Clients often express a concern that their image in the marketplace is very different to that which they perceive of themselves, or how they would like to be perceived. A brilliant person is sometimes ignored or unappreciated because they themselves have not conveyed the correct image to the public. One thing we can all agree on - those that are recognized and promoted in business are most often the best communicators of their own image.
How does one communicate a realistic image so that others see us, as we would like them to see us?
According the Center of Creative Leadership
, leaders who communicate a strong vision are seen as having superior leadership skills, which in turn reflects on how dynamic they are, how visionary they are, how competent they are in strategic planning and how they inspire commitment.
How is a strong image projected? Some people view image as superficial and unimportant and therefore spend little time in this area. A strong image is projected visually through our appearance, body language and behavior. It is also influenced by how we speak, how we write and our vocal tone and pitch, not to mention our moral intelligence, character and integrity.
So how do we manage our image more effectively, reflecting our education, experience, networking and goal setting? It is not about choosing a false image but rather recognizing genuine aspects of yourself that we want to come across to others.
There are four main steps involved.
§ Get a clear idea of the picture that others have of you now. It isn't easy to see ourselves the way others see us. But a clear-eyed look at the image others have is an essential starting point.
§ Decide what you would like that image to be.
§ Project your authentic image. Many leaders work hard to get to the point where their authentic image looks easy. Even Winston Churchill worked hard to project his image. The story is told of one of his valets overhearing him talking while in the bath and he was concerned. The valet knocked and said, "Sir, to whom are you speaking? Is everything all right?" To which Churchill replied, "I am addressing the House of Commons!"
§ Reflect on and review your image on a regular basis to ensure that your image is authentic and is adding value to those with whom you interact. Your image affects the performance of those around you, especially those you lead. If you come across as productive, optimistic and fair, those characteristics will be seen as important among those people you lead.