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Think before you speak

Think before you speak

As a woman in construction, I understand that my appearance and actions – down to the tone of my voice – are often scrutinized. I am not sure that men ever think about these things when walking into a room or meeting.  Often, we don’t realize that every day we are building our “brand” which I learned means how people identify us. It’s these everyday actions that help people form their impressions of us.  Women seem to be more in tuned with what people think of us, whether good or bad, and women seem to care the most about this opinion (even if they say they don’t).

Yesterday, BWiC had the privilege to host Liz Brunner. A long time accomplished journalist and news anchor for Channel 5. Liz presented how to be our personal best. Not only through self-awareness, but also learning to look outside our comfort zone to understand what drive and motivates us. How can the current skills we possess lead into a potential future job opportunity? And within those skills, how are we presenting ourselves through physical and verbal communication?  What’s your personal brand? One of the take away’s I learned was that my verbal communication is awful. I up talk, use filler words such as “like” and “um” and I constantly interrupt people.  A large part of this industry is verbal communication whether it’s in a presentation, meeting, phone or a conversation with a colleague. You could look the part, but if you can’t speak the part your entire image can be skewed.

My mother always taught me to think before I speak.  In my professional career, that has taken on many levels and morphed into many different things (mostly taken on more of a modern meaning with the introduction of emails and texts).  Now I need to start thinking while I speak.  Hopefully with all this thinking I can still get my point across without saying too many filler words, interrupting people or forgetting what I was going to say to begin with (can you still call it “baby brain” if your kid is 6?).

Overall, all you can do is strive to be your personal best while remaining your authentic self. Some days that authentic self may be a great verbal communicator and poorly dressed. Some days, the opposite.  Creating your personal brand isn’t done overnight, but remembering that every day is like a building block to your brand makes it feel a little more manageable.

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