Good professional image makes you visible

There is a saying: choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. However, we’ve got some news for you: it is not enough to be a good employee. It is important to be visible, know your strengths and let them shine. And it is not as easy as it might seem. For this reason, Baltic Summer University offer a special two-week course on Personal Branding designed for those who want to understand the importance of managing and forming one’s image in an international environment. “So why it is important to form your personal brand?” we have asked three teachers who will be teaching in this course, Ms. Danguolė Krasauskienė (D.K.), lecturer of public speaking and certified career coacher, Dr. Agnė Blažienė (A.B.), lecturer at the Department of Linguistics of VMU Faculty of Humanities and Dr. Justinas Kisieliauskas (J.K.), Vice-Dean for Marketing at VMU Faculty of Economics and Management.

Why is it important to actively shape your personal image and brand?

J.K. Trust is one of the most valuable currencies these days. Earning trust takes time. Personal branding helps us save this time, because at the beginning, it encourages us to work to earn our name, so in the future the name works for us. Whether we want it or not, people judge and categorise us. So why don’t we invest our time into our image and help the others to see us in the light we want them to see us?

D.K. Each specialist is a unique combination of experience and skills. If we can notice and tell ourselves what makes us unique, what we have more or what we do differently from others at work or business, we can have a clearer answer what will make us more beneficial for our employer or business partner. Therefore, good professional image will not only help stand out among other specialists, interest the clients / partners, but earn more as well.

A.B. In today’s world, we are surrounded by overwhelming amounts of (ir)relevant information. Therefore, a person who wants to earn their living or the organization that wants to have their partners, clients or audience to remember their goods / products / services must cultivate an image, promote certain values or approach to certain things.

What are the most common mistakes made by those who decided to form their personal brand?

J.K. 1. They want to be liked by everyone; 2. They do not follow the feedback; 3. They think that it is a one-time event, rather than an ongoing process.

D.K. The greatest mistake is to think that you are going to be noticed and appreciated in any case, the only thing you need to do is to keep your head down and do your work well. However, currently the market is full of great specialists, thus the potential employer or client finds it difficult to make the choice. By choosing not to go public, you remain invisible and unheard in the general noise.

Another mistake is putting all of your efforts into becoming someone else. However, the formula of each person to become successful is different. Sometimes it is very obviously that the natural behavior and character of a person is completely different from the image he or she is trying to maintain. People feel insincerity and when someone tries to trick them. But the result is opposite: instead of interest, they receive indifference.

A.B. I would like to pay attention not at the mistakes but speak in general that it is important for a person who wants to develop his or her career to see himself or herself from a distance. And this includes not only the appearance or style: not all styles are suitable for one’s position, audience and other situations. Appearance aside, the image of a person (organization) is formed by their communication culture or peculiarities thereof (ability to hear other people, convey criticism, appreciation, etc.), language used in written or oral interactions as well as virtual space and social media which must react to the situation, register, formality, style, purpose, time, location, age of participants, social status, field of activity, etc.). All these aspects, their unity form an appealing (positive) or repulsive (negative) image of a person or organization.

What is the benefit of forming your personal brand?

A.B. There are two ways to see how personal branding is formed. If a person wants to become an influencer, information available about his / her likes, dislikes, qualities, desires, formal or informal style of communication, tact may help advertisers to find relevant representatives that can share information about their product or service on social media.

D.K. Shaping one’s personal brand allows not only for others to understand us, but also for us to understand ourselves. I think that it helps saving s lot of resources, from time to money.

What the students of Personal Branding course at BSU can expect?

D.K. Various activities and experiments employed in this course will help to rediscover yourself: look anew into unique qualities, the way others see you and expand your comfort zone. You will name it to yourself why you are interesting to the world, what makes you strong and unique. You will also work on your weaker points. Moreover, you will find out how to present yourself in a favorable light both in writing and in person and select an appropriate body language. Everything will include good mood in a great company.

A.B. A part of the lectures will be designed to discuss the aspects of written and oral language, private and public discourses and communication that contribute greatly to the formation of a positive image of yourself and organization you represent. We will discuss such topics as language etiquette, thought development, structuration, preparation of slides, speaking, body language (extralinguistic factors), audience management), etc.

J.K. At first you will be in shock as you will find out what has been done wrong and what are the outcomes of such behavior. Later a light confusion will take place after having found out about the complexity of the personal brand development process. However, it will all be replaced by hope after realization that everything can fixed and then you will be overwhelmed by joy that the situation is under control. Finally, the increasing self-esteem and trust in oneself will take root, as you will be making your first steps towards the development of personal brand.

The course will take place on July 15-26 at Vytautas Magnus University (V. Putvinskio g. 23, Kaunas). Registration and more information available at the website of Baltic Summer University.