White Hair Looks Cool

I worked for just over a decade in Washington, DC at the national headquarters of AARP where I developed an awareness about employment challenges for older workers (people age 40 and beyond) that I share here today with you. AARP switched their marketing focus to appeal to people born from 1946 through 1964, which was a departure from the initial AARP target audience of people born during or before the Second World War. This marketing change was so AARP could remain relevant at least from 2011 through 2029, the span of years that the baby boom generation hits age 65.

Whether AARP is the best organization to benefit you as an older worker (versus a retired person) is not the focus of my commentary here today. But, it is true that AARP consistently has tried to socialize how people today can try to cope with workplace age discrimination.

The marketing phrase that stands out for me is this one: “Age is just a number and life is what you make it.” Various versions of that sentiment found their way into AARP marketing over many years since the mid-1990s. There is some logical truth in that phrase, of course. However, in the real world, how many birthdays you’ve reached has much more significance than being “just a number” for you.

Experiencing age discrimination in the workplace (either while attempting to get hired, or, on the job, itself) in the United States happens to be what’s “normal” for most people. Some career paths, of course, are exceptions to this cultural norm. But, most of us have already learned painful lessons from our experiences with workplace age discrimination.

I work as a professional life coach and business improvement coach. On the personal coaching side, I mentor people who are older workers to reinvent and restart as the preferred way to fight back against workplace age discrimination. The methods I use are proprietary, but I can describe here how this works.

white hair looks cool

Very few people are born with a built-in skill to use their mind always for their own good and prosperity. So, I teach people that skill to augment what’s already in their set of skills. What happens after my coaching, consulting and mentoring is a person becomes confidently skilled at using their mind in proven ways that lead to their own good and prosperity. There is no magic or medications and nothing to take. Anyone with a mind that works can attain this newly-acquired skill.

Older workers know that age discrimination is reality. No marketing campaigns from any organization can diminish this. Age discrimination will not go away for you in the workplace if you attempt to “appear younger” by coloring your hair. White hair looks cool. I am a man who knows a few things about hair.

You can fight back against such workplace discrimination by learning how you can use your mind to succeed personally and professionally and leave your competitors behind.

Reinventing and restarting yourself at any age is neither simple nor painless. But, not reinventing or restarting yourself may lead to you remaining stuck in life. Don’t let that happen.

Your Career Choice Can Ruin You Financially

Mama’s don’t let your babies grow up to be DJs or journalism majors. Your kids will soon after choosing to be in radio or television or journalism become dead broke and they will come begging for you as parents to let them move back in with you. Stop them before they make a terrible career mistake!

You probably have at least heard of Kiplinger, a publisher located in Washington, DC that provides business forecasts and personal finance advice. Perhaps you’ve read their content online. It is worth noting that this company has survived since 1920. I think Kiplinger deserves your trust and confidence when it comes to forecasting financial issues for you, personally, and for business entities in general.

I just read a 2017 Kiplinger analysis entitled “10 Worst Jobs for the Future.”

Kiplinger is warning young people at the start of their career to steer clear of the radio and television industries. This comes as number 5 of 12 such warnings worth knowing about.

A projected decline of 10% (ten percent) in available jobs up through the year 2026 is forecast. The median annual salary of $32,283 is cited for radio and television announcers in the Kiplinger analysis.

A far worse fate than suffering through the indignities of that very low salary level you can expect is this Kiplinger explanation as to why you should steer clear of such careers in the first place:

“More radio disc jockeys, talk show hosts and podcasters are under threat of being silenced. Consolidation of radio and television stations, as well as the increased use of syndicated programming, limit the need for these kinds of workers. Plus, streaming music services offer fierce competition to radio stations and their workers. On the upside, online radio stations may provide new opportunities for announcers. If you’re committed to this career track, consider addressing even smaller audiences and becoming a party DJ or emcee. These other types of announcers make up a small field of just 17,326 workers currently, but are expected to grow their ranks 6.0% by 2026. They typically earn slightly less with a median $32,177 a year, but only require a high school diploma to get started.”

Why I’m writing this commentary needs to be explained clearly to you right now: I chose to seek a career on the air in radio back in the year 1970 when I was not yet old enough legally to buy alcohol. More of less four years later I was let go from that amazingly thrilling gig in the Los Angeles radio market, which the second-largest in the United States. I just was not sufficiently talented for an on-air career in the radio industry in Los Angeles. That stunning E-Ticket ride in Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard was fast, unpredictable, and, entirely too short.

After I was not talented enough to keep a radio job in the Los Angeles market, I tried to work (part time) in the dead-end markets in both Eureka, California and Bloomington, Indiana. Working in both of those markets proved to be exceedingly depressing compared to working in the Los Angeles market.

My dear friend Evan Haning wrote in 2011 for the Foreword to my book KHJ, Los Angeles: Boss Radio Forever that the profession has disappeared. That was 6 years ago.

Evan Haning always was a man ahead of his time. And, Evan Haning is the ONLY person I knew personally who made it on the air in radio over the long stretch. Compared to me only being on the air in Hollywood at some rock and roll station for a very short while, Evan Haning, who started on the air in the dreaded San Luis Obispo, California radio market, made it from a success in the Los Angeles radio to the crucial Washington, DC radio market and he did so within the cut-throat all-news radio business there. He is one of the few living radio heroes I have.

Pay careful attention to my commentary here: It makes sense for you NOT to go after a profession that is already gone from our culture. I urge you NOT to pursue a career in the radio or television industries. I believe what Kiplinger is saying. So, should you.

You may want to go get a bachelor’s degree like I did in Journalism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. But, do not for one minute believe that being on the air at KCPR radio at Cal Poly actually will prepare you to make a living in a career on the air elsewhere. Read about my own KCPR radio at Cal Poly experiences as a possible guide to what may happen to you if you go that route.

Remember that ANY bachelor’s degree anywhere will do the basic minimum—train you to learn how to use your mind effectively. Just do not expect a financial payback for all the dollars that you or your parents invest in your undergraduate education if you choose a major such as journalism that is declining in job prospects. You will need more than merely a bachelor’s degree. You will need a top-notch graduate degree or two from highly-reputable universities that are expensive and not at all easy to get into.

Ironically, now in the wake of President Donald Trump’s claims about so-called “fake news,” which is a false claim that does not stand up to the test of reason, skilled and talented journalists are needed perhaps more than ever before. But, the reality is this: Skills can be taught during an undergraduate or graduate degree program, yes. Getting a bachelor’s degree in journalism won’t give you talent that you don’t already have within you. And seeking a career on the air on radio or television may just ruin you financially even if you go the extra distance to get graduate degrees. You don’t want to beg mommy and daddy to let you move back in with them after you are 30. Mommy will do your laundry. Daddy will curse you under his breath while he gets loaded on adult beverages at the dinner table. And, while your rent will be free, you will end up not being able to look yourself in the mirror for the rest of your life.

These are my opinions. Your mileage may vary.

Getting Back to the Neon Fun Desert

As October 2013 came to an end, so did my Las Vegas life. Or so I thought. Now, as June 2015 comes to an end, I’m getting to go back to live in the neon fun desert.

This feels right. This feels like what is “supposed to happen.” So, I am going with it. I am leaving my home state of California to live and work in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Yes, the weather can be impossibly hot. Yes, there also are other factors about living in the Mojave Desert that are challenging. But, for me, returning to Las Vegas feels like a fulfillment of certain song lyrics: “get back to where you once belonged.

las_vegas_patch_of_blue_in_the_sky

I know now that one must look into the sometimes stormy skies to find a patch of blue. A proper mental attitude can carry you through. You just need to discover how to stay in control of your mind and not let others encroach upon you or your thoughts and beliefs.

My partner of 19 years, Sam Glass and I will once again be locals in Las Vegas.
We know what to expect because we lived there very recently and see what’s what.

I’m pleased to be continuing my digital marketing and advertising work of 2 years for an international company headquartered in New York City that understands how to encourage excellence through flexibility in employee work locations. This is not futuristic. This is reality right now.

San Francisco

SFO  

 
One hundred eight years ago, a terrible natural disaster descended upon San Francisco. The April 16, 1906 earthquake and resulting fire devastated the City and Bay Area. But, this is a resilient place that learned how to stand out from all other places in North America. I am working here now in San Francisco on the 17th floor of a building that stands on landfill and no, I am not afraid.

If you follow my posts here bearing the stand out tag, you already know that I relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada from the Washington, DC area during the dead of summer 2012. What was I thinking?

I asked myself that question as I melted under the unnatural feeling of daytime highs hitting one hundred eighteen degrees. Yeah, sure, the summers are damn hot in Las Vegas. But, everyone knows that.

I had to leave the Washington, DC area to move on with my life. There were many things I loved while living in Las Vegas for over a year. I just had to accept that my job meant relocating to San Francisco. And, what do you know? Although the weather is never hot in San Francisco compared to Las Vegas, in real life a person cannot pick a place to live and work based on the local weather.

Being someone who wants to stand out in life, I jumped at the career opportunity to work in San Francisco and left Las Vegas in the rearview mirror. Well, that’s a metaphor because actually I flew on United Airlines.

The most important lesson I have learned in my life is to seek change, explore new ventures, and don’t regret what you leave behind. Now I am in San Francisco, which is arguably the most beautiful city in North America. There is so much to love here.

This also is a very happening place where the economy is so good that people here choose to pay more than most other Americans for just about everything. Did you know that for $4 you can get toast in San Francisco? Bread and butter toast. Like for breakfast. Not some trendy alcoholic beverage!

Oh yeah, and then there’s that rather annoying legacy of earthquakes. Can’t do anything about that any more than I could change the terrible weather in Las Vegas in summertime.

So, to stand out, I urge you to go where you need to go when you need to move on in your life. No matter what. If you don’t want to stand out, stay where you are. That’s my advice based on my life’s lessons. I hope you will explore my other commentaries on this subject here that are tagged with stand out.

Go Buzz Power

GO-BUZZ-POWER-COVER_resizedFor everyone who wants to go out into the real world and harness buzz power: My eBook is available for 2014 in an updated edition. Revised and expanded with new content. This eBook covers the successful use of strategies and tactics in the digital realm that create public excitement about a person, place, or thing.

Birthday Commentary

A few months ago I updated my commentary entitled “Should I Stay or Should I Go” — a title from that song from the 1980s by the English punk rock group The Clash. Here is update on the occasion of my birthday, June 29, about how to stand out.

It is good to reflect upon your life at least once a year. Doing so on your birthday makes good sense in my humble opinion.

As I reflect on this day, I realize how far I have come in my life. Literally and figuratively. I relocated from Phoenix, Arizona in 1995 to take a Washington, DC executive speechwriting career job. I am one of those people who loves living in the Desert Southwest, but the career employment opportunity in DC had to become my main priority.

Relocating from the desert to DC was one of those famous Life Changing Experiences, to say the least. I believe that there is very little that DC shares in common with life in the western deserts of the United States. For me, living in the desert developed a deep and enduring bond between myself and the physical environment. The simplest way to explain this is to say that I created a spiritual connection with the earth while living in the desert.

After the Great Recession hit in 2007, although I could continue to make a living in the DC market, I started feeling as though my life path needed to take me back to the Desert Southwest. My answer to the “Should I Stay or Should I Go” question was to stay in DC. During August 2012, however, I answered “Should I Go” with a clear “yes!” and I chose to relocate to Las Vegas, Nevada.

At this point in time, I have lived in Las Vegas almost one full year. This week in Las Vegas, we are experiencing record high temperatures. When the hot winds hit your face, you learn to take it or you will keep wondering why anyone would choose to live here in the Mojave Desert.

Las Vegas is internationally famous for being a place where you can escape for fun and relaxation. That is as true today as it has been since 1906 when the railroad came to Las Vegas and enabled casinos and hotels to exist here as viable businesses.

But, living in Las Vegas permanently as a local is a whole different experience compared to visiting Las Vegas for just a few days of fun and relaxation as a visitor. From experience, I would suggest that if you choose to relocate to Las Vegas as I did, choose also like I did to relocate here during any month when the temperatures are at their highest. Why? If you relocate to Las Vegas when the weather is cool, doing so will create a very false sense of reality for you regarding how punishing the physical environment can be here in the Mojave Desert. When you experience a high temperature of 120, you will know rather quickly if you are going to be able to survive living here.

Life as a local in Las Vegas has many advantages that cannot be matched or exceeded anywhere else in the United States. Among these advantages are a highly favorable tax environment, a clear and consistent welcoming and encouragement by municipal and state governments towards entrepreneurs, low-cost entertainment of the highest quality, low-cost dining out opportunities of the highest quality, and, overall genuine friendliness of the locals. Vacationing here and attending conventions here is a terrific experience, too.

Infamously, many people move to Las Vegas and then leave within about 30 days. The reasons for their exodus are numerous and personal. You can find part of an answer why many never make it past 30 days here if you consider some of the disadvantages (excluding the famous daily 90+ temperatures during many months of every year) of life as a local in Las Vegas.

Other than the threat of heat-related physical injuries, there can be flash flooding caused by rare thunderstorms. I experienced two successive flash flooding incidents during 2012 and 2013. On the plus side, there are not likely going to be tornadoes or hurricanes here, however, like elsewhere in the United States. Nor are you going to suffer under several feet of snow.

Throughout the Las Vegas Valley there persists the old-fashioned 1960s emphasis upon single passenger vehicles. This unavoidable reality directly results in routine traffic congestion and extraordinarily inconvenient and frustrating parking. Alternatives to this outmoded single passenger vehicle way of transportation are beginning to establish a foothold here in Las Vegas. Pun intended.

Some locals you may encounter in the Las Vegas Valley choose to play by their own rules of public behavior that exist outside the typical bounds of polite society. I cannot go into detail about this without sharing anecdotes that easily would earn an “R” rating.

At the same time, this is a welcoming place. I quickly became involved on the board of directors of the Las Vegas chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). I am a serious advocate for everyone who is in the communications fields to join your local IABC chapter and get as actively involved as you possibly can. IABC is a fantastic networking opportunity for communications people. Everyone I have met within IABC Las Vegas have been genuine and welcoming towards me.

In conclusion, only you can answer your own “Should I Stay or Should I Go” question. If you are like me, you may discover after weighing all the factors that choosing to stay where you are is not the best for your career. But, know that choosing to go is very difficult. You should expect emotional and financial challenges.

But, if you are like me, you may discover that augmenting your personal brand requires you to move your life and your career to some other place than where you are right now. I’m convinced that one’s personal brand may need such a reboot or restart from time to time. I urge you to face this kind of life change bravely and with determination all the while knowing that there will be experiences in this journey that are not fun. I’m confident that you, like me, will emerge at the new location a stronger person than you were before your move.

Create Your Own Reality

Throughout Western culture in literature, song, movies and other artifacts there is a common meaning to be found: Each person has the capability of creating their own reality. Tapping into this ancient wisdom can save your life and reinvent who you are.

A very recent echoing of this wisdom came from Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO at GE. Read his simple, yet profound message to a graduating class of college students to see what I mean.

Immelt’s core message is powerful and merits requoting here: “We can’t wait for the economy to stabilize. We can’t wait for a time when there is more certainty. It used to be that you only had to manage momentum. Today, you have to create your own future.”

I’m not sure how I came to be someone who embraces that kind of viewpoint about life. I just do embrace it. Wholeheartedly.

I have been reinventing who I am for many years. Long before I ever heard of the word reinvention, I was doing it in my own life.

That is partly why I write commentaries here on this website. My goal is to share with you what I have discovered to be true. I hope your life can benefit from the lessons I have learned.

Fake versus Real

American society in 2013 seems to have difficulties separating what is fake from what is real. Just look at the number of those so-called reality shows on television and you will know exactly what I mean. How any one us can hope to stand out from others is deeply affected by this American cultural context.

Since my youth I’ve heard the phrase, “fake it ’til you make it.” To me, the phrase always seemed to be sarcastic and more than just a little shallow. I used to wonder why anyone would want to be fake given the choice to be real. Then I became an adult.

My favorite quote of all time springs from my own lifelong search to tell the difference between fake people and real people. Julius Henry Marx lived from 1890 to 1977 and is best remembered by his nickname, Groucho. He was an American writer and comic with a profound ability to turn deeply intellectual thoughts into everyday language and make people laugh in the process. My favorite quote of all time comes from him: The secret to life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.

The ability to find humor in the struggle to separate what is fake from what is real is crucial to your being successful in shaping your own personal brand so that you stand out in positive ways from others. I firmly believe this.

I recommend that this weekend you should rent a movie called O Lucky Man to explore the humor in how people work so hard to stand out. This film stars Malcom McDowell, a talented actor whose face and voice you will recognize instantly because he has appeared in so many films over the years. McDowell was just 30 when he starred in O Lucky Man as a struggling young man trying to stand out from others and become successful in a professional career. This film is a comedy whose main purpose is to make you laugh so that the filmmakers can sneak in persuasive messages in the story to compel you to think about the differences between fake people and real people.

At this point in my life, I have somehow managed to live and work in Hollywood, Washington, DC, and Las Vegas. Being in these three famous American cities severely confuses anyone who hopes to tell the difference between fake people and real people. If you spend any time in any of these places, you will come to understand this simple truth: Hollywood and Las Vegas encourage make-believe for purposes of show business. Washington, DC encourages make-believe for purposes of political power.

Each of us must arrive at our own answers as to whether we are being dishonest if we ever fake it to stand out from others. There probably are moral considerations here, but I dare not tell you what you should consider to be moral. You must find your own way. You would be wise, however, to keep in mind that what is fake versus real often is in the eye of the beholder like truth and beauty.

Achieving Courage and Competence

Even if we do not live and work in Boston, we all were impacted this past week by life-changing events that happened there. Many lessons can be learned from what happened to help us stand out from everyone else.

Because I lived and worked in the Boston media market years ago, I will always feel a deep connection to Boston and to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Like many other Americans, this week I was horrified to watch the media coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and the subsequent hunt for the men who chose to kill and injure innocents on Patriot’s Day.

It is easy to think that there are no lessons to be learned from what happened this past week in Boston in the context of trying to stand out in your professional life and with your personal brand. If you think that, you are wrong.

Readers of my online column on Ned Lundquist’s Job of the Week website know by now that to stand out is to choose to be unique in positive ways while deliberately working smart towards separating yourself in meaningful ways from your professional competitors.

I saw a commentary on CBS News about two traits that were vividly demonstrated in Boston this past week in response to the Boston Marathon bombings. I want to share that commentary with you because of my humble opinion that the two traits mentioned on CBS News can be applied to any one of us who wants to stand out from our professional competitors.

The two traits and competence and courage. I agree with the commentator that these traits are rare today. But, to have competence and courage is a choice. There’s still time in your life to achieve both of these crucial traits if you expect to stand out. Achieving these traits won’t happen by accident. You must be deliberate. You must choose to have these traits actively and with forethought.

Enough context setting; now I encourage you to follow this link to the CBS News commentary to learn more.

Empowered

If you want to stand out, you need to become empowered. It’s really that simple.

I am vice president of electronic communications on the board at the Las Vegas chapter of IABC. My Las Vegas presentation “How Powerful People Use Digital and Online Channels” was postponed, but wait! Here’s a very cool online version that you will definitely want to check out.

It is never too late to start on your way to relevance. You, too, can become one of those powerful people who know how to use digital and online channels.

I am offering a special discount to help empower you by building your online presence for you and training you how to use this new power effectively. You will definitely want to take advantage of this special discount before it’s too late.

Your Own Place in the Future

Recently I posted here telling you of my enthusiasm and excitement for Amazon Kindle eBooks. I want to continue on this topic because I sincerely believe you can stand out with your own eBook that can enable you to claim your own place in the future.

While I’m convinced we will always have books made of paper, the future belongs to the eBook format. I’m also a true believer in the fact that you can claim your own place in that future.

If you get past the b.s. about how everyone can get rich quickly with an eBook, the reality is pretty exciting nonetheless. The financial viability of Amazon is well-known. You can also believe the buzz about eBooks and the device named Kindle. To ignore Amazon and Kindle and eBooks right now is to miss out of an emerging and revolutionary communications channel. This is no exaggeration.

I invite anyone who wants to learn about how to stand out with your own eBook on Amazon to contact me at woodygoulart@gmail.com today.

I look forward to hearing from you today!

  #1: personal brand first how to
  #2: personal brand verbal communication
  #3: writing well personal brand
  #4: character and personal brand
  #5: personal brand uniqueness
  #6: job seekers best practices online
  #7: more best practices online job seekers
  #8: personal brand your unique outcomes
  #9: personal brand the journey
#10: should I stay or should I go?
#11: networking in Las Vegas
#12: surviving a career transition
#13: scoffing dinosaur
#14: managing your online reputation
#15: choosing who you are
#16: so you think you can retire
#17: your own place in the future

Google Yourself

What do you think will happen when you Google yourself? See my latest commentary on Ned Lundquist's Job of the Week website to find out!

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Managing Your Online Reputation
Do you know what happens when you Google yourself? What information shows up the Google search results? You must never allow Google search results control your reputation. You need to be taking action…

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My latest blog post about career searches in the 21st century…

My latest blog post about career searches in the 21st century…

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Scoffing Dinosaur
When you live in the 21st century, you need to embrace and use the tools of the 21st century or you will become as relevant as dinosaurs. If you scoff at this, you are choosing to be a scoffing dinosa…

Google+: View post on Google+

Your Personal Brand — Verbal Communication

The second element in creating or fixing your own personal brand concerns how you communicate–both verbally and in writing (online, in print, and anywhere else where you use text.)

In this post I will start with a discussion of verbal communication:

After I had gained the experience of teaching university-level public speaking classes for many years, I arrived at a surprising realization. Some people just are born with an innate skill at communicating well verbally. The same is probably true about Olympic athletes and great actors. You are born to be good at one thing or another.

So, while some are born to be great verbal communicators, others suffer through public speaking 101 in college and yet emerge nonetheless as mediocre speakers. I don’t mean to depress you here, but I want you to know what’s going on the real world.

However, the positive spin on this is you can become better at communicating verbally, no matter what your starting skill level might be.

The key to becoming better at verbal communication is to model how you communicate based on someone else’s success. Simply put, look around you in the world out there and find someone that you can respect for his or her verbal communication skills. This works best if you can identify someone that is still alive today (not someone you’ve only been able to see on film or videotape) and who also is recognized by others as having high verbal communication skills.

Great Orators versus Great Communicators

Some people believe that we can look to those who get elected to the office of President of the United States to find excellence in communication. But, on behalf of all who have taught public speaking, I’m telling you that just became you can get elected to the White House does not mean you are excellent in communication. A president may excel at oratory, but be otherwise lousy at verbal communication.

There are some presidents who generally make it to the standard list of excellent communicators in the verbal sense. Let’s limit ourselves to considering presidents who have served in office only during the time since live network television coverage of the presidency became possible. So, in that context, you should focus upon American presidents who stand out as excellent in verbal communication as differentiated from presidential oratory that comes from prepared remarks and usually using manuscripts. I can identify four presidents who fit this profile: John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and, Barack Obama.

To focus on people who are still alive today, if your choices are presidents who are excellent communicators, your choices are narrowed down to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

However, you need not look to partisan politics to find models of excellent communicators. You certainly will be able to find people alive today who are excellent verbal communicators who happen to be from an organized religion, a corporation, a university, and so forth. You just need to take the time to look around.

Telling a Good Story

Once you identify the person whom you think can model excellent verbal communication for you to emulate, you begin by listening carefully to how he or she communicates verbally across a variety of different settings. Try to identify what factors are most apparent to you.

For example, if the person tells a good story, that certainly is something to note. Another example of what to look for would be to see how the person puts feelings into their words and whether they consistently reveal emotions across various public speaking settings as compared to speaking only in a factual, logical manner.

This brings us back once again to the subject of emotional intelligence. I believe that a person cannot be effective in verbal communication without first attaining some degree of emotional intelligence.

While it is not true that all verbal communication is merely telling a good story, I believe wholeheartedly that if you can tell a good story, you can become a better verbal communicator.

Why is telling a good story so important? Every human being is born into a world where telling a good story is part of what it means to be a person. Even though we live in the 21st century, we can still look around within our country and see living examples of cultures that began centuries ago based solely on a verbal culture and specifically without the benefit of written communication. Of course, I’m referring to the people and culture such as the Navajo.

At the heart of excelling at verbal communication, therefore, is the ability to tell a good story through your choice of words. Anybody can improve his or her ability to tell a good story. Even though I’m certain that one is born with the facility to tell a good story, you can certainly learn how to improve your storytelling skills from reading books as well as from formal classroom or online learning settings.

Personal vs. Public

Excellence in verbal communication starts on a personal, one-to-one, level. If you can become good at that level, you are off to a great start. However, the acid test for one’s personal brand, especially in terms of getting a new job or succeeding in a job once you start working, is how well do you communicate verbally with groups of people.

Many people feel that standing up to speak in front of others can be a big challenge. We’ve all heard of “stage fright” — the fear of being up in front of others (like on a stage) to share one’s thoughts, feelings, information, and so forth. People also can feel that speaking in front of a group can feel very threatening on a deeply personal level because of the opportunity for rejection.

The phrase to describe this is performance anxiety. Yeah, that sounds pretty awful, doesn’t it?

Okay, the truth is: Forget what it’s called and think instead about how you can prepare yourself to speak in front of others and get past the natural fears you may experience.

Prepare to Succeed

If you prepare yourself, you can begin to get through much of the natural distaste for public speaking. You probably have met some people who LOVE to get involved in public speaking. For those lucky people who do not feel concerns about getting up to speak in front of a group, the world is very different.

But, if you are like most people, then there is a very natural feeling that somehow getting up to speak in front of other is stressful and worthy of being avoided at all costs.

Understanding What is Being Asked of You

The first kind of preparation that you can do is to think about why you are being called upon to get up and speak in front of a group of people. There is always some specific reason. It can be a happy occasion like a wedding reception where you are the one who must say a few words about the couple.

It can be a sad occasion like a memorial service where you are the one who must say a few words about someone who has passed away. But, you need to be clear about the reason why are you going to get up on your feet and speak to a group of people.

Think about who is in the group that will be listening to you. Of course, you do not need to know people in that audience on a personal level.

But, you absolutely must think about that audience in terms of what they have in common with each other and with you. In the wedding reception example, usually what the audience and you have in common is some connection to either person in the wedding couple. The same can be true in the memorial service example–you and the audience may all have a connection to the person who passed.

In some speaking opportunities, you and the audience can be completely aligned in agreement. In the memorial service example, everyone will feel the emotions of the loss of the loved one that has passed.

In other instances, you and the audience can be out of alignment when taking into consideration people’s agreement with you about the circumstances and what you have to say to the group.

Different Needs Call for Different Solutions

For example, if you are a company spokesperson who must deliver bad news to a group of employees or stakeholders, you definitely will find yourself in a far different kind of setting than compared to social situations like weddings or funerals. If you must speak about issues that involve people’s security as an employee, their compensation as an employee, or other work-related matters, your level of difficulty will increase directly in connection to how high the dollars-and-cents stakes are.

But, the preparation process is the same no matter how high or how low the stakes might be: You need to know and understand your audience first before you do anything else in preparing to stand up and speak to a group of people. Failure to know and understand your audience is a quick and certain guarantee that you will fail in the public speaking setting.

Only after you have done your homework and truly know and understand your audience can you prepare to succeed in a public speaking setting. This is a standard truth that has been around for hundreds if not thousands of years on our planet.

You need to put yourself into the mind of the audience. You need to “walk a mile in their shoes” or whatever other phrase you choose. But, in your mind you must think about what your audience wants to hear you say, what your audience would agree with or disagree with, and how you think you can win over your audience with you presence in front of them and the words that you choose for that occasion.

People who get up in front of a group of others to speak without preparing themselves as to knowing and understanding the audience and then thinking about how to win over that audience probably should never open their mouths.

What you say often can be far less important than your preparation about audience and winning them over to your particular point of view.

After you complete those two important steps in preparation, you next need to consider how you will create an emotional bond between yourself and your audience. You need to consider how you will connect emotionally with your audience and what you can say in front of that audience to persuade them to trust and identify with you while you are speaking.

You then need to choose a way of speaking that will fit the occasion or situation. Telling jokes in your remarks at a sad occasion, for instance, would typically be a bad choice of technique for you as a speaker.

Saying things that anger or insult your audience is generally a dumb idea no matter what the situation might be. Talking too long or using confusing or misleading words can also deal a fatal blow to your chances for success in front of an audience.

In The Moment

The final aspect is how your audience relates to you in the moment when you are speaking to them. If you are genuine and accessible and straightforward with the audience while you are speaking, you can increase your chances of feeling good about yourself in the moment. Your chances of success will increase if you feel good about yourself in the moment. If you do nothing else, you must become comfortable enough with yourself so that you can feel good about what you are doing in front of your audience.

Whether your audience will remember any of your words that were spoken in front of them, they nevertheless MUST remember how they FELT ABOUT YOU in the moment if you intend to succeed with that audience.

  #1: personal brand first how to
  #2: personal brand verbal communication
  #3: writing well personal brand
  #4: character and personal brand
  #5: personal brand uniqueness
  #6: job seekers best practices online
  #7: more best practices online job seekers
  #8: personal brand your unique outcomes
  #9: personal brand the journey
#10: should I stay or should I go?
#11: networking in Las Vegas
#12: surviving a career transition
#13: scoffing dinosaur
#14: managing your online reputation
#15: choosing who you are
#16: so you think you can retire
#17: your own place in the future

Your Personal Brand — How-To #1

Let me start by providing five real-world examples of personal brands in the second decade of the 21st century that I believe are highly effective and worth noting for their success. If you are unfamiliar with any of these five people, it will be worth your while to Google them to find examples of how they use their personal brands in the world today.

  • Jeff Bezos
  • Hilary Rodham Clinton
  • Anderson Cooper
  • Stephanie Germanotta (Lady Gaga)

What you are like on the outside (your outward appearance versus your inner self)

I recommend that you should start with the acceptance that you can and should take specific actions to make sure that what you are like on the outside is a deliberate choice on your part. There is no reason at all for anyone to allow what he or she is like on the outside to be left to chance or accident.

Helping yourself to be deliberate specifically involves using a certain amount of psychology. Don’t worry, this is something you can do on your own. You don’t necessarily need prescription drugs or medical specialists.

The psychology works best if you ask yourself some difficult questions to test whether what you look like on the outside is deliberate or accidental:

Are you going out in public today with clothing that you deliberately chose with rips and tears in the fabric?

Did you choose to embed that shiny metal ring through your nostrils?

Are you walking out into the world today having made the deliberate choice not to wash your hair?

Did you choose to allow your breath to smell like you ate rotting meat an hour ago?

There is a point to these absurdly ridiculous questions: Every element about your outward appearance comes down to a choice on your part. And, whether you chose it or not, people are going to perceive that you made the choice.

If you are a celebrity who makes a lot of money selling music internationally and you want to embed a shiny metal ring through your nostrils, then why are you reading this blog post? The same is true for any of you who are so wealthy that you don’t give a damn how dirty your hair may look in the direct sunlight.

But, for everyone else, please pay close attention.

Not To Decide Is To Decide

It is ironic, but true, that not to choose is to choose. If you don’t care that you have unwashed hair, that not caring on your part turns out to become a deliberate choice that ensures you will look sloppy and lazy when you go out in public. Did you accidentally not shower this morning? Another difficult question for you.

Whether we like it or not, our outward appearance is going to be perceived by others out in public as though it were a deliberate choice. So we all need to get used to making smart choices and leave nothing to fate or accidents.

Your personal brand is first going to be noticed by the way you look on the outside. But, there is also much more than merely how you look. Every body gives off scents. The particular scents that your body gives off are also part of how you are perceived by others out in the world who are near you. If you have bad breath, few people (even dentists) will want to come near your face. If your armpits or other parts of your body give off a strong odor, few people will want to come near you.

If you go to a job interview without first getting your outward looks in order, you are asking for trouble. This goes way beyond the standard concept of dressing for success in business by choosing to wear appropriate attire at job interviews. The point is that your outward looks cannot completely be taken care of by wearing appropriate attire. You must pay attention to your appearance beyond your choice in attire: Your personal brand will be enhanced if you have clean hair and skin, no metal objects stuck anywhere on your face, and that fresh, minty taste in your mouth.

Within You and Without Out You

These are not just poetic lyrics from George Harrison. The inner you affects the outer you in many ways. This is unavoidable and completely within your own control. Here, too, is a bit of psychology.

Perhaps it may surprise you to learn that what you are on the inside does not necessarily have to be revealed outwardly to anyone. Many people never learn this. Many people grow up raised to put a premium on personal truthfulness at all times. Don’t be one of those people because personal truthfulness is overrated if you want to succeed with the best possible personal brand.

One important reality of the 21st century is that your reality need not be shared in detail with everyone around you. If someone asks you how you are doing, you should resist the temptation to be truthful and genuine, especially if you are not feeling very happy and focused at the moment. Social media and handheld devices have created a world in which you can instantly share what you had for breakfast as if anyone really needs to know that you enjoyed mouth-watering scrambled eggs topped with jalapeño chili peppers and lemon slices. Some things are just best left inside you.

A useful example may make this clearer. If, on the inside, you feel shy and have apprehension about going out in public to interact with strangers, you should learn how to not reveal that about yourself outwardly in public if you want to be a success in this life. The same holds true for anything else that is inside of you and is not overtly visible outwardly to others. Shyness need not be overtly visible outwardly to others. The same holds true for any of your internal characteristics or traits.

Consider, for example, what may happen if you let people know (verbally or using Twitter or Facebook or whatever) that you have color blindness. At the very least, you will have to suffer inane questions from people such as “What color is my dress?” The best answer to that question is, “The color doesn’t matter. That dress makes you look fat.” You get the idea here.

Be Honest: Know Yourself

The trick is to arrive at a very clear picture in your mind about what your own particular internal characteristics or traits are. Only then can you manage your outward appearance.

Here is one real-life example of the interconnected ways in which your internal characteristics will affect your daily life: If you are shy and have apprehension about going out in public, you should find some way to know that about yourself. This is because a person who does not know that they are shy and have apprehension about going out in public is going to suffer from unhappiness and frustration following a succession of unsatisfactory relationships. If you suffer from unhappiness and frustration, you will not be someone that others will want to be around, and you may end up being a very lonely person.

Here is another example from the real world of the interconnected ways in which your internal characteristics will affect your daily life: If you need to be the center of attention in every interpersonal situation, you should find some way to know that about yourself. This is because a self-centered person like you who does not know that they are self-centered is going to suffer from unhappiness and frustration following a succession of unsatisfactory relationships and being dumped often. If you suffer from unhappiness and frustration, you will not be someone that others want to be around, and you may end up being a very lonely person.

The basic reality of life today in the 21st century is this: Those who know themselves well and who are absolutely honest with themselves about their own internal characteristics or traits will have the best opportunities for success in life.

Emotional Intelligence

Those who are out of touch with who they truly are as a person will have a rough time finding acceptance or success or happiness in life. Your performance in job interviews will also be negative affected. How can you hope to develop your own personal brand if what you develop is based on faulty data?

Therefore, a crucial step in developing your own personal brand is to attain what is known as emotional intelligence. This is sometimes called EQ (for emotional quotient), as compared to IQ (for intelligence quotient.) Simply put, emotional intelligence is a smart awareness of your own and other peoples’ passions along with knowledge of how to control passions. Everyone either has sufficient EQ or not. This is an internal trait that is not necessarily visible out in the world.

So, how does one attain sufficient emotional intelligence? The very annoying answer is this: Some people just are born with this capacity while others will need to make considerable effort to develop it. Others do not care whether they demonstrate this capacity.

But, the truth is developing this EQ capacity is something that you can learn. This capacity is not restricted only to psychiatrists or other medical doctors. You can discover ways to learn this capability, too, even if you have no university degrees at all.

One additional and highly annoying truth is that this capability may not necessarily come to you from book learning. So, did you waste your money on a college education? Some people may be able to develop this capacity from learning lessons in life through interpersonal trial and error.

If you are one of those people who do not care whether you demonstrate sufficient EQ, and, you want to develop your own personal brand, stop reading this right now. Just stop. Go watch reality television instead.

At the core of this whole subject of your internal characteristics is the matter of choice and mental attitude. You can make certain, specific choices about how you present yourself outwardly. But, this will only be possible for you if you first achieve the appropriate mental attitude.

As an example, let’s say that you genuinely feel fearful of new situations in public, and, meeting with people you have never met causes you dread. You must learn to become aware of your specific fears about unfamiliar interpersonal situations and strangers. Once you have become aware of your specific fears in this sense, only then will you be able to construct an appropriate mental attitude to address your specific fears.

You can, for instance, develop the appropriate mental attitude that you are going to go out and meet and interact with people who are strangers and survive those interpersonal situations with dignity and strength and even a few laughs. Unless you first develop that specific mental attitude, you are very likely to suffer emotionally under the strains and pressures of those interpersonal situations in which you are required to meet and interact with people who are strangers.

Reprogramming Your Mind

More psychology for you: How you develop that (or any) appropriate mental attitude is to do what I call “reprogramming” your mind. You may not actually be programming or reprogramming your mind at all. But, let’s agree to call it that for the sake of simplicity.

The point is that you must convince yourself in your own brain that you truly believe something is true before you can behave out in the world with any credible authority.

Even a person who may have developed deep fears of meeting and interacting with strangers can create in their own brain the appropriate mental attitude that will enable them to succeed in what otherwise would be impossibly difficult interpersonal situations.

Is this known as “acting”? Oh, yes it is!

One of the most compelling statements about the power of developing an appropriate mental attitude comes from the great American philosopher, Julius Henry Marx (1890 – 1977): “The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

He was better known as the comedian named “Groucho” starting in the early 20th century, but he was wise and full of insights for the present day.

I also want to share with you an obscure bit of song lyrics. Alan Price, who was born in England in 1942, wrote and sang a song in a movie called O Lucky Man in which his lyrics align with this same mental attitude concept: “Someone’s got to win in the human race. If it isn’t you, then it has to be me. So, smile while you’re making it, laugh while you’re taking it, even if you’re faking it; nobody’s gonna know.”

If you want a persuasive, yet also highly entertaining, lesson about discovering who you are and then developing ways to succeed in this life, rent O Lucky Man. It is a 1973 British film that will occupy only 183 minutes of your life, but you will never forget how it makes you feel.

Your own success in this life is dependent upon the ways in which you use your mind. You cannot accidentally be successful over the course of your life. You must deliberately choose to use your mind to enable success in your life or you should not be surprised when the outcomes do not make you happy.

The Mental Equivalent

Two crucial elements for you if you want to make wise choices about what you are like on the outside are: First, attain a sufficient emotional intelligence. Then, create a clear and specific mental equivalent of what you want the reality outside your mind to be.

You can express your mental equivalent of what you want the reality outside your mind to be by affirming what’s in your mind repeatedly until “it sinks in,” so to speak. One simple and inexpensive tactic to implement this affirmation strategy is to record your own voice saying particular affirmation statements and then play back your affirmations on a portable audio playback device using headphones.

Affirmations must be in the first person, the present (not future) tense, have an active verb, and state something very specific and clear. Here is an example:

“I am drawing positive energy from meeting and interacting with new people every day.”

The reason why you must use “I” and the present tense is to be able to hear you, yourself, telling your brain that the reality you want is available to you right now.

You should record several affirmations and play them back into your own ears privately every day at least once a day. The total running time for your recording should be under 10 or 15 minutes.

Repeated, consistent playback of affirmations into your own ears privately will help you truly believe what your own voice is telling you is true.

I did this exact thing with affirmations, so I vouch for the validity of using affirmations. After I endured a painful separation and divorce in the 1990s, I used affirmations to “reprogram” my mind to reorient myself to an improved life that would specifically replace the life that I was living at the time.

Not only did I end the sadness and loneliness that I was feeling, I also discovered new directions for my life and earning a living. My use of affirmations played back into my own ears privately some 20 years ago.

Even though that was two decades in the past, I can still feel the power of my own voice telling my brain that the reality I wanted was available to me immediately. This is powerful stuff, so be careful how you choose your affirmations and the wording that you use.

As I have proved to myself, the reality is that using your own mind, you can take charge of your life. You can reorient yourself and your life if you only will choose to do so. You can make changes to how your life goes. You can make changes to what you are like on the outside and choose not to reveal to anyone what you are like on the inside.

All of this adds up to the first step of taking control over what you are like on the outside (your outward appearance versus your inner self) so that you can create or fix your personal brand.

It All Starts in Your Mind

How you use your mind affects everything in your life. How you use your mind also directly impacts many people in your life.

“You cannot be healthy; you cannot be happy; you cannot be prosperous; if you have a bad disposition.”

Emmet Fox (1886-1951)

Your mental and emotional traits are vital to your survival in life. How well you communicate and whether you can be a leader versus a follower also are directly tied to how you use your mind.

I am one of many who believes that how you use your mind can be changed if you make the decision to change how you use your mind. How you use your mind is not a permanent condition that you were born with. You can choose to change how you use your mind at any age no matter where you live in this world.

This blog post is not devoted to how you can choose to change the way you use your mind. If you search online, you can find that very valuable knowledge elsewhere. But, I will tell you this much now: You can and should maintain deliberate control over the attitude that you show to people, the vibe that you create everyday, and the outlook that you have for yourself, your life and the lives of those around you. If you do not accept the truth that you can control how you use your mind, all of the help that I provide here about personal branding will be of no value to you.

How you view other people and how you judge other people are two elements of how you choose to use your mind. If you only believe, trust or value people who believe exactly as you do, then you are choosing not to use your mind correctly.

Believing, trusting or valuing only people who believe exactly as you do is a very clear sign that you have chosen not to use you mind very well. One sign that you are a person who chooses to use your mind well is if you really and honestly can “see the world through other people’s eyes” or “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” or other similar phrases in the English language.

The ability to know, understand, and feel what other people know, understand, and feel is an ability that comes to people who choose how to use their minds well. Such people are the one who become leaders compared to the rest who are only followers. You cannot accidentally get that job you’re seeking. You cannot accidentally become a success in leadership. You cannot accidentally communicate effectively over the course of your life. These specific successes are available only to people who choose how to use their minds effectively. You can become one of those people if you want to do so.

  #1: personal brand first how to
  #2: personal brand verbal communication
  #3: writing well personal brand
  #4: character and personal brand
  #5: personal brand uniqueness
  #6: job seekers best practices online
  #7: more best practices online job seekers
  #8: personal brand your unique outcomes
  #9: personal brand the journey
#10: should I stay or should I go?
#11: networking in Las Vegas
#12: surviving a career transition
#13: scoffing dinosaur
#14: managing your online reputation
#15: choosing who you are
#16: so you think you can retire
#17: your own place in the future