How do you make yourself stand out from the crowd? The key is to have your own personal tool kit or brand identity. It’s a way to create personal elevation for yourself, says Jennifer Ransaw Smith, CEO and Chief Brand Strategist of Brand ID.What should your tool kit include?
Bio: Almost everyone has a bio that they can submit, but do you have both a long one and a short one? This is critical because a longer one may be needed to introduce you, but a shorter one will be used in marketing materials. You don’t want to leave your bio – think reputation – in the hands of someone who doesn’t know you. Be sure you have both written. The short one should be about 75 words. I recommend having a colleague review it because I’ve always found the short one the most challenging to write and invariably I leave out the one thing that my colleagues say should be included because it’s the differentiator.
Professional Headshot: It’s worth the money to get someone to take your photo. And you can write it off as a business expense. Then use the photo on your LinkedIn profile or anytime someone requests one of you.
Speaker’s Sheet: If you do any public speaking, keep a list of the organizations to which you have spoken. If you give a major presentation to the office include that on your list. If yours is a short list you may have it included on your resume, but when you are trying to secure additional speaking roles, organizers want to only see the list and not everything else on a resume. Include the organization, title of speech and location. If you have it, also note the audience size.
If you are looking to gain speaking experience, start with local professional associations, including business and civic groups. They often are seeking expert advice on topics and would be delighted to have you speak. While there is no speaker’s fee or honorarium, you will gain invaluable speaking experience for your portfolio and the group learns from your expertise.
Speaker’s Reel, Media Reel, Thought Leadership Reel: Have you been quoted by the media? Have your speaking engagements been captured on video and shared on a website or through YouTube? Create a sheet that includes links to media quoting or interviewing you. Create a video clip that demonstrates your speaking prowess. It’s no longer enough to say that you are an expert on a particular topic, you must demonstrate it. TED Talks, for example, require nominees to submit a short video to demonstrate their speaking style.
Because of my role as a spokesperson, I’ve been quoted in publications and been interviewed by the media more times than I can count. It’s part of my job and I don’t think twice about it. Nor have I kept track of the interviews. Then one day I was asked for examples. Fortunately, Google made it possible to find some of them, and I’ve now started a list with links.
Client Testimonials: When you speak somewhere and receive positive comments, ask the person if they would provide you with a written testimonial that you can use going forward. I used to do a lot of media training, and I always asked participants for feedback and permission to use their comments. It’s helpful to have several of these to share if asked by someone who is considering you as a speaker.