By Stephanie Brewer

Actions speak louder than words, meaning that the things we do can make a stronger impression on other people than anything we might say. In fact, studies show that most people form an impression of another person within the first seven seconds of meeting!

Think about companies like Nike and Coca-Cola. Companies like these have worked very hard to create a reputation about who they are and what they do. When we see the Nike “swoosh” or the cheerful red and white Coke logo, most people think of hard working athletes and friends having fun while they share a soda. No words are necessary for Nike and Coke to send a message to shoppers.

Your Personal Brand

Much like a company establishes a brand that represents their company values and products, each of us creates a personal brand through our appearance and behavior. How we appear to others sends a message about who we are and what we value. How we dress, behave and interact with other people all combine to establish our personal brand.

What kind of ‘personal brand’ do you want to develop? Think about the things that are most important to you. Are you communicating those things to people around you through your appearance and behavior? Perception is essentially what we think about something, or someone we see. The perception other people have about us is shaped by how we appear and act—at least in the beginning.

Choose Your Message

Our external appearance sends a message to those around us. And, if the research is correct, people form those opinions about others very quickly! Often these opinions may be subconscious, meaning people don’t really even know they’re making such judgments. That first impression is often hard to change, even overtime.

There are some specific actions you can take to be more purposeful about the unspoken messages you send. While you should always be true to your unique self, your values, spirit and strengths, being thoughtful about your outward appearance and how you interact with others is important for making connections, communicating your real value and establishing your personal brand. This is especially true in the workplace.

Below is a list of questions you can ask to help review your personal brand and be sure you’re sending the message you want to send.

Does my appearance and behavior align with

  • The things, people and values that are important to me?
  • The job I want to have in one to five years?
  • The appearance and behavior of people who are already successful doing the things I want to do?

Does my appearance and behavior help others to

  • Connect with me easily?
  • See my strengths and abilities clearly?
  • Consider me for new opportunities?
  • Think of me as trustworthy, reliable and easy to be around?

Review your social media sites to think about the messages you’re sending when you post content. Talk with people who have a positive reputation and are viewed as valuable to understand how they make choices about personal brand.

Take time to think about the messages that you’re sending to others as you make choices about what you wear, how you speak and act with others. Actions and appearance speak louder, and faster, than words. Be sure that yours are ‘saying’ the things you want to say!