A personal brand is the perception a person has of you. Rather than the overall perception of a company, a personal brand is specific to you as an employee of your company. The reason for the elevation of personal branding has to do with the digital capabilities of social media and the ease of building a personal business network that spans geographies. The better you establish your personal brand, the more opportunities you bring to your company.
What ingredients make a personal brand?
A brand is simply the total experience people have when interacting with a company. What people feel and experience when they interact with a product or service makes its brand. Therefore, a personal brand is made from
Your interactions with others in your professional life are what create your personal brand. Interactions have a specific manner, energy, and frequency. The manner, energy, and frequency of your interactions contribute to what others experience.
As others interact with you, they take away an experience. That experience can range from inspiration to boredom, intimidation to warmth, energized to deflated. How others experience you elicits emotion.
How people feel is a major factor in the decisions they make and how they orient their life. When you interact with others you give them an experience and that experience contributes to their emotions. Those emotions are then connected to you and your personal brand.
To know your personal brand requires you to understand how your interactions are experienced by others and how those experiences make them feel.
Why is personal brand important?
Brands build on each other. Professional engineering has a brand. Civil Engineering has a brand. Civil engineering firms have a brand. And each professional engineer has a personal brand. Therefore, your personal interactions give clients an experience. Those clients attribute how that experience makes them feel to you, your company, and your profession. As you can imagine, how you craft your personal brand not only affects you, but also affects your firm and the entire profession.
Realize that every engineer has a personal brand. Ignoring a personal brand does not make it disappear. It does not become irrelevant because you simply do not care. What clients experience and feel when working with you matters. It matters greatly! A personal brand is important for many reasons. Chief among those reasons is the contribution or deficit you create for your firm and your profession.
If you consider your personal brand and intentionally work on the impact you are making on your clients, your colleagues, and society, the greater personal benefit you will enjoy. Here are some questions upon which to reflect to help you establish a positive personal brand;
This post was originally published at Personal Brand: What Is It and Why Is It Important? (engineeringmanagementinstitute.org)
Technical writing does not have to be boring.
Technical writing does not have to be difficult to read.
Architects, Engineers, and Contractors often write technical information. As an AEC marketer, you have the task of taking this technical writing and translating it so non-technical readers will understand it. Here are three improvements you can share with your technical writers to move from boring and difficult to interesting and easy!
That's it! Simple to advise, but maybe a tad difficult to execute. So let's practice.
Here's an example of a difficult to read technical scenario.
"The improvements included addition of additional dewatering and conveyance equipment, storage and load-out systems, SCADA improvements, and a new operations facility to include lab space, control stations, and restrooms. This project was executed by the Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) Alternative Project Delivery Method to facilitate a completion date one year earlier than traditional project delivery approaches.”
This scenario has a Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease score of "0"! That means the paragraph is virtually incomprehensible. Applying the three improvements, here's how this same information can transform from difficult and boring to easy and interesting.
"We improved several systems. These included;
We broke up two long sentences into four shorter sentences. We eliminated unnecessary words like, "addition, additional, systems, improvements, facility, project, executed, date one year earlier, project delivery." We took a list of seven items separated by commas and made a bulleted list of four items. By completing these three improvements the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease score jumped from "0" to "26." The grade level improved from "20.0" to "11.0."
If you want to take technical writing to the next level, consider how you can make the data tell a story. Using the same scenario above, consider the following improvement in creating a story from the data.
"The owner of the wastewater treatment plant needed many improvements in a short timeframe. We quickly joined forces with a capable contractor and suggested a Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) Alternative Project Delivery Method. This method reduced the schedule by nearly a year. Together, our team delivered the needed improvements within the owner's tight schedule. These improvements included;
Notice how compelling and interesting a short story can be. In less than 100 words, we not only uncluttered boring data, but we made the data support what really matters. The owner's improvements were achieved in a shorter timeframe.
Communicating process is about letting others know where you are in the process of delivering requested information or in completing a task. Most never think about communicating process because they do not see the value in it. However, when you communicate the process, it lets those who are depending on you know that you are working on what they need and whether you are on target or running behind. This is true for both external clients and internal colleagues.
Let’s consider a few scenarios to tease out what communicating process looks like.
In both scenarios, talking to the client frequently and with full disclosure is your best option. It is not always the most comfortable option, but it is best for the client. Leaving a client in the dark and wondering about what is going on is never a good idea. Communicating the process is your best practice for keeping clients engaged and informed, even when the news is bad.
Additionally, communicating process with your colleagues is a good idea. When someone internally is waiting for you to complete a task or deliver information, communicate your process. Keep each other informed as to your progress or lack thereof. If someone emails you a request, let them know you received it and what your plan is for delivering.
Gabe Lett, FSMPS, CPSM, LPC