May 4, 2016 Image Power Play

How One Word Defines You

I want you to understand the power one word can have on your image and personal brand.

What is Confirmation Bias?

Let’s explore how confirmation bias plays a role in how you perceive the world and how you judge people. Confirmation bias is defined as the tendency to accept evidence that confirms our beliefs and to reject evidence that contradicts them.

When you meet someone for the first time and you tell them what you do, they will immediately look at your appearance, your behavior, and how you are communicating to see if that matches what they already know about that industry or job. If it’s a match, then you will gain immediate credibility with them. If it doesn’t match, it can be harder to change that first impression they have formed of you because confirmation bias makes sure that they will ignore any signs that go against their first impression.

How Words are Tied to an Industry

Every industry has words that are tied to that industry and how you think a person in that position should appear, behave, and communicate. When you think of an attorney, you think of the word trustworthy. You picture someone in a business suit, someone that can articulate their thoughts, and think on their feet.

If I tell you I am in the Marketing field, you likely think of the word creative, and someone who is a little more cutting edge with their clothing and style.

How about someone in the accounting field? The word detailed comes to mind. Now think if you met someone for the first time and they told you they were an accountant, but their hair is in disarray, their shirt is wrinkled, there is a stain on their sleeve, and their shoes are scuffed. Everything about their image doesn’t say detailed. They give the perception that they don’t care enough to pay attention to detail when it comes to them. So how can you be assured they will be detailed with your tax return? There is a disconnect in how they are presenting themselves and what our perception is of that industry.

Now I don’t want everyone to look the same; but there should be aspects of that industry that are carried over into your image while still maintaining authenticity to who you truly are.

Start by Defining Your Power Word

One of the first things I help people with is to come up with their power word. The one word that they want to be known by; the one word they want to immediately come into another person’s mind when they think of them. Some people know this word instantaneously, while others it may take some time to come up with your word. I want you to really think about it. What qualities do you want associated with who you are?

Once you determine your word, this becomes the basis on which you build your entire image — your appearance, behavior, communication, and digital imprint should all be an extension of your word. It will define you.


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“In a world where you can choose to be anything you desire, make sure you are memorable.”