One of the best pieces of advice I learned about building my personal brand came from a comedy school. Attending a class on how to make presentations I noticed that the facilitators were being very animated with us even as we walked into the room. Without as much as an introduction they engaged us in banter, got us laughing and quickly broke down the awkwardness that comes with being in a new setting.

As the trainers began the formal class they told us that the best presenters (and comedians) always remember that they are on stage from the time they get out of their car (or off their bicycle, train, or bus) until the time they get back on to go home. The best piece of advice? Building your personal brand is happening all the time.

In this age of Social Media we all know the horrors of ‘friends’ ranting about bad bosses, pictures taken out too late on a Saturday night and personal sharing of topics best left inside the therapist’s office. It would seem that most of us think that no one is watching us.

Our personal brand whether at work or in the community is the collection of all that we are and all that we do and for that matter don’t do. Our lives are a series of one-act plays with us on stage center front for the world to see. The challenge is that most people rarely stay long enough to see the whole show. How we choose to show up in the moment may or may not represent the complete product offering we have to sell.

 Personal brands are just like any other brand offering whether it is for a bar of soap or a luxury sedan. Our brand offers a promise of what others can expect from us over time. What we want to show is that our brand is reliable, authentic and delivers what it promises.

Just a few basic principles can help us to build the personal brand at work and in our lives that will help us to get what we want. First, remember the principle that ‘you are on stage from the time you show up until the time you leave’. And that takes us to the second principle which is ‘90% of life is showing up’ as offered by Woody Allen. If you say you are going to be there, be there!. Thirdly, keep your networks alive and healthy. Never underestimate the power of knowing people inside and outside of your work and social circles. Finally, remember the common social courtesies of saying thanks and honoring commitments.