Personal branding – You and your words.
By Dr. Strive Masiyiwa
Just by chance a few days ago I found a YouTube video of the Academy Award-winning American actor Denzel Washington speaking to a graduating class at an American university. The power of his words reminded me of my New Year’s message several months ago when I talked about the importance of your words. I’ll share the link with you, as I think those of you who know of this great star may really be surprised.
In the course of the current series on the importance of sales and marketing, some of you have asked about personal branding. I won’t go into great detail on this today, but I want to say that your words are not just your “bond” as the saying goes, but your words are your brand… not just your business brand but what announces to the world, each and every day, your character and integrity. Every time you open your mouth, or put something in writing, keep this in mind.
I’ve shared this story with some of you before: Several years ago, long before Internet and Amazon, I was in London going from shop to shop looking for a bible translation called The Living Bible. I’d just heard a sermon about the meaning of Matthew 12:35: “A good man’s speech reveals the rich treasures within him. An evil-hearted man is filled with venom, and his speech reveals it.”
The main message of that sermon (which I wrote down in my notes) offers an important lesson in personal branding, although of course that wasn’t the pastor’s intent:
“…The most important part of your life is actually the ability to use words. Words define your life; words define your values. Words define your personality. You are no better than your words; you are no greater than your words,” the pastor said.
“The character of your words is the character of your personality: Watch your words. No man ever got better than his or her words. Your life is the expression, the manifestation, the reflection, of your words. It does not take long to know who you are. All you have to do is talk for a few minutes; this is because your words locate you, they tell you where you are at…”
Since I posted my reflection on words last December, I’ve written about many subjects and shared three series with you – The Eagle in the Storm; Turning Your Business into a Technology Company; and now The Importance of Being Able to Sell to a Customer…
None of this teaching though will be sown in fertile soil if you do not guard your words, which as the Apostle Matthew said, “reveal the rich treasures within you.” The words you speak and the ones you don’t speak… Your silence can also speak volumes.
Be a person of your word and know its power. There’s a saying about a tongue which I read somewhere: “The tongue has no bones, but is strong enough to break a heart. So be careful with your words.”
Your words are your brand. How you express yourself matters greatly. We’ll discuss more about personal branding and related matters later on, but nothing is more important than the integrity of your words, and the way you express them.
To be continued. . .
Image credit: Andrew McConnell.