Advocate for yourself. You’re worth it.

If everyone could afford to have their own public relations and branding company working for them, imagine how much fun you could have with this? Since this is not realistic for the majority of people, the next best or potentially the best person to develop your image and brand is you. Yes, you, although you may be initially challenged with how to do this, it is possible to do.

Whether you want to develop your own brand is something you have to decide to do, but essentially everyone should be doing this. Why? Because if you have a LinkedIn account or are active on any social media platforms, you are already in the process of developing your brand. However, are you giving your brand the kind of attention it deserves, and is the type of effort you are putting in worth it? It should be, otherwise why would you bother to invest your time in the process?

As we all know, no two people are exactly the same, and everyone has their own talents and different types of experiences which add value to who they are personally and professionally. Some people may have taken a more prescriptive approach to charting out their paths, and others may have taken a less formal approach to developing their personal or professional journeys. Either approach is fine, and what makes the difference in terms of your satisfaction with either path is how you go about advocating for yourself along the way.

I have written about the importance of developing your own value proposition,  and this is the foundation you will build upon to advocate for yourself in just about any scenario. It is possible to have two value propositions, and one would be for your personal life, and the other your professional one. However, it is fine to have one which is a blend of the two, especially since some people do not separate their personal and professional lives. For those that have a strict delineation between the two, then crafting two value propositions will make sense.

As a refresher, think of your value proposition as your “elevator pitch” to tell and promote yourself to others. Give some thought about how you are coming across to your audience from both a verbal and strategic perspective. Are you coming across in a way which elicits a response of “so what”, or a response which has the recipient asking more questions about you? The latter is obviously preferred, so here are some tips on how you can craft the elevator pitch to do the best possible job of advocating for yourself.

  • Write down (3-5) things you enjoy doing professionally, and are good at.
  • Come up with 2-3 examples of what makes you exceptional at the things you enjoy doing personally or professionally.
  • Ask your friends and trusted colleagues to tell you what they perceive are your best skills personally or professionally.
  • Write down and practice giving your “advocate/elevator pitch”. Yes, really do this and refine it as you are crafting and stating it to others.
  • If you are not being asked questions after reciting your advocate pitch, go back and re-craft it and try it again. It may take 2-3 iterations to get this right, and it will likely need to be modified over time as you add more skills to yourself advocacy list.

Still not convinced you need to advocate for yourself? Think again, as how do you think the people who you hear about or admire professionally or personally got to where they are today? Yes, this is a rhetorical question, but it boils down to being a strong advocate for themselves. The bottom line is you are worth it, so get out there and start advocating for yourself. I’ll be looking for you to do so.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon, and has had numerous strong reviews.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally.

If you want better results with what you are doing, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

Niche – What’s yours and how are you using it?

By Kathleen E.R. Murphy

There is a saying that no two grains of sands are the same, and the same concept can be applied to people too. Although many people might have a great deal in common with one another, when you begin to take a closer look into who they are, you quickly will see how they are different from others. It is the differences which help to define who they are as a person, and if you had to articulate what their niche is. A niche is different from your value proposition, and should be easier for you to define. I’ll help you to think about this by providing a story about how this concept can work for you.

Yesterday I had a very fortunate opportunity to do something I have wanted to do for many years, and it was to go snorkeling in the Great Barrier reef off of Cairns, Australia. When I was researching which reef tours to go on, I thought the best way to narrow down my search would be to choose one based on a referral. Since I naturally enjoy asking questions, I started asking people I encountered if they had recently been on a reef tour, and whether they would recommend the one they went on. Most of the people I spoke to had gone out on the large 100 foot reef trips which take 100-300 people on them. In my mind this did not seem very appealing and was too commercial for my liking. Fortuneately the last person I asked the “reef question” to, had been on a reef tour the day before. When they started describing the experience they had and used the word “quirky” more than a few times, I thought this was definitely something I wanted to experience, and I did the next day.

The reef experience started out early in the morning by arriving at the dock and seeing what appeared to be an old fashioned sailing vessel. It looked nothing like any of the other reef tour boats which were mostly 50-100+ foot fast moving catamaran hull boats. The captain and crew were also not who you might point out from a group of people who you would think would be your typical crew mates, but they were beyond amazing at what they each did. Because it was a small crew, they each had special skills which were on full display during our experience with them (e.g., scuba instructors, two of them knew how to sail the boat, all of them knew how to manage the boat sails and rigging, each had an amazing personality and only two of them were from Australia – the captain grew up in Miami, one crew member was from France, one was from Tazmania and the other one was from all over, with the last place she lived being Fiji). Since the boat was around 55 feet in length, the amount of guests on board could not exceed 20 people, which was a perfect amount of crew to guest ratio.

When I asked Captain Doug what was to me a rhetorical question about what his niche was, his response was not what I expected. He said that in all the years he has been taking guests out on reef tours, only a few guests have ever taken photos of the large reef tour boats cruising by, while our sailing vessel was being continuoulsly having its photo taken. This is because our boat is the only fully functional and operating former pearl farming boat which is also well over 100 years old, and looks amazing due to the care taken of it. So, the answer Captain Doug gave me was that this is the only boat of its kind which takes people on reef tours and is what clearly defines it as its niche. Being the only Great Barrier Reef tour sailing vessel is also what offers them a competitive advantage when people are looking for a unique reef trip experience.

As I mentioned earlier, everyone and every company has a niche. Some are more obvious than others, and if you have not defined what your personal or company niche is, you can do so by answering and responding to these three inquires.

  1. Make a list of things you believe make you or your company unique, then narrow this list down to 2-3 items.
  2. Ask other people to describe what makes you different from others, either from a business or personal perspective. Extract the aspects of what they have conveyed to you which are repeated by others, and this will help you to establish defining your niche.
  3. Think about the work you are doing. Now think about how your skills or abilities are different from your colleagues, and why someone might ask you to help them with something versus asking someone else. Or, think about the type of work you are doing, and how you might approach getting the work done differently from others, and perhaps get better results than others.

Describing your niche does not have to be paragraphs long in length, but it should allow you to be in a defensible position so that others cannot readily claim your niche as theirs. There may be subtle differences of your niche from others, but one or two words can make a tremendous difference in helping you to define what your personal or your company niche is.

This blog is dedicated to Captain Dan and his crew of the #Falla in Cairns, Australia who is the perfect example of having defined his personal and business niche. fallareeftrips.com.au

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me Too. Market Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

Dress for Success, not the “club”.

By Kathleen E.R. Murphy

Yes, it may be a cliche that you should dress for success, or for the job you want to have, but I see on a daily basis that some people clearly never received this “memo”. Instead I see many people who show up at work looking like they are heading immediately to either the gym, back to bed, or perhaps a night club. With companies adopting a more “relaxed” dress code, people have taken it upon themselves to sometimes go beyond the line of what is actually an acceptable style of clothes to wear to work. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about being comfortable with what I am wearing during work hours, but I also keep in mind I do not ever want to feel uncomfortable because the clothes I chose to wear are potentially too casual. 

I am not exaggerating when I tell you I have actually seen people come to work in what were literally their “sleeping clothes”, and I have also seen many people leaving the gym in the morning looking like they are working at a night club, but I’m almost positive they do not. So, if your company has a written work attire policy, my advice is to consider taking it up a notch in terms of what their dress code standards are. Why? Because as I mentioned earlier, it is far better to be perceived as being overdressed, and thought of as someone who knows how to dress at a level above the current role they may be in. Most people are visually oriented, so when they see someone who is dressed casually, they are assuming you might not have the credibility in your role based on the way you look. I understand this is a presumptive interpretation, but I have witnessed for years  how people are treated based on the way they are dressing in the office. 

Choosing the “right” professional clothing applies to both sexes, and to those who do not choose to identify with one sex or the other. An example I can share with you about how the perception people have of you based on your clothing can be best illustrated by a trade show my company was participating at. There were multiple people in our booth from our company, and all ages and both females and males were represented. Everyone in the booth except me was wearing a company shirt and jeans. Due to the fact I was meeting with the press and other business people, I chose to wear more “business oriented” clothing. When I was standing in the booth with my colleagues, people stopping by our booth automatically assumed I was the CEO of the company, and this absolutely had to do with what I was wearing. At the time, I was not actually the CEO, but the perception people had based on my clothes was that I was the head person at the company. 

After being witness to so many people seemingly not knowing what is appropriate “casual” office attire, I thought I would provide you with some quick tips to avoid making the mistake of dressing too casually.

  1. If you would wear the clothes to bed, then don’t wear them in the office.
  2. If you would wear the clothes to the gym, save them for your gym workouts. 
  3. There may in fact be clothes which can nicely transition to being worn at a night club, but if you have even the slightest hesitation about whether to wear the clothes you have selected, don’t wear them.
  4. You have a great sense of humor, or collect t-shirts which are representative of your political, cultural or religious viewpoints, but wear these on the weekend, and not to the office. 
  5. You love wearing form fitting clothing, but some of it rides the line of making others uncomfortable when you wear these type of clothes. This applies to both men and women, and ladies, let’s keep the showy cleavage tops at home. It makes both men and women uncomfortable when you expose too much cleavage, especially in a professional office setting. 

If you have not been graced with having good style sense, or are still perplexed by your office dress code when your office has one, ask one of your friends to help you out who you perceive to dress well. They will be flattered you asked them to help you. Additionally, you will also increase your chances of having others viewing you via a more positive professional perception when you “up-your-game”, and dress well in the office. Certainly it can be subjective in terms of what “dressing well” means, but doing so will surprise you from time to time with the positive comments others will make when they notice you are doing so. Give this a try, and let me know what happens. 

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me Too. Market Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

Articulating Your Value Proposition. Yes, You Have One.

By Kathleen E. Murphy

No matter who you are, what industry you work in, or if you are starting out in your career, or have worked in your respective line of work for more than twenty years, everyone should be able to articulate their Value Proposition. Another common term associated with this is called “Elevator Pitch”. Both can be utilized personally or professionally, and in the interest of this blog, I am focusing on the development of your personal Value Proposition, and why you should create one.

The first reason you should create one is to be able to verbally showcase your talents when anyone asks, so “What do you do?” Even if they are not entirely interested in hearing what you have to say, or are simply asking to be polite, you never know if what you are conveying to the person you are speaking with might be giving you an opportunity personally or professionally you never imagined. For example, let’s say you are at your friend’s graduation party and are speaking with another guest. The two of you have at least one person in common; the graduate, and the person you are speaking with happens to be at a “hot” start-up who is hiring 100 people this year. After hearing your “Value Proposition”, the other guest asks if you are interested in learning more about the company they are working at, as your background sounded perfectly aligned to several of the open positions they are trying to fill. This type of interaction happens all of the time, but too often, people are not prepared to take advantage of the opportunity because they have not created their Value Proposition to share with others.

The second reason to create your personal Value Proposition is to be able to readily converse with others on a general conversation topic relating to how you spend your time and energy. Granted you might not be doing exactly your dream job right now, but perhaps you are working towards developing the skills to go after your ideal career role? Your personal Value Proposition would revolve around describing this, and the people you meet might in fact be able to help you get one step closer to your ideal dream job or the company you desire to work at. People in general like to help other people, especially when they come across as being open to assistance, and the desire to meet and network with others who can potentially help them pursue the new direction they working towards going.

The final reason to craft your personal Value Proposition is to share with others your own story and journey related to where you are personally or professionally. One of my blog articles titled “Are You Curious Enough?”,  poses this question. By nature, most people are curious, but some are more than others, and even if the person you are speaking with is only mildly curious, they will still be interested in hearing your Value Proposition. Think of your Value Proposition also as a way to establish a personal connection with the person you are conversing with, and by all means, make sure you ask them to tell you about their personal Value Proposition, but you do not have to refer to it using these works. As a matter of fact, I do not recommend it. Instead, simply ask them how they spend their time and energy, or what keeps their interest and attention during the day. You might be pleasantly surprised by what they tell you.

Since you now know why you should have your own Value Proposition, here is a link to a document, I found which will provide you with the structure needed to get started on developing and crafting your Value Proposition. I promise you this document will navigate you easily via the process of crafting your Value Proposition, and offer details which will result in the development of your personal Value Proposition. After you have crafted your Value Proposition, I would love to read it, so please share it with me at kathymurphy@me.com . I’ll be happy to reciprocate.

This blog is dedicated to anyone who has already developed their personal Value Proposition, and also to those who are inspired to create their own Value Proposition after reading this article.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.