Revealed: The top three skills needed to build a personal brand

Negotiation skills, networking and leadership development are considered the three most valuable skills required to build an individual’s personal brand, according to a new survey.

The personal branding survey – conducted by the Australian Institute of Management Victoria & Tasmania, and Image Group International – involved 1,023 Australian businesspeople.

The survey found 38% of businesspeople regarded their personal brand as average or worse than average, while only 5% of survey participants said their personal brand was excellent.

Women are much more likely than men to have a negative view of their personal brand – 45% of women rated their brand as average or below, compared to just 35% of men.

However, 93% of those surveyed said their personal branding skills were either important or very important in shaping how they were viewed by work colleagues.

Susan Heron, chief executive of AIM VT, says it’s a “real concern” that so many businesspeople don’t rate their personal brand more highly.

“Employers can’t maximise profits and performance if managers and team members don’t have confidence in who they are at work and what they can bring to the job,” Heron says.

“The survey findings confirm that personal branding has emerged as a business performance issue. It’s an area that organisations need to focus on and invest in.”

“Evaluating your personal branding skills must be on your to-do list.”

Unfortunately, chief executives did not fare well in the survey findings. Almost one-third of survey participants rated their CEO’s personal branding skills as average or worse than average.

“The survey findings [should serve as] a warning to CEOs to make sure they don’t have an overly inflated view of their personal brand,” Heron said.

The top three skills that build an individual’s personal brand:

1. Negotiation skills

Negotiation skills were rated by survey participants as the personal branding skill they need most in order to boost their careers (selected by 60% of participants).

According to Jon Michail, chief executive of Image Group International, businesspeople need to step up their negotiation skills if they are going to compete in the Asian century.

“Negotiation skills generally in Australia are not that well regarded,” Michail says.

“When people are overly easygoing, they can become complacent in business… [However, the] ‘she’ll be right, mate’ attitude will not work in the year 2012 and beyond.”

“If you want to maximise your value, learn how to negotiate… In life, you don’t get what you deserve; you get what you negotiate.”

2. Networking skills

Second on the must-have list of skills that build an individual’s personal brand was networking skills (59%), while sales and customer service was considered the least important skill.

Michail says networking skills are valuable, but businesspeople need to remember “action speaks louder than the language of spin”.

3. Leadership development

Leadership development was rated by respondents as the third most important personal branding skill (53%), followed by presentation (53%), and creative thinking and problem solving (52%).

Leadership development refers to any activity that enhances the quality of leadership within an individual or organisation.

This article first appeared on StartupSmart.


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