Posts tagged personal branding
Have you ever thought of speaking at a conference? Some valuable tips even if you don’t think you ever will or want to.

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Have you ever spoken at a conference? An un-conference or maybe a barcamp? Next time you get a chance to speak up, do so!

Of course speaking at conferences can seem scary at first; I used to get very nervous and still get wet hands at the beginning of every session that I run.

Just as with most things, feeling comfortable when speaking publicly comes with practice. It is somewhat necessary to put yourself through the experience of wet hands, sweat stains and whatever side effects you get when nervous. At least that's what I tell myself every time I step up to speak in front of people.

A few weeks ago I attended the #IndieCon2014 in New York and it came to a point when they asked the group if anyone would like to run a session. I spontaneously decided to nominate myself.

By speaking up, you let people know what you’re good at and why they should hire you. After I had finished speaking many people gave me their business cards to follow up and we have since started a dialogue about how we can work together.

Although it was a spontaneous decision to speak at this un-conference, I came to realise that I was already prepared for an occasion like this. Before I quit my job, I was looking for new approaches to professional branding and decided to draft a few presentations about my techniques and views. I created a couple of presentations on community buildingcustomer careaccount managementemail marketing and some other topics and uploaded them to SlideShare, wanting to make more out of my LinkedIn profile. (Did you know you could implement SlideShare presentations on LinkedIn to make your page more visual?)

When you speak at conferences, or at least share your slides online, you give people the possibility to approach you without needing to do any hard sale. Speaking to a group of people interested in my work feels much less scary than cold-calling or emailing strangers and asking them if they will hire me to work on their projects.

So, yes, if you get a chance to speak at a conference, you should take it. If you don’t plan to speak anytime soon, you should at least have some presentations ready and publicly accessible on SlideShare. It will help you be spontaneous and it might also attract potential employers and head hunters who are on the lookout for good people.

Please comment below and share a link to your presentations as soon as you publish them. I’m very excited to learn something new.

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How to write a compelling 'About Me'

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Last week, I received an urgent request to write an 'About me' text. At first, I wrote about my client's services and described him in the third person. My client wasn't very impressed. He sent me some examples that he liked, which he had found on his competitors websites and asked me whether I had any experience in his professional field. We had never met in person, he didn't know how it was to work with me (he found me on Instagram) and I could clearly sense he had doubts. I admitted to him that I didn't have any experience in his field of work or with his competitors but I believed to understand his target group. 

I realised that all the texts he sent me were texts about the people themselves. These texts were exactly what you would expect an 'About me' copy to be.

But did it make sense to write just another copy like this? If I were a potential customer and had to choose between him or one of his competitors, who would I go for?

That's when I realised that in times when everyone screams 'me, me, me' the only way to distinguish oneself from the masses is by flipping the coin and saying 'you'.

If you want to get heard, don't talk about 'who you are', instead say 'this is what I can do for you.' It's so simple, yet so crucial.

Everyone is busy going through endless amounts of content. Not only have we learned to ignore the advertising that shouts at us from every corner of the internet, we have also learned to scan for copy that solves our problems. We read copy that talks to us, not at us.

I tried to explain to my client why a different approach to writing his 'About me' made more sense. I pointed out that if he wanted me to get the job done as quickly as possible I would just write what he wanted me to write. Of course I could do this, but I preferred explaining to him why I believed his approach should be different.. I made him take on the client's perspective and I then gave him this example:

If you buy a TV from a sales man, would you be interested whether he could buy organic food for his family because of your purchase, or would you want the best TV possible?

The second draft of the copy was done and edited within an hour. The cards, the copy was for, are now printed. The client is happy and wants to continue working with me.

What does this lead me to?

If you want to get heard, increase your sales or establish yourself within an audience, don't tell your readers who you are, tell them what you can do for them. Show them what problems you can solve for them. High chance is that they'll hear your voice much louder.

Is there a question you'd like me to answer? How can I help you with your digital positioning or your customer experience? Please comment below. 


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