I find human behavior and interaction fascinating.
Since I started studying Social Media a few years back, I noticed something many of you have too.
Personalities can often become more obvious, exaggerated, out of control, polished, refined and sometimes bolder with these tools, or gifts, we have been given that allow us to voice our opinions publicly.
Many of us feel empowered because we’re only responsible to our keyboard and a bunch of tiny photos, and we don’t have to really look anyone in the face, and feel their humanity when we shake their hands.
A while back, my friend Gini Dietrich wrote a blog post that was on many of our minds. It had to do with rude comments left on her blog by people who had strong opinions about another post Gini wrote about dressing professionally, or looking the part.
Gini and I, as well as many others, were a bit surprised by how rude people can actually be sometimes. I reacted to it because I’ve always had the strong feeling that human beings deserve to be shown respect at all times, not because they’re powerful, have more money, have less money, know more than we do, have a “better” job, or a host of other reasons you might imagine.
Human beings deserve respect because they are human beings…period.
It could stem from my dear Mom teaching all five of us that if we had nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I’m not sure, but what I do know is that I respect others a great deal when I observe them respecting others.
I know, I know, not everyone has these personality traits that are so respectable. I know there are human characteristics of all types. I wasn’t born yesterday, I’m not naive, and I didn’t just jump off the turnip truck. I understand most of us arrive where we are in life based on thousands, maybe even millions, of little events that happen in our lives.
My advice is that if you are confident in your own skin, and know and like your personality, and how you want to portray it in business, as well as your personal life, and if it works for you, and you’re comfortable with the impact it has on others, then be that way to the fullest.
You are who you are. I am who I am.
One of the very first discussions I have with people about their brand, and how to integrate it in to their current marketing efforts, regardless of whether the tools are traditional or new, is to help them define their brand. We list words that describe them and their business. If they allow me, and have the budget for this, I then go ask their clients and other stakeholders what words they use to describe my client. If both sets of characteristics are consistent, great, we’re ready to move ahead. If not, we have more to discuss.
As business owners, partners, employees, service providers, or however you like to describe yourself, you might know all of this in your heads, and don’t feel the need to commit it to paper or PC. That’s fine. My process and suggestions for you are the same.
Figure out what it is you want to convey to all you care about communicating with, then go about conveying it. No, you don’t have to show every side of you if that isn’t part of doing business with you. If it is, and you want people to know about it, then that’s your decision.
If you’re full of energy, passion and drive, and you’re okay with people knowing that, then show it. If you are serious and contemplative, show that. If you are dark and brooding, show that. If you are rude and like to bully people, show that, but please see my P.S. below when you’re finished.
When you choose to communicate who you really are, know that you will attract those who are either like you, like your type, are amused by you, are intimidated by you, or want to use you as a case study in how to act, or how to not act as the case may be.
Also know that this brand of yours has an impact on other human beings, both good and bad. When you get to the point that you are comfortable with this brand of yours, this guarantee that these characteristics are what people are going to get consistently when they meet and work with you, then commit yourself to being yourself without fail so that others can decide whether they really want to be around you, want to do business with you, and sometimes even want to help you succeed.
P.S. If I had my druthers, I’d ask that the bullies give up trying to make others look bad by making fun of them, or being rude to them, or constantly pointing out what they think they are doing wrong, but I know that’s just my wish because….
You are who you are. I am who I am.
Any thoughts to add?
My sincere thanks to Michael for the Flickr image used above.