Personal Branding Lesson
I was slightly nervous as I walked up the familiar school stairs. I paused and took a deep breath. I imagined myself smiling and connecting with the children. I told myself that the talk was going to go smoothly and there was nothing to worry about.
I was inspired to do this by one of my last projects for school. We were to create a lesson plan on a subject of our choosing and act as if we were going to give this lesson to a group of high school kids. I took my inspiration into real life and asked my mom if I could come to her classroom and present my lesson.
It is a lesson that I have been falling in love with over and over.
In relation to sales and marketing, branding holds incredible weight in the success of the business.
What interests me the most is how we essentially all have our own brand. Our lives are our messages to the world, so why not refine this message and make it the best reflection of your values and passions. Once you know your personal brand you will have a solid foundation for every single decision you make throughout your day.
I entered the classroom at 9 am. My objective was clear. Today we were going to talk about personal branding and why it is important for the students to start understanding theirs.
We started with introductions. I asked them to tell me their name, something they love and something they love about themselves. I started with a tennis ball in my hand, introduced myself and then passed the ball to the next person.
This was fun and we all giggled when someone dropped the tennis ball. I wanted to get them engaged by having something active to do with their hands while also critically thinking about themselves.
Then I dove in by asking these series of questions.
Do you guys know why I’m here today?
One of the students blurted “Social media!”
Another said “Online presence!”
I’m thinking wow these guys are sharp and they were all looking up at me with their bright curious eyes. Immediately I felt a connection to them, I thought to myself what a wonderful feeling to be able to engage with such bright young minds.
I said to them “I’m here to talk to you about personal branding.”
Why do you think that’s important?
The replies were very thoughtful and understanding. The kids replied because that is how the world sees you.
Self-awareness. Boom, they were right.
I asked them how much time do you spend online?
Many answers ranging from 3-4 hours, all my free time is spent online when I’m not in school. These kids were extremely honest. And the few kids who were like 20 minutes because they had obvious restrictions.
I informed them that they are not alone, so much of the world works and exists online now.
I explained the importance of having a strong personal brand because you are your product and you sell yourself every day to everyone you come in contact with.
We all have an opportunity to interact with technology and use it as a tool to build a digital personal brand. This is important because most of the worlds industry’s are interacting online.
Your personal brand should be clean and reflect your values, it is that what most of your future customers, bosses, and even relationships will see first.
I really wanted them to understand that what they put online stays online. I explained how everything that they click and interact with is being tracked and stored as data points which are used to influence and understand their online habits.
Then I asked them to take out a piece of paper and to write down their 5 skills or strengths.
“These are all things that you can use to find your passion, or your passion already lies in these activities that you love to do.”
Then I asked them to write down 3 platforms that they use every day.
We had a discussion next about why I asked them to write these items down and how they might relate to each other.
One student replied, “So that we can have an understanding of ourselves.”
100% I replied.
I asked them to think about how could they could use these strengths and skills to create value for others?
Many of the students are interacting and learning on Youtube. These students were extra excited to be talking about how they can turn their passions into tutorials to help others who are also interested in that related field.
Once we had a working definition of our personal brands I asked the kids to create a word cloud with one of their skills.
One student held up his huge word cloud and said: “Oh my gosh it’s all connected!”
I’m smiling as I write this because the students were so inspiring in their enthusiasm.
I explained to the students how I was passionless in my job which started me down the path that led me to be speaking with them today.
One student told me that her passion wouldn’t make her any money and she didn’t want to end up like her parents unhappy and unable to find a satisfying job.
This concerned me as I realized how this problem touches many of us. So I asked the students if they knew someone who didn’t like their job? Almost every hand went up, including the teachers.
I brought the conversation full circle. “This is why it’s so important to know where you stand and what you love to do.
They can create a job that satisfies them when they know their core values and present those values in their brand.
At the end of the lesson, I asked the students write a sentence blending their favorite passion with how they can create value for others with it.
The sentence looks like this:
(passion) + (value) = (the passion”s byproduct)
One student raced cars and was stuck on how that could possibly create value. Together we came up with a sentence like this:
“When I race my family and friends enjoy watching me succeed.”
At the end of the lesson, I felt good. I saw that the kids were interacting with me and each other. They were thinking critically. We all collaborated and there was a steady flow of communication.
Consistency what you do in the real world and what you do online should be consistent.
Positive online presence digital reputation is KEY! Everyone in life will get a background check. What goes on the internet never comes off. You right now are creating data that is used and studied to influence your decisions.
Action get involved with your passions. Create content, uplift your friends, family, and classmates and become known for the things you love to do.
Brand you are product and you sell yourself every day to everyone you come in contact with.
I want everyone to know that by combining what you love with how you can make a positive impact in the world will truly provide you with direction and contentedness in your chosen career.
CALL TO ACTION
I want to come to YOUR school. Connect with me and let’s see how we can collaborate to create a better online experience for our kids.