A long time ago while visiting Japan, I noticed the use of cellphones on the streets, but not so much in the subways. It was a time when cellphone use was increasing in the U.S. but not to the point of complete distraction as it is today with zombies walking the streets texting, or people in restaurants having separate conversations on their cellphones, ignoring their dinner partners.
My cousin who was living in Japan at the time said that the Japanese realized if they spoke on the phone in the subway, they would cause their fellow passengers to be rude by forcing them to overhear their conversations. This concept which I found refreshing and thoughtful made me marvel at the basic wisdom of the Japanese.
These days, a salesperson in a fashionable furniture store can hardly welcome a new customer without being given a hand up because the person is involved in some deep conversation while searching for their new bedroom set.
Where is it getting us all this attention to gadgets and personal electronic devices? It gives us truncated conversations and less than real open honest communication. It leads to frustration, misgivings, distrust and misunderstandings. No one is allowed to finish a thought; they have to cram it in between your next text or phone call.
What does it mean for your personal brand? First of all, no one is paying attention. They are completely self-absorbed in whatever text is coming next. That means you have more clutter to cut through if you want to put your message forward. Second, what about you? Are you paying attention, focusing on what is being said during that job interview? Are you concentrating on what you need to convey as your brand message?
In order for a brand to be understood, accepted, or even sought after, it has to represent something. You can hardly do that if your attention is scattered, your thoughts disorganized, your goals undefined. Pinpointing exactly what you bring to the job, the project, even the world requires calibrating your message for your audience while ensuring it reflects what you really have to offer.
Once you have this part resolved, you then have to communicate it in a way that can be absorbed by your audience. It makes sense to utilize their specialized language to convey your abilities. A general ‘problem solver’ phrase may not be as distinctive as explaining how you were able to take a complex collections issue and by performing an aging analysis, generate a report to highlight the customers who had delinquency issues requiring closer monitoring.
Doing that part well demands you to be present to yourself, your attributes, and your skills. It takes some internal searching on your part to know what you have to offer that distinguishes you from the other candidates. You can do that by being aware of the field you compete in, and exactly what it takes to be successful in that arena. This is the most important information you can provide when you are looking to make your mark amidst the daily cacophony of phones, texts, emails. It’s the core of your personal brand.