I just came back from Las Vegas at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show and what a spectacle! If you like to geek out to latest and greatest in technology this is the event for you. The consensus from most people who have traveled to Las Vegas is that 48 hours is enough! Not so for CES, but in general why do most people feel that way? I think it is because Vegas is very much a facade. Lots of lights, camera, action, but when you really get beyond all of that, it does very little to nourish the soul. I ate at one restaurant where at first glance it looked 5-star, but when I searched beyond the walls and sponge board crown molding I found something very different. I put my hand on the chair and what looked from afar like a $2,000 throne felt like something I would buy from a department store as patio furniture. I tried to lift it expecting its solid weight to hold it to the ground and I almost thrust it to the ceiling. Weak!
Let’s relate this to personal branding. If you look the part you are half way to being the part, but when are you actually THE PART? You are when you truly FEEL that you are. So it goes without saying that for a job interview, a client meeting or big date you always want to look the part. Dress appropriately, if it’s an interview for a bank wear a sharp blue suit with a white shirt and red tie, for a big client meeting wear well coordinated slacks and a jacket(and a tie where appropriate) and on a big first date leave the ripped jeans at home and tuck in you button down. Having said all that a clean hair cut, well groomed nails and a shave go without saying, and always, always shine your shoes. So there you go, you’re half way there.
The other half: Be prepared! If you are prepared you will feel that you’re going to nail it! Think of the time when you didn’t study for a test and you went into the classroom flustered and unsure of yourself versus the time you studied 20 hours and you knew your stuff inside and out! That’s confidence and that’s feeling the part. Once you feel it, you ARE it, and no one can stop you. That confidence comes from within when there’s substance and you have taken the time to prepare yourself to add value. Prepare for the job interview by studying the company, its offerings, and the Linked In profile of everyone you will meet. For the big client meeting know all of the latest news and the positive and negative press so you avoid putting your foot in your mouth and for that big date figure out who you know in common and a little about what he/she likes to do in their spare time.
“Luck is What Happens when Preparation Meets Opportunity.” So guess what if you feel lucky you will be lucky. Personal branding is a state of mind.