Personal Branding

Navigating Your Career, In Style

Navigating Your Career, In Style, was the title of a session we held on Tuesday at Vayner Media, specifically for their summer interns. This group is just finishing up their 10 week internship at the company and most of them will be heading back to their colleges and universities to start their senior year. What a fabulous group of young adults!  They were polite, engaged, interested and inquisitive!

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During this session we talked about research that shows how your wardrobe choices affect how others perceive you, and how you perceive yourself.  We showcased some powerful data that proves the important role that image can play in your career success. We also talked a bit about the changing corporate landscape and and how to interpret different dress codes. We felt this was an important conversation to have since this group spent a summer at Vayner which is very much in the ‘almost anything goes’ space. These interns could end up working at Vayner right out of college, but many of them will be exploring and considering other industries and companies who may not have such a liberal approach to dress.

We had a robust conversation about the power of color, and how to think strategically about color when choosing your look for different situations. Lastly we talked about how to budget and to start building a work appropriate wardrobe (and where to save and where to splurge). I only wish we had more time, we can talk about this stuff forever!

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A huge thank you to Vayner for having us and to the interns for being such a great group!

We really enjoyed this session and received some great feedback from the attendees.  This reinforces our belief that we have content that is tailor-made for soon to be grads (and obviously interns).  We're excited to be working with more colleges and universities this year and impacting the careers and lives of these rockstar students! Want us to work with your school, too? Just reach out!

Personal Branding for Career Success

We had a great time in Chicago last weekend - weather aside! As I mentioned in last week’s post, we were very excited (and a little nervous) for an upcoming event. This event was exactly what we envisioned when we founded FirstSeven! We were hired by a leading global law firm to conduct a session around Personal Branding. The session was part of a three weekend-long offsite (at the chic Soho House in Chicago) and was attended by about 35 six-year associates, a pretty equal mix of men and women.

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We knew our content was good and relevant, but we were anxious to see how it would be received by this room full of extremely successful professionals. Well, we’re happy to report it was received very enthusiastically.

We kicked off the session by talking about the role personal branding plays in executive presence, and the power of a first impression. We showcased some compelling statistics and research studies that support our premise that image can play a role in professional success. Then, we split into gender-specific breakout sessions (the men headed downstairs to the cinema room, or ‘man cave’ as we affectionately referred to it). In these break out sessions, we moved beyond the ‘why’ and into the ‘how’.  Here we walked through how to build a functional and flattering professional wardrobe. Both the men and women engaged in some interactive exercises and a robust Q&A session.

The Man Cave.

The Man Cave.

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It's always a good day when you’re able to do something you love, with people you like, in a cool space, where you feel you’re really making an impact!

Night before prep!

Night before prep!

We offered samples from  The Laundress , a female founded company that creates eco friendly detergent, fabric care and home cleaning products.  

We offered samples from The Laundress, a female founded company that creates eco friendly detergent, fabric care and home cleaning products.  

During lunch, after the breakout sessions, we overhead a man talking to group of other men (all who had participated in the session) saying ‘I mean, wearing a suit that doesn't fit, that’s career suicide!”. That statement may be a bit dramatic, but we were thrilled our content resonated!

Please contact us to discuss how we can create and deliver custom training content to meet your company’s needs!  We can participate in company off-sites, provide one-hour ‘lunch and learn’ sessions or even facilitate a happy hour or team event.

The Missing Piece in Many Corporate Training Programs

Each of us has probably experienced a moment when a leader enters a room and she instantly attracts the attention of everyone present. Heads turn, conversations halt and everyone just gravitates toward her. Perhaps you can recall a time listening to a CEO address the company or simply chatting with a successful team leader at a holiday party - you just want to listen and engage. You feel motivated and inspired, and led. These people have what some might call a wow factor, and in business it's usually referred to as Executive Presence. There’s quite a bit of research that’s been done on executive presence, and most of them come back to some version of what’s laid out below:

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Most people will agree that to be successful in many career paths, certainly those that involve high-level leadership and management, a certain level of executive presence is crucial.

Most people would also agree that companies should provide training to their employees to help guide them along in their career development and provide growth opportunities. In fact, 68% of workers said that training and development is the most important workplace policy for them. It’s particularly important to millennials, 87% say professional development opportunities are very important. (per a State of the Industry Report from ClearCompany).

According to the Association for Talent Development (ATD), “companies that offer comprehensive training programs have 218% higher income per employee than companies without formalized training. These companies also enjoy a 24% higher profit margin than those who spend less on training. It would seem that continuing to invest in training and development, even when there are economic downturns, is the smart play.”

So what does all this have to do with executive presence, you might ask?  Well, we’ve seen our share of really robust training programs and we’ve talked to many professionals who have been on the receiving end of these programs.  Between the three of us, we've spent decades at companies where they have truly invested in their learning & development programs; offering Presentation Skills, Conflict Management, Leadership Training, Writing & Business Communication Workshops, Negotiation Skills and Effective Brainstorming, just to name a few.  These courses are phenomenal. They help develop character, form behavior and they ensure there is substance and clear communication.  That said, we’ve yet to see any courses that focus specifically on those other key elements of executive presence - style and appearance.

That’s one of the reasons we founded FirstSeven!

According to a study done by LinkedIn, 27 percent of North American businesses are going to spend more on internal learning programs in 2018. Hopefully, some of this increased investment will fund programs to allow employees to explore the power that image has on improving their executive presence and enhancing their career!

Today we’re busy putting some final touches on a program for a top global law firm that has recognized the value of personal branding and executive presence.  We’re so excited to share it with a room full of very successful professionals. Check in next week and we'll tell you all about it!