What makes humans different from robots? Our sense of humanity is what will prevent many aspects of work from transitioning to robots and artificial intelligence. Humans are not machines, and that’s a good thing. However, humanity can only be effective if it’s properly harnessed — and that means embracing a sense of vulnerability and empathy that many of us would rather leave behind at the office.

You need to be vulnerable to connect with another human being in a way that artificial intelligence never can. Social media has conditioned us to only put forward the most perfect versions of ourselves in the name of a good personal brand, but I argue this approach is misguided. If you can open up, even a little bit, you’ll find that others are going through the same things you are. The resulting bonds and shared emotional intelligence are essential for every organization.


About Dr.Talaya Waller

Dr. Talaya Waller is an international personal branding consultant and professor. In 2014, she founded Waller & Company to provide a research-based, data-driven methodology to help CEOs, top-level executives, and industry leaders position their expertise to increase visibility and profitability. From Fortune 500 companies to royal dignitaries, she’s had the privilege to work with a diverse range of clients to develop personal brands that target the audience they want to reach.

Dr. Waller also delivers personal branding keynotes, lectures, and workshops to organizations around the world. She helps leaders understand how to use personal branding to reach their target audience, gain competitive advantage, and achieve business goals.

Dr. Talaya Waller shares her expertise on personal branding at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

Top Personal Branding Tips for Aspiring Actors

As is the case with most professions, finding success as an actor requires self-promotion, strategic marketing, and personal brand development. Gone are the days of open casting calls and scouting malls in L.A. and New York. Instead, casting agents today are scouring social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter for new talent. Even more than talent, what agents are looking for is engagement; they’re looking to see what kind of following you have and what your other interests are. A recent study found that talent only accounts for roughly 7% of casting decisions. Clearly, with this new casting climate, it is crucial that aspiring actors have a consistent presence on social media. An aspiring actor cannot afford to disregard the leg up that social media provides towards getting discovered; actors need to use these platforms to establish their personal brand and showcase their talent.   

Your first order of business should be to create an authentic brand that will attract a following and stand out to casting agents. Although the goal of this endeavor is ultimately self-promotional, you should strive to be genuine when creating an online presence. Don’t be afraid to show your real personality. Use YouTube videos, photos on Snapchat or Instagram, and frequent posts on Facebook and Twitter to create an authentic online persona. Demonstrate what makes you unique as an actor and as a human being.  

Think of social media is an easy way to self-publish. With some effort and ingenuity, you can showcase your talent, putting your brand in front of an infinite online audience. Find a way to create content around your skills that demonstrate your interests and abilities. For example, try creating a short film that highlights your acting and directing talents and posting it on your YouTube channel, then advertise it on Facebook and Twitter. Make sure you create content that is unique and authentic to your personal brand.

Consistency is key. The nature of social media dramatically levels the playing field; while in many ways this can be advantageous to you, it also increases the competition. Take the long view and remember that stardom doesn’t happen overnight. You need to put your efforts towards curating a large following and, to do that, you have to consistently generate high quality, engaging content on select platforms. Don’t overextend; you don’t need to be everywhere. Choose which platforms you intend to focus on and show up.

Don’t forget that social media platforms are not just a one-sided conversation. Engage with your audience and tailor your message to speak to their interests. If you are using multiple platforms, adjust your content accordingly. Each platform is geared towards a slightly different audience and application. Your content should be enticing and relevant. Use your platforms to reach out to other aspiring actors as well. Each aspiring actor on social media has their own network of connections. Find someone whose work you admire and seek them out. Collaborate on a project to stimulate creativity, build professional connections, gain experience, and increase traffic to your social media sites.  

Personal Branding for Real Estate Agents

The rise of the internet has effectively leveled the business playing field and in no industry is this more true than in real estate. The omnipresent online universe including the prevalence of smartphones and social media sites means that you can, theoretically, connect with anyone anywhere. And in order to be competitive in an industry founded on personal reputation, trust, and word-of-mouth, that is exactly what you have to do! Real estate has never been more competitive than it is now. If you want to find new clients, close deals, and expand your business, you’re going to need a strong personal brand to help you stand out from the competition.

Real estate is an industry that thrives on name recognition. It is virtually impossible to attract new clients without a strong reputation within your local community, supported by genuine testimonials from happy clients. If nobody in your community knows your name, you will be unable to grow your business. Period. You have to be proactive about establishing and enhancing your personal brand; a strong personal brand is crucial. So, the obvious question is, how do you make a name for yourself?  

When you set out to build your brand, don’t forget who you’re talking to. In other words, before you turn your focus towards yourself, take a good look at your prospective audience. Take some time to identify your ideal client base, their needs, problems, and concerns, what pushes them to purchase and, most importantly, where they spend their time both online and offline. You need to put yourself and your message in front of their faces, or you’ll be talking to an empty room. If you take the time to identify your target audience, then you can tailor your personal brand to help people solve their problems and connect with them wherever they are. Never forget that your business is building relationships. 

Once you have identified your client prospects, turn your attention to what makes you different from your competitors. Think about your passions and areas of expertise, why you became a real estate agent and who you most enjoy helping. Consider talking with past clients to learn more about their experience working with you. Why did they choose you over another agent? What was most helpful or important in your interactions? Would they refer you to a friend or family member and, most importantly, what could you do better in the future? 

Now that you are starting to develop a clear sense of your client base and yourself, it’s time to make yourself visually recognizable. You should hire a designer. A strong personal brand comes with a distinct kit of branding visuals that will accompany your name wherever you choose to market yourself. This is not a time to be frugal. Hire a professional designer to help you develop a logo, color scheme, and graphics for your digital platforms. Now is the time to cultivate brand consistency. You should be equally recognizable in person, on Twitter, and on a billboard. 

Your personal brand is tailored to your ideal customer, rooted in your strengths and individuality, and primed for brand recognition. You are ready to build your blog, generate content, and share your brand with your prospective clients. 

How to Protect Your Personal Brand: Terms You Should Know as a Plaintiff

Most business owners know that at some point in your career, you will likely need the help of a lawyer. Dealing with legal matters can be tricky even for the most practiced of people, so it’s important to go into legal situations feeling well-prepared and knowledgeable so you can make informed choices with your team. If you are the plaintiff in a lawsuit, or if you are planning to file a lawsuit in the future, there are several legal terms with which you should be familiar. This is especially true if this is your first lawsuit. Even if you have heard many “legal” terms before, you may not be completely sure what they mean, and how they apply to your case. Here are a few basic legal terms that you may encounter:

* Complaint: A complaint is a legal document that a plaintiff submits to the court and sends to the defendant, stating why the plaintiff believes he or she has been wronged by the defendant. Some courts use a word other than “complaint” to describe this legal document, so make sure to check with the clerk of your court or with an attorney in your area to make sure that both the name and the format of your “complaint” will meet the court’s requirements to get your lawsuit started.

* Deposition: After you file your complaint, you and your attorney will begin preparing to make your case to the court. Part of your case will likely involve witness testimony offered at trial. A “deposition” is chance for your attorney to ask questions of witnesses before trial, so that you are prepared for what kind of testimony they will offer to the court. Depositions are scheduled prior to trial and are typically held at an attorney’s office, or other place agreed upon by both the defendant, plaintiff, and witness. The witness will take an oath to tell the truth, and there will normally be a court reporter present to record everything the witness says. Plaintiffs and defendants are almost always deposed as part of a lawsuit. Depositions prevent surprises at trial and can be used to “impeach” a witness if his or her story changes over time.

* Settlement: A settlement is an agreement reached between the plaintiff and defendant prior to the verdict in a trial. The agreement is often for the defendant to pay the plaintiff an amount of money to stop pursuing or “drop” the lawsuit against the defendant. In exchange for money, the plaintiff will usually sign a document called a “settlement agreement” or “release” promising that he or she will never sue the defendant again on the issues in the lawsuit. After receiving the settlement amount, the plaintiff will dismiss his or her lawsuit from the court. Settlements are often efficient ways to resolve lawsuits because they normally cost less money than going to trial. Additionally, trials can take several weeks and may not be scheduled with the court until many months after the lawsuit is originally filed. Lawsuits can also be delayed by many factors. Settlements, however, can often be negotiated quickly, saving time and money.

Remember, that the best way to prepare for your lawsuit is to consult with and hire a qualified attorney with significant experience with your type of case. A personal injury lawyer Washington D.C. residents trust can help you understand any difficulties you face.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cohen & Cohen, P.C., for their insight into legal terminology.

7 Ways to Update Your Personal Brand in 2019

Before you think, Personal brand? What? Me?!

Know that everyone has a personal brand, especially if you have any kind of social media or online presence.

The rise of the internet, the accessibility of technology, and the emergence of social media have all helped individuals discover and bring out their personal brands.

Now that you are probably thinking about what your brand looks like, how do you make it better? In this article, we will provide some tips and super-quick checklist on how to update your personal brand for 2019—to really make it shine.

7 Ways to Update Your Personal Brand for 2019

So, where do you start? Here are some tips, examples, and things to consider when updating your personal brand.

  • Review and update your tagline on social media. Since your personal brand is likely visible on social media, let’s start there. Do you have a personal brand statement? If so, when was the last time you updated it? Take some time to review or create your personal brand statement.

    Hint: Treat your personal brand statement like a tagline or a short biography.  If you were to sum up your life in a sentence, what would it say? Remember, people have short attention spans, so this is your chance to communicate your expertise, goals, and reason why people should connect with you in 140 characters or less. So, make it a good one.

  • Review and update your biography. When was the last time you updated your bio? Does it effectively capture and reflect the highlights of your career? Or is it stale and boring? Take the time to review and add some love to your bio.

  • Clean up your act (on social media). Social media tends to become a “brain dump” to post all kinds of photos, song lyrics, thoughts from the day, and so on—positive and negative.

    If you want to start off 2019 with a cleaner personal brand, then take some time to clean up, delete, and archive old photos or negative posts, and anything that doesn’t have a positive contribution to your life or your future.

    Hint: For example, your minimum wage job from high school shouldn’t be on your LinkedIn anymore.

  • Create brand guidelines. If you blog, then chances are you likely blog about your hobbies, trips and journeys, experiences, and so on. However, you likely don’t have “personal brand guidelines”. No, brand guidelines aren’t just for companies or enterprises; they also work for personal brands.
    If you blog regularly, then having personal brand guidelines can help you remain consistent in the content you create and also in your online presence.

  • Take a look inside your closet. That’s right—a huge part of your personal brand isn’t on social media, but how you dress and carry yourself. If you want to reinvent or update your personal brand for 2019, then spend some serious time re-evaluating your current wardrobe choices.

    Hint: If you still have clothes from high school (we won’t judge!), then it’s probably time to ditch them and think about what kind of message you want to send to others.

    Do you want to go for fun and artistic? Sassy and sophisticated? Humble and handsome? Think about the kind of message you want to send and make smarter wardrobe choices based on the first impression you want.

  • Build up your energy. Energy is everything. And, no, we don’t necessarily mean you have to be super energetic all the time, but energy is contagious. People want to associate and work with energetic, eager, and positive people.

    Hint: There are some things you can do to naturally boost your energy—many of which involve lifestyle changes. For example, you can start an exercise routine, burn sage to rid your home of bad energy, and even eat “super foods”.

  • Learn something new. Do you want to expand your skill set? Do you love to learn new things? Then consider going back to school to finish that degree or taking an online course to learn new skills. The more skills you add to your professional bio or portfolio, the more professional and marketable you will become.

All in all, your personal brand—online and offline—is incredibly important for your career.