Everyone has a personal brand. It’s often described as what others say about you when you are not in the room. The type of impression you create, along with the reputation you build for yourself, is a big part of personal branding. But what happens when good ol’ physiology, such as a depleted energy level, makes it more difficult to communicate your personal brand effectively?
Of course, certain situations can prove to be more enervating and challenging than others. Many of us, especially introverts, can find large events like conferences, exhibitions (and even parties and festivals!) both physically and mentally draining. Even a full-on day of meetings can take its toll. The result is easy to assess on the inside; we may feel tired, irritable, and start fantasising about that hot bath, book and cup of tea on our own. However, your outer personal brand may also be showing the strain. Your once obvious enthusiasm may start looking as though it’s on the wane, and people may get the sense that you’ve started to disconnect and tune out.
However, a clinical psychologist and personal brand consultant at www.goldennotebook.co.uk, Lisa Orban offers these simple yet highly effective tips for helping with both stamina and managing situations where you know your energy may putter out.
Don’t underestimate the power of small breaks (even just five minutes) in your day. If you are with people all day, plan out opportunities to take small breaks on your own. Excuse yourself to make an important call if that’s suitable or take a walk around the block during a coffee break. Even if you’re only able to slip away for a few minutes for a trip to the loo, it may just give you that much-needed opportunity to take a breather.
If you’re away at a conference, escape to your room for an invigorating shower or warm bath before the evening activities start up. If there is time on the schedule, an afternoon siesta can really re-energise you again. However, don’t sleep for too long. A fifteen-minute nap will revive you but sleep longer and you risk lingering lethargy.
Keep your tank full
This one is fairly obvious but easily forgotten. The fastest way to deplete your brand is by not having the proper fuel in your system. Protein is, of course, excellent for keeping up your energy levels so think good, protein-rich breakfasts and snacks such as a pack of nuts or even the Graze protein pack for sustaining you during the day. Pass on carbs like biscuits and croissants and watch the caffeine. It may give you that much-needed perk initially but typically results in a crash. The importance of good old-fashioned water is often overlooked. Keep hydrated throughout the day, even if you’re not actually thirsty. Studies have shown that even mild dehydration can affect a person’s energy level, mood and ability to think clearly.
Alcohol is another tricky area. If you’re tired you may be longing for that crisp glass of white to perk you up, but stick to a personal limit so that it doesn’t impact on your sleep and the next day’s energy. And let’s not forget that having one too many can be more obvious than we think…and does nothing for your energy level or personal brand (except perhaps resulting in a boozy reputation!).
Do you really need to go? If it’s an event you’re in two minds about, and you think it’s going to require a lot of effort to go, can you afford to skip it? Sometimes it may make sense to put self-care first. Likewise, if you’re attending every talk, be a little more discriminating and consider a rhythm that might be better suited to you. Breaking out into a one to one with a key contact can be just as useful, and less draining.
If it’s post-conference and people are meeting for drinks before dinner, consider joining them later to eat. There’s no harm in admitting that you’re knackered and want to refresh yourself a little…and you probably won’t be the only one thinking it!
There are some fairly easy ways to navigate events where you are faced with lots of strangers: a perfect recipe for losing your mojo for some people. For a start, make it your business to connect with the host beforehand and ask them to introduce you to some people. Even standing near the door and saying hello to people as they come does something mentally to keep you perked up. If possible, take advantage of the power of co-branding by pairing up with a more extroverted friend or colleague whose own energy feeds off being with people, as some of that may very well rub off on you. Even if it doesn’t, they can keep the conversation going!
Dropping into listening mode is quite acceptable. We all know people love to talk about themselves…so let them. Along the same lines, practice getting comfortable with silence. Let go of the self-demand that you have to fill every moment with chatter to have a connection. If a conversation gets stilted, you can always move on. Get comfortable with making your excuses and exiting the conversation, and/or just get used to feeling the discomfort of excusing yourself (a temporary feeling that will quickly pass).
Listen to your body
Make it your mission to get to know yourself. Watch out for those early warning signs that show you need some food, water or time alone. Do you start to zone out, get a fuzzy head or a headache? Our mind often says we “should stay” when our body is clamouring to get up and leave! If you’re with a partner or friend who is likely to stay longer than you, discuss this beforehand and negotiate the practicalities of getting back so that you have an exit route planned if you need it.
Go easy on yourself. After all, it’s actually not in our DNA to like large crowds; even in Paleolithic days, humans would split up into smaller bands if their own tribe got too big. Today, mankind is overwhelmingly the same, as we often find large groups over-whelming or can feel claustrophobic in crowded situations. So instead of fighting biology and trying to power through these situations, try listening to your body…you just might be doing your health (and your personal brand) a service!
Bringing together her extensive training, experience and passion in both psychology and branding, Dr Lisa Orban founded Golden Notebook. A clinical psychologist, Lisa trained and practised in New York City for eleven years before relocating to London. Lisa helps clients make a name for themselves by discovering their distinct and authentic personal brand. She takes a unique approach to personal branding that combines psychological assessment and theory with branding strategies to create for powerful and enduring individual change and personal impact. She is currently offering complimentary introductory consultations.