Client Story: Rebranding Yourself Inside a Company

Working with one of our clients recently, we discovered how much help some women executives need in branding, or even rebranding, themselves inside the company. She is a senior-level marketing manager at a Fortune 500 company. She is an accomplished executive, but not an extrovert, particularly, nor a natural performer.

It all started a year ago when her performance at a national sales meeting was flat and her boss asked her to improve. We started with her behavior in small internal meetings and discovered she was looking at her phone instead of paying attention! So we addressed that as we learned more about her insecurities and habits.

Then we discovered that one of her peers was a bit of a bully inside these meetings, and she wasn’t always in command of her part because of it. We worked with her to give her better body language and vocal skills to fend off his interruptions. It worked, but changing someone’s way of presenting and holding court is a process.

We kept working with her to solidify the shift. Our next steps involved an all-day marketing event inside the company that she led. We coached her on content, voice, movement, and appearance. She reported to us that she still got nervous in the beginning and went too fast. But there was progress.

Next, we are working with her on a national sales meeting presentation. She’s understandably nervous because of her shortcomings the previous year, but, after rewriting the PowerPoint to make it more conversational and easier to remember, she is getting to know the material. I have her rehearsing lines just like you would for a play. Practice may not make perfect, but the more you practice, the more confident you feel.

We are committed to her success and will even be at the tech rehearsal the night before to ensure that she’s bringing her best self to the meeting.

Voice & presentation coach Marilyn Pittman & executive producer Marianne Wilman were the Business Presence coaches at this training.

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Working with one of our clients recently, we discovered how much help some women executives need in branding, or even rebranding, themselves inside the company. She is a senior-level marketing manager at a Fortune 500 company. She is an accomplished executive, but not an extrovert, particularly, nor a natural performer.

It all started a year ago when her performance at a national sales meeting was flat and her boss asked her to improve. We started with her behavior in small internal meetings and discovered she was looking at her phone instead of paying attention! So we addressed that as we learned more about her insecurities and habits.

Then we discovered that one of her peers was a bit of a bully inside these meetings, and she wasn’t always in command of her part because of it. We worked with her to give her better body language and vocal skills to fend off his interruptions. It worked, but changing someone’s way of presenting and holding court is a process.

We kept working with her to solidify the shift. Our next steps involved an all-day marketing event inside the company that she led. We coached her on content, voice, movement, and appearance. She reported to us that she still got nervous in the beginning and went too fast. But there was progress.

Next, we are working with her on a national sales meeting presentation. She’s understandably nervous because of her shortcomings the previous year, but, after rewriting the PowerPoint to make it more conversational and easier to remember, she is getting to know the material. I have her rehearsing lines just like you would for a play. Practice may not make perfect, but the more you practice, the more confident you feel.

We are committed to her success and will even be at the tech rehearsal the night before to ensure that she’s bringing her best self to the meeting.

Voice & presentation coach Marilyn Pittman & executive producer Marianne Wilman were the Business Presence coaches at this training.

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What’s the Right Image of You?

When you hire a photographer to take a picture of you for your website or your social media profile it’s easy to imagine that you’ll show up looking your best and the photographer will do the rest. That’s one approach, and you may get the result you’re looking for, especially if you’ve chosen a photographer for a specific shooting style.

On the other hand, if you’re going to be working with a photographer who has come recommended but you know little about, figure out what you really like for a self portrait so that you can communicate your preferences in advance.

Take a look at photographs of other people on their company websites or on LinkedIn and consider the following:

  • Do you prefer images that are shot within a professional environment or those taken in nature?
  • Do you respond to naturalistic photographs or do posed images do more for you?
  • Do you like images with blown out or abstract backgrounds, or do sharper backdrops appeal more?
  • Do standing or sitting poses speak to you?

It’s possible to pick and chose. You may be a company owner who prefers a standing, posed image taken on a beach with a soft background. Or you may be an executive who relates to professional looking images taken under studio lights with abstract backgrounds.

Take a look around and observe what you’re drawn to. This will inform the conversation you’ll have with your photographer about the location for the shoot. “People are more particular about what they like and don’t like than they want to believe,” says Screen Presence photographer Stefanie Atkinson.

Screen Presence photographer Stefanie Atkinson provided the content for this post

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When you hire a photographer to take a picture of you for your website or your social media profile it’s easy to imagine that you’ll show up looking your best and the photographer will do the rest. That’s one approach, and you may get the result you’re looking for, especially if you’ve chosen a photographer for a specific shooting style.

On the other hand, if you’re going to be working with a photographer who has come recommended but you know little about, figure out what you really like for a self portrait so that you can communicate your preferences in advance.

Take a look at photographs of other people on their company websites or on LinkedIn and consider the following:

  • Do you prefer images that are shot within a professional environment or those taken in nature?
  • Do you respond to naturalistic photographs or do posed images do more for you?
  • Do you like images with blown out or abstract backgrounds, or do sharper backdrops appeal more?
  • Do standing or sitting poses speak to you?

It’s possible to pick and chose. You may be a company owner who prefers a standing, posed image taken on a beach with a soft background. Or you may be an executive who relates to professional looking images taken under studio lights with abstract backgrounds.

Take a look around and observe what you’re drawn to. This will inform the conversation you’ll have with your photographer about the location for the shoot. “People are more particular about what they like and don’t like than they want to believe,” says Screen Presence photographer Stefanie Atkinson.

Screen Presence photographer Stefanie Atkinson provided the content for this post

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What does your profile pic say about you?

If a professional photographer is responsible for the images of you used on your social media profiles, that was probably a smart move. You’re also in a tiny minority. Most people find a photo taken of them by a friend, family member, or even a smartphone “selfie” shot that they don’t absolutely hate, and use that image.  Others might go for something arty or mysterious, but it may not be eliciting the intended response.

Here are some tips for improving your social media profile images:

  • Don’t use the same image for all your social media profiles.  As we know, the intended purpose for LinkedIn is different than Facebook or Twitter, and your image should reflect this fact.  For example, your LinkedIn photo should look professional. Does it?
  • Review your pic and ask yourself what it says about you. Your image will dictate how people are going to perceive you. If you’re not sure what the image projects, ask a friend for feedback.
  • Change your profile image regularly. If you haven’t changed your profile pic since you first signed up for a service, now might be a good time. Actively updating your images keeps you interesting. On LinkedIn it will also trigger a post saying, “Kate has a new photo” – so it might be worth doing just for the incoming compliments!

Most profile pics could do with some image editing help, such as brightening, cropping and color correcting.  Rules of thumb include being able to see your eyes and avoiding the bobblehead look by including at least your shoulders. So, if you’re not ready for a new image you might start by re-working the one you already have.

Screen Presence photographer Stefanie Atkinson provided the information for this post.

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If a professional photographer is responsible for the images of you used on your social media profiles, that was probably a smart move. You’re also in a tiny minority. Most people find a photo taken of them by a friend, family member, or even a smartphone “selfie” shot that they don’t absolutely hate, and use that image.  Others might go for something arty or mysterious, but it may not be eliciting the intended response.

Here are some tips for improving your social media profile images:

  • Don’t use the same image for all your social media profiles.  As we know, the intended purpose for LinkedIn is different than Facebook or Twitter, and your image should reflect this fact.  For example, your LinkedIn photo should look professional. Does it?
  • Review your pic and ask yourself what it says about you. Your image will dictate how people are going to perceive you. If you’re not sure what the image projects, ask a friend for feedback.
  • Change your profile image regularly. If you haven’t changed your profile pic since you first signed up for a service, now might be a good time. Actively updating your images keeps you interesting. On LinkedIn it will also trigger a post saying, “Kate has a new photo” – so it might be worth doing just for the incoming compliments!

Most profile pics could do with some image editing help, such as brightening, cropping and color correcting.  Rules of thumb include being able to see your eyes and avoiding the bobblehead look by including at least your shoulders. So, if you’re not ready for a new image you might start by re-working the one you already have.

Screen Presence photographer Stefanie Atkinson provided the information for this post.

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Dreading Your Headshot Photo Shoot? Don’t!

As a talented executive, entrepreneur, business owner or a rising star with your organization it’s probable that you’re not also a supermodel, in which case having a professional headshot taken may be something you’ve been avoiding.  But there are many times when both formal and informal headshots can come in handy, so avoid it no longer.

Here are some tips for being your best self during your photo shoot:

  • If something about your appearance makes you uncomfortable, be upfront with the photographer.  They may be able to minimize the feature by using a different angle or by adjusting the lighting.  It’s also possible that a trouble spot could be touched up in post production.
  • If you’re a bag of nerves or you’re dreading the photo shoot, use breathing techniques to slow your heart rate down and re-center yourself.
  • More than anything a successful photo shoot is about a creating a connection of trust.  Let the photographer know a little about yourself, what the image will be used for and how you want to be seen. This will serve as a guide for the photographer and help you maintain a good head space during the experience.

It’s not often that all the attention is on the way you look, but a good photo shoot can portray more than what is on the surface.  By staying calm, doing your part to create a comfortable environment and keeping your focus on a positive outcome you’re most likely to provide the photographer with opportunities to show you in your best light.

Screen Presence photographer Stefanie Atkinson provided the information for this post.

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As a talented executive, entrepreneur, business owner or a rising star with your organization it’s probable that you’re not also a supermodel, in which case having a professional headshot taken may be something you’ve been avoiding.  But there are many times when both formal and informal headshots can come in handy, so avoid it no longer.

Here are some tips for being your best self during your photo shoot:

  • If something about your appearance makes you uncomfortable, be upfront with the photographer.  They may be able to minimize the feature by using a different angle or by adjusting the lighting.  It’s also possible that a trouble spot could be touched up in post production.
  • If you’re a bag of nerves or you’re dreading the photo shoot, use breathing techniques to slow your heart rate down and re-center yourself.
  • More than anything a successful photo shoot is about a creating a connection of trust.  Let the photographer know a little about yourself, what the image will be used for and how you want to be seen. This will serve as a guide for the photographer and help you maintain a good head space during the experience.

It’s not often that all the attention is on the way you look, but a good photo shoot can portray more than what is on the surface.  By staying calm, doing your part to create a comfortable environment and keeping your focus on a positive outcome you’re most likely to provide the photographer with opportunities to show you in your best light.

Screen Presence photographer Stefanie Atkinson provided the information for this post.

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