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Personal Branding On Conflict

In the recently attended seminar: “The 7 Keys To Unleashing Your Genius” I had a pleasure to experience live personal branding and differentiation in seminar facilitation that I have not yet seen before. The facilitator was building his personal brand on conflict. Starting with the introduction and opening messages in the seminar and following it through with personal life examples of both older or more recent disagreement and argument situations. It’ s a really different way of branding yourself as facilitator which I admit, have never seen before in my long facilitator and development events attender career.

The key takeaways of that workshop facilitation from facilitator’s personal branding perspective:

1. You get what you give

Its about positioning the audience at the very start of the presentation. If the facilitator says – “I expect you to be sceptical and to not accept what I am saying”, then he is most probably going to get it from the audience. The underlying message might have been – “Do not just take my words, try and test it out yourself”, and that said would be a better positioned opening to manage the scepticism in the room. But as the facilitator was building his brand on conflict with the audience, the intro positioning did it’s job.

Later in the seminar he experienced it himself as a play back in the exercise on the stage. He invited a lady from the audience to participate in a simple mind positioning exercise, and she made it difficult for him on the stage by being openly sceptical.

2. Brand on your talents

I think the facilitator has had personal branding coaching sessions with a good coach to develop his facilitation style. It was the purpose of the facilitator to be in a conflict with the audience in this event, as by character I could see he can easy get into arguments with people. So he was congruent with his nature and building his brand on his true talent. I think his sarcasm and scepticism might be well received in the British audience. My observation is that British people enjoy edgy humour. So he has well tailored his personal brand for the potential audience. The only thing – in London one should expect different nationalities in the audience with different expectations and appreciation to presentation style, so one may want to tailor their style accordingly.

3. Humour adds the value

Humour definitely helps to keep the audience awake on Saturday morning and get the insights through fun. The facilitator was an analytical sarcastic introvert himself, usually these kind of people pick up really good insights for an edgy humour. Adding the edgy humour to his evoking conflict facilitation style gave an opportunity to ease some conflict situations. Although, as seen, when not managed well, this edgy humour can facilitate further conflict opportunities.

As said in my previous blog post, there were quite a few good insights to take away from this weekend event. I took a learning for mindset development, coaching practice development and also learning of a different facilitation style. I love attending this kind of events for some inspiration and ideas, but also for constantly developing and enhancing my facilitation style.

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Lessons learned of a successful start-up

“Finish what you have started and you will move on and further with better focus and capability”, is the lesson taught by his father to one of my course-mates friends in Westminster University Business School in London.

We were catching up as a group to celebrate successfully passed Digital Marketing exams recently. That evening was inspired by amazing life stories and lessons learned. One of which I’d like to share with you now – lessons learned of a successful start-up.

This guy, I will call him Syed, had his first business when he was 19 years old and just started university. He was selling jewellery in London. He travelled to Paris, chose the hand-made jewellery, brought that to London and sold. He started his jewellery sales business from the stalls in the market places to test it out whether customers will like it. When the turnover progressed, Syed developed his website to sell the valuable pieces.

When he travelled to Paris to choose the goods, he invited his girlfriend to come along for a nice trip and help him to choose what women like and listen to her opinions. Obviously, she knew better the magic of female jewellery. He tried out different producers and found that particular hand-made jewellery was best demanded from his customers. He kept progressing in that niche and developed his own brand for the chosen jewellery.

He started small, but as he worked hard and much, constantly listened to customer demands and feedback, his business kept progressing during next few years and demanded more and more of his time. He got to the stage that it became very challenging to combine business development with his university studies. Syed was considering a decision to quit university.

And then his father said to him: “My dear son, you are very hard working, like me. I have developed my well established and successful business because of my hard work, focus and persistence. But one thing you should keep in mind – education is very important cornerstone for success in your life. So my advice to you is to finish what you have started – your university studies, and then move on with the business. You will have better focus and greater capability to do that. You will also have much more clear awareness of what you want in life, what you are passionate about.”

Although Syed was tempted to continue to develop his business as it was paying off well and progressing, he listened to his father’s advice and sold his business to successfully continue and finish his studies.

He confirmed in our conversation – that was the best decision he took and he is glad he listened to his father’s advice. There are 3 lessons though he has learned while developing his start-up business that he will take on for further start-up opportunities:

1. Start small, try it out whether customers like it and then progress

Syed started with a few jewellery pieces and sold them in open markets and stalls. He spoke to his customers and listened carefully to what they said. After a year of start-up, the business has grown so well that he developed his webpage and expanded his business in web.

2. Find your niche and focus on it

Before Syed was able to expand, he tested and discovered the niche that he could differentiate him amongst competition – hand-made, branded jewellery from Paris. Although he was tempted to sell other stuff, he kept focusing and developing in his niche. That helped him to grow his business by becoming the brand in the niche.

3. Ask advice from the experts

Who can be a better adviser in female jewellery industry than female? When Syed started his business, he asked advice of his girlfriend and her friends. They knew well what women are appreciating in jewellery. He tested that with his customers and listened to feedback.

Syed has now moved on. He has finished university and explored other business industries than jewellery trade. He has discovered his passion for customer relationship management and is aiming to develop his next business in CRM implementation for local and global companies. He is a hard worker, very dedicated and customer focused professional. That builds a very strong personal brand foundation. I am confident he will succeed now even more as when you have discovered your passion, you have clarity and focus on your goals and you stream your energy to achieve them, you will succeed.

His father’s advice is guiding him for success in life:

“Finish what you have started and you will move on and further with better focus and capability”.