Wednesday, 5 October 2011

When words have to matter

So you’ve taken the advice in my last Fatbuzz blog, got your personal brand crystal clear and now you’re using all the internet has to offer to spread the word about how fantastic you are. Congratulations...give yourself a Tufty Badge.

Now it’s time to turn your attention to what you’re saying online, because when you’re relying on the written word to get your brand across (as opposed to doing it in person or on video) it’s worth understanding what you’re up against.

Way back in the 1970s when I was but a child (I know, I know - I don’t look old enough) the psychologist Albert Mehrabian discovered that, when people give us messages, we take only 7% of our information from the words they speak. Instead, it’s their tone of voice (38%) and body language (55%) that give us the lion’s share of what we need to know.

If that’s true, and 93% of your impact disappears when you’re online and you’re there in mind but not body, it’s even more important to make your words count. So here are 5 quick tips:

  • Reflect your tone of voice in your writing so you re-introduce 38% of the impact of your communication – don’t be too stiff and starchy. 
  • A good rule of thumb is to use the same conversational language you’d use if you were talking to the person face-to-face, tempering it slightly for the channel ie LinkedIn is more ‘office chat’ compared to Facebook’s ‘down the pub chat’.
  • The quickest way to building a positive personal brand is to use positive language. Beware of words like ‘can’t’, ‘don’t’, ‘won’t’, and instead concentrate on using ‘can’, ‘do’ and ‘will’.
  • Personal brand is all about building relationships, so don’t forget to be inclusive – it’s not all you, you, you, so ask how others are doing too. This is especially good on Twitter where you’re likely to get responses from your followers that turn into a conversation. 
  • Remember that irony is especially prone to misinterpretation so if you’re using it consider adding emoticons to clarify your message. There is such as thing as too many emoticons though (no, I’m not being ironic) so don’t overdo it.

Do that and you’ll prove Mr Mehrabian wrong and have people taking more from your messages than a measly 7%!

About Me
You may remember I presented at the Glasgow and Edinburgh New Media Breakfasts earlier this year on the subject of personal branding. It's a pleasure to be guest blogging on the fatBuzz Blog, hopefully I can bring you some useful information in the future. Meantime, you can read more from me on my own Spark Branding blog here.

Alternatively you can contact me via Linked-In or Twitter at the links below or via Fiona MacDonald

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