Every year, like lots of PR professionals, I take part in logging CPD activities as an annual cycle. Sometimes it can be a bit daunting, looking through a massive list of different activities some of which are very stretching.
Amongst my choices this year, was a webinar entitled: 'Professional You' by Dannie-Lu Carr, a Leadership, Communications and creativity specialist. I found out that she has written a book on Brilliant Assertiveness, which I will be adding to my wish list on Amazon, sharpish.
I wasn't sure at the outset what we would be looking at, but Dannie-Lu opted for lots of self-reflection - I always feel a bit awkward with that at - even when I am alone in my home office - but I persevered.
Firstly, we look at values and how we tend to form stronger bonds with those who adopt similar values to ourselves. Also setting boundaries for ourselves and being aware of them - then really coming clean with other people about where those boundaries are and how we can work best with them.
Not very English, is it?
However, Dannie-Lu reveals that the most successful people are very comfortable with their boundaries and make sure they let others know where they are. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Like a set of guidelines for working well with somebody, it saves time and probably a lot of worrying.
Building your own Brand
Writing down and then reading out loud the strengths that we know we have, looking at a list of strengths that other people say we demonstrate, also feels a bit odd at first, but does definitely build confidence. A very simple exercise that will pay dividends.
Now here is the one I have saved for last - knowing that it is a bit close for comfort. It is Formality. Not just formality of behaviour - which can be hard to maintain in everyday situations, but also formal dress and the way we present ourselves. It can be a cover for professionalism.
Too much formality can be something that might make you - or others - uncomfortable, get in the way of reflecting your true self, and also stand in the way of fostering the kind of trust and authenticity that you need in order to communicate effectively with colleagues, customers, stakeholders and senior staff.
Thought provoking stuff, I am sure you will agree.