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If you want a promotion, job, or career success, you have to consciously build the image you want to project. Nature abhors a vacuum. If you don’t brand yourself, others will. Abraham Lincoln once said something that applies here: “Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.” The idea of constantly striving “to be worthy of recognition” captures the essence of creating a positive personal image. People who create a positive personal image have three things in common:
  • They develop and nurture their unique personal brands.
  • They are impeccable in their presentation of self.
  • They know and follow the basic rules of etiquette.
If you develop and nurture your unique personal brand, present yourself well and use the basic rules of etiquette consistently, you will become recognized as a person with positive personal impact. There are two keys here. First, work constantly and continually at creating your positive personal image, and on building your personal brand. Second, realize that this won’t come overnight. You have to work at it. That’s the idea behind the first part of Mr. Lincoln’s quote – “don’t worry when you are not recognized.” Your attire counts. When I pack for business trips, I pull out two or three pairs of dark charcoal gray slacks, a black or blue blazer, several white shirts and striped ties. I always wear white shirts and striped ties when I visit my clients. Often, they tell me that I don’t need to dress up as they are a business casual office. I always reply by saying, “I put on my tie today because I knew I would be seeing an important person – you.” This comment always gets a smile – and from what I can tell, people are flattered by it. It helps my personal image. When it comes to etiquette, I have one simple piece of advice – do whatever it takes to make the people around you feel comfortable.

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