How do you make a personal impact? Stand out, speak up and make a difference

How do you make a personal impact? A good first impression and personal impact supports the development of strong business relationships. There are a number of things you can do to make an impact around four topics – how you appear, what drives you, what you say (and how) and what you do. You need to stand out, speak up and make a real difference.

Appearance – How are you perceived?

Look the part – People judge books by their covers. If you want to make the right impression then you have to look the part. Dress for success with smart and professional clothes, shoes and grooming. Mirror the team although psychologists advise you to dress one level up. Be bold and confident. Adopt a style that marks you as an individual.

Feel the part – Attitude is important. Believe in yourself and feel confident. Be positive – a radiator rather than a drain. Find solutions rather than problems. Be enthusiastic – it’s contagious. Take control of your emotions (or learn how to develop your emotional intelligence . Love your work. Get qualifications or training if it will help you feel more confident. Convey confidence in the way you stand, sit, speak and gesture. Act half a level up

Be yourself – While you might need to adapt your behaviour so that you integrate, always remain true to yourself. Have integrity – know and live your values. Know what you want to be known for. Be sincere and authentic.

Drive – What motivates you?

Have a purpose – People with a sense of purpose are driven, focused, committed and alight with enthusiasm. Know what is important to you, what motivates you and what you want to achieve. Dedicate yourself to a higher purpose. Look to the future – Don’t accept the status quo. Be curious about issues, explore problems and find out the causes. If you are still grappling with the meaning of life, at least adopt goals for what you are doing today.

Set goals – Set long term goals and allow them to guide your thoughts and actions on all occasions. Be aware of your limiting assumptions  Align your goals with those around you. Keep your focus. Motivate yourself by checking progress towards meetings your goals. Celebrate even small successes.

Strive to be better – Commit to lifelong learning. Be curious about the world and keen to learn new things. Strive to become a better person – for yourself and for those around you. Seek feedback to understand how others see you and how you can improve. Regard failure as feedback and try again. Challenge your assumptions, pre-conceptions, biases and prejudices and seek out different ways to see things. Stretch yourself.

Communication – What do you say and how do you say it?

Engage openly and honestly – Engage enthusiastically, openly and authentically with people. Make an emotional connection. Be polite, friendly and respectful.  Find the value in everyone you meet. Develop your communication skills. Be congruent – recognise that how you say things is as important as what you say. Consider your non-verbal communication. Steer clear of negative talk. Speak up in meetings and share your ideas. Be visible.

See things from others’ perspectives – Show an interest in other people’s opinions and views. Get out there and use networking to broaden your contacts, knowledge and perspectives. Be curious and show interest in others. Dale Carnegie said “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”. Find ways to be of service to others rather than focusing solely on your own needs. Ask people for help.

Use power and influence wisely Be trustworthy which means being reliable (doing what you say you’ll do) and consistent Give feedback sensitively and constructively. Be assertive rather than aggressive. Those with most power often have less influence than those without power. The PIA model suggests that power comes from three sources:

    1. Presence – Physical/Attraction and relating well to others in the present
    2. Authority – Past knowledge and track record
    3. Impact – Ability to create change in the future

Action – What do you do?

Share knowledge and success – Giver’s Gain (some call it reciprocity or karma) works so find ways to help other people. Knowledge is power – share yours. It’s lonely at the top so encourage, support and lift up those around you. Don’t just be a bright star that others follow – take them on the journey. Be part of the team and achieve success together. But don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in.

Take the lead – Don’t wait to be asked – volunteer, accept responsibility and be accountable. Put your name to things. Be proactive and anticipate what might happen. Gather evidence to support your ideas. Build on others’ ideas and be inclusive. Go the extra mile. Rise above difficulties. Develop plans. Earn the right to lead. Step up, take charge and do more than expected.

Create change – Work hard. Produce good quality work. Develop a reputation for getting things done. Focus on the journey, not just the destination. Make sure you fully understand the way things are (and why) before you try to change them. Ultimately, your impact is measured by what you achieve. Check regularly that you are moving towards your purpose or goals and that you are generating the desired outcomes.

There are other blogs on making an impact:

There’s a Professional Marketing Forum course on impact, assertiveness and effectiveness.

In my new book I present a model for better business relationships – DACRIE© which stands for:

  • Difference and diversity – understand yourself and those around you
  • Adaptation and learning – be prepared to adapt and learn
  • Communication – come across well face-to-face, on the telephone, in writing and digitally
  • Relationships – create rapport and trust and deal with conflict
  • Internal relationships – integrate into the workplace culture and teams and coach, motivate and lead people
  • External relationships – understand customer service and how to sell yourself and your ideas