• Karen

Pics or it didn't happen



This is me speaking to an international business conference years ago in Kuopio, Finland. OR it could be me speaking to a packed room at a communications conference in Portland, Oregon. OR it could be me giving a workshop in Vancouver at the Immigrant Fair just a couple of years ago. The truth is, I did all of these things, but I documented them poorly. Early in my career, good photos or videos required you lug around expensive equipment or hire a professional. Yet, even after the availability of smaller, smarter, cameras and then phones with excellent recording ability, I have failed to gather good proof of accomplishments. Learn from my mistake!

I grew up in a family that wasn’t particularly keen on bragging. In fact, one of my mother’s favorite phrases was, “Don’t rest on your laurels.” Many of the professionals I work with come from similar family backgrounds or cultures. This makes building a personal brand and standing out in the marketplace tough. And in my case it meant I did not learn, and still have not mastered, the art of documenting and showcasing accomplishments in photos or video. Why does this matter?

We live in the “pics or it didn’t happen” culture. Professional speakers are expected to have sample videos. Entrepreneurs are expected to show documented success. We assume experts of any stripe will have a presence online and that this presence will include images. It’s not that no one reads…they just want the graphic proof too. I’m hoping to improve my understanding and use of visual elements. Luckily, I have a colleague who is an expert. Lexa Penndari has been talking to me, and providing me insights and a bit of remediation, on the image part of telling my brand story.

I encourage you to think about documenting your success and accomplishments. No, the internet does not need a photo of every awesome sandwich or fancy cocktail you order. Yet smart use of visuals and social media can help you build up your brand, and provide that much needed proof of achievements.

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(c) 2019 Karen Southall Watts