also explore DISC, PCSI, Myers Briggs but my personal preference is the Strengths Finder - if you need help undertaking this contact us!)
2. Find your voice.
Create a website, define a target audience, and begin speaking from your experience. Let people find out what you know and what you stand for. Having a voice builds your authority and allows others to find you online.
(If you don’t have a website yet use a blog or LinkedIn articles like this to state your position).
3. Maintain your credibility.
Define what you know and draw a line. With your reputation at stake, this is not a time to practice "fake it till you make it." As you progress, remember that what is most important is to maintain your credibility and your reputation.
(Everything you say and do must be on brand to maintain this. Everything, especially online - post consciously. Expand your skills of course but don't bulls@#t about what you can and can't do).
4. Network generously.
The real currency of networking is not about getting; it is about giving. It is about being generous with those you meet and sharing what you have to offer. Networking is what will get you introduced; generosity is what will make a connection.
(My motto is always Give, Give, Give. Follow up – send a referral, an article a resource that will help them, and of course connect on LinkedIn).
5. Speak up everywhere you go.
A great way to be acknowledged as an expert is to apply to a conference and get booked to speak. Speaking engagements are a great way to reach your audience and build your credibility. Find professional associations or company boards or town hall meetings. Are there classes you can teach, either in a noncredit program or a traditional academic program? When people start calling you to speak about your what you know, you have become an expert.
(Speaking is one of the best positioning tools – speak and you are perceived as the expert. To expand my speaking in 2016 I gave away 20 speaking gigs for free in the month of May, it got me focused, got me seen and helped me hone my craft).
6. Develop a blog.
Blogging provides you with a potential worldwide audience, and showcases your subject-matter expertise as well as your abilities as a writer. The key to writing a successful blog post is to keep the information useful and highly relevant, and to put out value articles frequently. Remember, you want people to see you as a resource, so provide the best information possible.
(See #2 - also keep track of what people like to read and the information they comment on, like or share - my two most popular blog post to date show people are having trouble with their bosses and leaders. Check them out here: 1 - How poor leaders are killing us and 2 - How to tell your manager they suck)
7. Become the source.
Journalists and writers are always looking for experts that they can quote in their articles. You can connect with these professionals with websites like Help a Reporter Out (HARO) or The Expert Connection (ProfNet); these sites can connect an expert with their audience.
(We have SourceBottle here in Australia. Also you can write opinion pieces for the journals etc that are in your clients field).
8. Produce something.
Produce your own informational pieces such as books, e-books, or monthly newsletters. You can also create learning platforms with webinars, podcasts, or online videos to promote your services. You can then feature these products on your website or blog, or give them away when people enquire about your products.
(Yes yes yes this is why I recommend many of my clients write a book or a white paper. You can check out my quirky book - it's only a plane ride read - here!)
9. Make use of social networking.
Social platforms are important to getting your expertise out. Be active on all social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
(Use your expertise to add value, especially related to your keyword or key point of expertise whenever you can).
10. Help others along the way.
You can also develop your reputation as an expert by using your knowledge and expertise to help others. Signing on to skill share is a great way to become acknowledged as an expert in your field.
(Connect, engage, and assist as many people as you can - even here on LinkedIn - that is how your influence will grow. Before you know it people will be asking for your experience because they know, like and trust you. My measure of if you are beginning to become a brand U expert is are you being asked to have coffees often because people want to "pick your brain").
Sir Richard Branson - aka Dr Yes - has been at his antics again!
This time the tie loathing adventurer and thrill seeker challenged Barack Obama to a kitesurfing v foil boarding competition around Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands.
Not only do the photos (full credit to @hijack Jack Brockway for the awesome pics) and video Sir Richard shared on social media depict a good dose of humour but they also show a relaxed and carefree former president lapping up the sun, surf and social life.
There are so many lessons we can take away from watching two world leaders at play.
As I talk about in my video Lessons From Necker Island I learnt so much about life and business from Sir Richard especially how much you can get done and the connections you can make when you are having fun and letting go. How wonderful to see Sir Richard invite Barack and Michelle down to his private island Moskito (across the channel from Necker Island) for a complete break after Barack finished as President and left the white house.
For eight years while in office Barack didn't get to surf, enjoy water sports or do any of the things he loved so it is wonderful to see him living in the moment, carefree and enjoying the water once again.
Sir Richard challenged Barack to learn to kitesurf before he could learn to foil board - on the final day they had a challenge - who could stay standing the longest - check out Branson's latest post to find out who dared and won in the end!
In this start of 2017 with my goal of it being the year of the JOYful Unicorn I look forward to continuing to incorporate fun, play and friendship into my world and business. What can you takeaway from watching two world leaders at play?
Are you over 2016 already but not sure how to make sure 2017 is your best year yet? I have just one tip for you.
Begin with gratitude.
Gratitude is an immensely powerful force that can expand your happiness, create loving relationships, and even improve your health. Many scientific studies, including research by renowned psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough, have found that people who consciously focus on gratitude experience greater emotional well-being and physical health than those who don’t.
Sounds like a perfect way to start the new year eh?
No matter what happened in the past, today is a fresh new day and you have the power to completely change how your life plays out in 2017. Each year I undertake an annual ritual of reviewing my current year's ANNUAL GRATITUDE LETTER on New Year's Eve and reflecting on all I am grateful for. If you want to try this too then start with reflecting on all the people you are grateful in your life, the experiences and the growth and learning you've had as well as the missteps and mistakes.
I then start the new year on New Year's Day by penning my new year's letter of gratitude, putting out into the future all I want to feel, think, see and do. If you're keen to start the year of well and want to have a go at writing your own Gratitude Letter for 2017 then begin with asking yourself questions.
Each year when I sit down to pen my annual gratitude letter I start with my five questions - I hope they inspire you to think bigger and to bring about expansion in your life:
1. How do I want to feel?
2 - What learning and growth do I want to experience?
3. What do I want my relationships to be like?
4. How do I want to contribute?
5. What is my unique intelligence I can bring to life?
This year I decided on the keyword or phrase or theme for my year as the Year of the JOYful Unicorn. (Yep it's a little woo woo)
Read on to find out more, or not if you're ready to dive in and develop your own ;-)
Post your answers to the five powerful questions or your key word or theme for the year below – I'd would love to hear them!
Happy new year - may the joyful rainbow unicorn poop find it's way into your life in 2017 - go spread that sh#t all around!
I was listening to a podcast today by Rob Bell and in it he talked about about how the invention of electricity changed our sleep patterns and awareness of natural rhythms of life.
It's so true isn't it? Rush, rush, rush. Chat, chat, chat. Type, type, type. Swipe, swipe, swipe. It's all we seem to do.
Have you been pushing too hard?
Have you been on the 24/7 treadmill?
Are you calibrated for how your life used to be and not ready for the next level?
Are you excited about starting a new season but haven't given yourself time and made space to let go and complete this phase?
I'm preparing to head into a new season in the lead up to the new year by giving myself permission and time to just be in the space that lies in between, to savour the empty days in my calendar, to soak in the bath and not do anything. I'm going to allow the dissolution of order and allow for a fluid, malleable situation to enable spontaneity, creativity and flow to re-emerge.
This liminal space between two phases can be extremely healing and restorative if you let it be so. Consider your life like the rise and fall of a sine wave, appreciate the seasons and ebb and flow of your life, career and relationships. Learn to go hard and then release. Like a slingshot pull back and then let go in order to shoot forward.
And if you're concerned about the future and what jobs, opportunities and skills are needed then watch this video and take stock over the break to consider "what's my next move?" Humans are needed to be more human more than ever. The future looks bright if you consider lifes phases as seasons and prepare yourself for what's next.
Above all else. Practice kindness. To yourself and others. Have no regrets and just be.
May you find peace and stillness this Season.
This past week I have had a lot of discussions about meetings; in particular how much time we waste making meetings, attending meetings and travelling to meetings, how managers are always the ones calling meetings and how bad we are at running meetings.
If you added up all the time people waste in bad meetings every day in your organisation, it would probably equate to a months profits or more. The truth of the matter is that long, unproductive, poorly focused meetings cost time, money and energy.
Of course, there are lots of great reasons to hold a meeting, but right I’m seeing too many people suffering in silence, secretly lamenting the curse of the M&Ms (managers and meetings).
Why is it that so many of us could be so bad at meetings? Why are they as boring as bat stuff? Why do we hate how they fill up our day and how can we make them something worthwhile and even productive instead?
Last week I spoke to a group of middle managers about carving out 45 minutes every day of uninterrupted time to get stuff done and the majority of them said there was no way they could get 45 minutes of uninterrupted time and that they spent the majority of their day in and out of meetings. Can't find 45 minutes? Isn't it the role of a manager to do strategy, planning and critical thinking?
In today’s modern world when our time is our most precious resource, why oh why do we spend so much of it stuck and frustrated in meetings?
Habit? Expectation? False hope?
The problem I see in many organisations large and small is people call meetings without being super laser focused on why or what they want to achieve, or worse yet the meeting is a recurring appointment in their calendar that they just show up for each week like an underwater walking zombie. Without meaning, a why or a clear outcome we really are just gathering a gaggle of people to shoot the breeze. You may as well tell the attendees to stay home for the day.
'Making meetings meaningful is a key factor in making them worth the investment of time and energy.'
Some of the most common characteristics of bad meeting include:
Think about it for a minute if you add
up the hourly salaries of every person in attendance at a regular meeting ie: 10
people @$50ph, that’s $500 for a 1 hour meeting. Worse that’s not really a 1
hour meeting as you need to take each person’s time into consideration.
Therefore 10 people, that’s 10 hours of lost productivity. When you cut a
meeting back to its bare bones there are a few reasons why you would bother
getting everyone in a room together.
1 to make an important decision
2 to brainstorm ideas, create new options and find solutions
3 to bond participants and build relationships
'I’ll show you a leader’s priorities if you show me their calendar.’
Next time you are setting up a meeting or have a meeting to attend you may want to get clear on the meeting’s intent first. Is there a decision to be made? Are we building relationships? Do we need to brainstorm options? Are we tracking our progress? Are we planning ahead? Do we have a clear agenda?
It drives me bonkers to see people setting meetings in organisations with a cast of thousands as they don’t want to leave anyone out or rub the new HR, Finance or Marketing person the wrong way. Crazy! In an ideal world you wouldn’t invite anyone to a meeting out of obligation. Instead you would only those who genuinely have something to contribute or whose expertise is needed or the decision may impact. Otherwise it may just become a talk fest of egos needing stroking and discussion.
And if you must hold a meeting consider breaking away from the old traditional style one and introduce a newer, more effective and stimulating format such as:
· Stand up meetings
· No phone meetings
· Walking meetings
· 15 minute meetings
· Daily huddles
· Skype meetings
Why not find other, more efficient and productive ways to communicate and put an end to the meeting madness. Your people will thank you for it!
identifies six drivers of change:
Have you ever said no to a big opportunity?
No I don’t want that new job and pay increase.
No I don’t want to go on that secondment to the other department.
No I don’t want to make a presentation to the Board.
I said no to a big opportunity last week, one that I’ve had on my vision board since January, and it was a tough call to make.
As a workplace futurist and someone who helps organisations plan and strategise their culture and brand for the future I am constantly scanning the environment, travelling throughout Australia and around the world, visiting companies that are on the forefront of modern work practices to bring those ideas back to leaders and organisations we work with.
I spend a lot of my waking hours thinking about the future. So you can imagine how excited I was to have been invited in March to speak at the World Futures Conference in Washington this past weekend. My topic – How to make work work in the future. Awesome and so right up my alley.
I had been planning the trip for some time, I’d already bought a conference ticket, accommodation was sorted and I’d been making connections on LinkedIn with peers that would be at the conference.
And then last week, life got a bit crazy, things weren’t lining up at work or at home and I came up against some pretty deep stuff – like feeling like a fraud and off course.
So I said no to speaking at the conference. I said no to a big break. To the crème de la crème of the futurists gathering. I said no to showing up regardless.
Instead I said yes. Yes to staying home. Yes to me.
For once I was totally and utterly honest with myself. I checked in and no it wasn’t fear making me back away, in speaking is one of my favourite things to do. It was just that the pull to say yes to being true to me was stronger.
I felt bad for letting the conference organisers down, but the truth was I was on day 2, not the headline, plenary speaker, a bit of reshuffling and the conference agenda would work fine. It was more a blow to my ego than an inconvenience to anyone else. Funny how the universe has a way of delivering harsh lessons at the most inopportune times.
I’d been having some hints and intuition that a change was necessary but a total transformation? Hadn’t seen that coming – some futurist I am ha ha!
I wrote a blog last week as this all unfolded and I was sick in bed with a stomach virus purging and transitioning. Some would warn against such a potentially career limiting article, however the feedback about the raw and real honesty has been a surprise to me.
How did I get here? When did I forget the things that I love doing the most?
I love my work, I love helping people and companies unleash their uniqueness so they can show up authentically and love their work every day. It’s bloody awesome work. But somewhere along the way I had lost my own way and forgotten to heed my own advice.
I started asking some big questions about life, my business and how I want to work and who with. Magically new clients turned up immediately, precisely the kind I like to work with as if to say – here, do more of this!
Awesome nudges. Perfect clues. Thank you universe.
Luckily the conference organisers were very understanding and agreed that I could donate my conference ticket I had already purchased to a scholarship student who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend – awesome #generosityeconomy in action.
I was so relieved once it was done and of course a little disappointed.
But as with any decision, once made, energy has began to flow in the new direction and clarity has returned. I’ve begun making changes in my business, a new website, a new podcast, a documentary, a charitable collaboration and a new theatre style event are all now in the pipeline. Some of these will be launched in the very near future, some a little further off, but already synchronicities are beginning to happen.
So it’s possible to say no to a big opportunity and still find a silver lining!
This week I’m focused on getting even clearer about how I want to live and work, where and with whom so I can put it into action.
Making the decision to say no was the hardest part, once it was done it was done and I could move on again and regain my flow.
Are you finding yourself at a crossroads unable to say yes or no and feeling stuck and frustrated? Don’t worry pushing through the resistance is just part of the process, it’s a sign that you’re on your way.
If you need help and you want to know how to get clear on the future path for your career, business or brand visit www.uqpower.com.au and check out our services and offerings.
Our videos, articles and resources are a great way to start the forward momentum yourself – whether it’s to grow your team, increase your income or profits or create the most memorable brand in your market.
Start saying no and releasing more energy and space to say yes to you and your dreams. You know you’re unique and you’re awesome and the world needs you!