career advice, career management, Careers, Personal Branding, Sales and Marketing

It’s Not About You

Mary Rosenbaum | October 23rd, 2013

Have you had moments like this: You meet someone at a conference, a meeting, or a party and all they do is talk about themselves. During what seems like a overly long monologue you learn more than you want about that person. And after the encounter you realize they never really asked you any questions nor listened much to what you had to say when they momentarily (accidentally) shared a little airtime.

This topic comes to mind because it happened to me last week. I was blown away by the lack of awareness that this man had about the impression he was making on me. And, it wasn’t good. He became memorable but in a way that would never prompt me to use his services or recommend him or even call him.

As my eyes glazed over and my mind wandered, these are comments I wanted to share with him; so instead, I’m sharing them with you.

Conversation is a two-way street.

The purpose of any encounter is to engage someone in conversation (2-way conversation) so that a connection is made. Meeting someone new is just like a first date. You want them to know a little about you but all the while you’re trying to find out about them so you can make those special connections. Connections result in trust building and we all know that trust is the basis for any lasting relationship – business or personal. So share, a little, and get them to share as well – the conversation will flow from there.

A little information goes a long way.

Getting back to that first date, you want to learn a little bit about how the other person thinks and what type of approach would work best with them. You also want to find out what they need or might have an interest in. If all you do is talk about how good you are you never really know if you’re hitting the right points as far as their needs and wants go. So ask them questions, get them talking, and I guarantee you’ll be better prepared for that pitch or marketing call later on.

Hit a home run

Do you know when you’re striking out or hitting a home run? Try to be more aware of how you are coming across to the other person. Appreciative nods, good responses and questions volleyed back and forth are obvious signs that you’re doing well.

If their eyes seem to stray away from you as you talk or they become unresponsive except for a few nods or uh huh’s, then change gears and get them talking about something that interests them.

If your conversation doesn’t improve, give them and you the space and ability to move on. After all, you can’t fall in love every time.

Please share other tips that work for you and any other comments you might have.

To strengthen your personal brand and get your career on the right track contact me.

What’s Your Secret Sauce?

Mary Rosenbaum | April 18th, 2013
Power Up Your Personal and Corporate Brand

Panelists at the Hofstra Conference

We all like to think that the work we do and the service we provide is recognized and appreciated by those we work with and for.

Think about the people you work with, the professionals you encountered or hired, the people whose services you enlisted – which ones stand out in your mind? For me there are two types of standouts, each of them drive me to action. The first is a bad experience. I go out of my way to warn people away from those providers. The second and preferred standout is a great experience. I go out of my way to recommend them whenever I can. I like to reward a positive or great experience, don’t you? And that experience is not just limited to the actual service someone provides but it also includes the interaction I had with the person who actually did the work.

At a conference I spoke at yesterday initiated by Tanya Cole of the U.S. Commercial Service of the Department of Commerce, one of the discussions I led was about just that – the VALUE EXPERIENCE and how it impacts you, your career, and your business. It was held at Hofstra University’s Zarb School of Business and was well attended by women and men interested in exploring international expansion for their businesses and their careers. Each of the speakers (I’m seated in the middle) presented different tools, skills, and resources professionals and business owners need to achieve their goals. My area of focus, no surprise here, was how to power up and leverage their personal and corporate brands.

I defined Value as being made up of  two components. The first component of Value is the concrete – the actual work you do, the service you provide, the product you sell – the way you help those you work for or those you sell to, to solve some problem or fill some need. It’s the basics of what gets you in the game. What helps you differentiate you from everyone else is the second component of Value, and that’s the intangible part of the equation. I call it your secret sauce.

Your secret sauce is all about the experience others have working with you or buying from you. It’s what differentiates you from everybody else who does what you do, but can’t do it in the same way. It’s composed of the ingredients that are specific to the way you do your job, provide your service, or sell your products. It includes your history, your experiences, your unique skills and talents, your personality, how you make others feel, how you show them you care.

The Value experience makes someone recommend you, hire you, promote you, become your brand ambassador. It’s what drives them to action.

What’s your secret sauce? If you need help defining it, then contact me.

Storytelling is Not Just For Kids

Mary Rosenbaum | April 12th, 2012

I believe so strongly in the power of your story that I am giving away a free ticket to a terrific virtual storytelling conference (Reinvention Summit 2).

Why do I think storytelling is so important? Personal Branding is all about understanding what makes you special, what helps you stand out, and what you can do to spotlight what’s great about you. As I have written before, your personal brand is about all of you – your passions, your values, your interests, your talents, your skills, your thoughts about the world – and how all those came about – your story.

When I read a book I always like to know more about the author – where they came from, where they live, a little about their family – basically any insight I can glean adds to my experience of reading the book. The popularity of magazines focused on TV, music, and movie celebrities attests to the demand fans have for background stories and insider information. The same holds true for you as a professional. The more people know about you the more they remember, the more there is to like, and the better they understand why you do what you do. Your back-story is what creates an emotional bond. Decisions involving functional needs (hiring, promoting, etc) are heavily impacted by emotions. So learn to create that emotional bond.

Here is an offer you can’t refuse. I snagged an extra ticket to Michael Margolis’ Reinvention Summit 2 and I am making it available to one of you. It’s a virtual conference that starts next Monday and runs for a week. It’s all about storytelling in a business environment. Check it out and if it’s of interest to you then follow these instructions:

Here is how to snag your free ticket:
Write to me and tell me why (in no more than 200 words) attending the summit would be good for you. There are no guidelines except to say that the argument should be compelling and attending the summit should be in line with your career/business/future goals and NO MORE THAN 200 WORDS. You can email me at email hidden; JavaScript is required with your pitch. I will respond to the winner by Sunday evening. Good luck and I look forward to reading your stories!

P.S. Pass it on to your friends!

What Are They Saying About You?

Mary Rosenbaum | March 22nd, 2012

What do people say about you when you leave the room? Generally speaking, if it was a professional situation, they would mention your title and responsibilities. If it was a more relaxed environment, they might talk about your character, how easy or difficult you are to work with, your values and how they impact the way you deal with others, your aspirations, and even your family situation.

Your personal brand is more than just your title and responsibilities. It includes the actions you take that directly reflect your values, your passions, and your aspirations. Your personal brand, your reputation, is constantly changing as your actions reflect your experiences, your challenges, and the influence of others. But no one action can define your personal brand.

The big buzz over the past couple of weeks has been the very public way in which Greg Smith resigned from Goldman Sachs. He has definitely altered the way people think of him – those who know him and even more to the point, those who never heard of him before but now have a strong opinion of him.

I have heard people say that he has really branded himself. But as what? There are many different points of view as to the motive behind his actions. He has been labeled moral, vindictive, whistleblower, spoiler, spoiled, hypocrite, honest, dishonest, and I could go on.

One act does not constitute your personal brand. Personal branding is all about who you are in your entirety. Not a reflection of one action – but – that action is incorporated in your brand. Whatever Mr. Smith decides his next step will be, it will define and strengthen the direction his reputation, his brand, will take. It will provide added insight into who he is and why he did it.

Your personal brand is always a work in progress. A few years ago I’m sure Mr. Smith didn’t have a clue that he would make this public declaration nor be the focus of so much discussion and conjecture in the news and on the airways. His action was a result of some experience – one that affected how he viewed the world – his values and sense of purpose. By taking this strong a stand Mr. Smith has impacted his reputation, his personal brand, but the direction is still anyone’s guess.

How about you?

– Do you know what others are saying about you?

– Have you defined your personal brand in a way that accurately reflects who you are today and hints at what you want to accomplish in the future?

– Do your actions strengthen your positioning of how you want to be known?

You are in control of how others view you. So don’t be surprised by what they are saying about you and take control of your personal brand.

For tips for entrepreneurs and small business owners these articles on FoxBusiness should be helpful.

Get my free report on Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Personal Branding Boot Camp – February 4, 2012

Mary Rosenbaum | December 12th, 2011

Make 2012 the year you take control of your career or business!

Whether you know it or not, you already have a personal brand. But is it the brand or reputation you want or need to get ahead in your career or business?

Working on your career is as important as doing a great job at work. It is easy to get caught up with deadlines, projects, and the everyday world of family and friends. When did you last take the time to evaluate where you are going in your career? And even more importantly, do you have a clear understanding or awareness of where you are now, what makes you unique, how others view you, and how you want others to view you?

Give yourself the best gift possible for the New Year – an opportunity to take a step back so you can take an important step forward!

The goal of this workshop is to enable you to:

–       leverage your strengths

–       be more memorable

–       enjoy greater visibility

–       have greater self-confidence

–       deliver on your brand promise authentically

–       increase your self-awareness

–       stand out from the crowd

–       enjoy greater job/career fulfillment

Workshop details

The February 4 all day workshop is limited to a small group to facilitate learning and participation. Through individual and small group exercises, you will:

–       define your goals and construct an action plan to help you achieve them

–       understand your values, how they affect what you do, and how you do it

–       learn to inject your passions into your world of work

–       define how your skills, talents, and abilities differentiate you from the competition

–       identify your target audience and determine ways to reach them

–       clearly articulate how you want to be known

–       work on defining and building your personal brand

Fee Includes

  1. An interactive all day workshop including individual and group work exercises led by Mary Rosenbaum.
  2. A workbook you can continue using and modifying after the workshop is over.
  3. A 360Assessment (cost of $150.00 included in fee).*
  4. Of course, breakfast and lunch.

*See below for a detailed description of the 360Assessment


Feedback from former workshop participants

What they found valuable How did they change?
“Understanding my differentiator, what’s valuable and how to speak to it.”

“Stating my goals – that I can do it!”

“Personal branding and how it can help or hinder you in achieving your goals.”

“The 360 Assessment made me aware of how I come off to others.”

“The 360 let me see how others view me. It felt great.” (the 360 assessment was mentioned consistently in the reviews as a positive eye-opener)

“The section that asks you to do an action plan-forces you to review everything and decide what is most important to you.”

“Action planning around 360 feedback.”

“Understanding your differentiation-helps structure your brand.”

“Defining values and passions.”

“Personal stories and how they were inspired.”

“More aware of the impact I have on people.”

“More aware of what I project and how I have control.”

“Clarified what actions I need to take to achieve my goals.”

“Understanding the strengths I need to enhance.”

“More self-aware.”

“Be more confident and trust my instincts.”

“I have even more confidence that I am doing a great job and that people recognize it.”

“Being more aware of how I come off and continuing to build my brand.”

“A heightened sense of self-awareness.”

“Re-igniting my passions (I had lost sight of).”

“Living my values.”

“Identifying the strengths I need to amp up or shine a spotlight on and bring my passion more into my work life.”



Who is this for?

–       professionals inside organizations and entrepreneurs who want to improve the way they communicate and articulate their unique value added

–       client facing professionals who need to differentiate themselves from their competitors

–       professionals who need to better align their reputation with their professional goals both inside and outside their organization

More About the 360 Assessment:

Integral to the program is the 360 Reach Assessment, the first and leading web-based personal brand assessment that will help you get the real story of how you are perceived by those around you. It provides the critical feedback you need to expand your success and continue thriving in a competitive business environment.  The first phase, the self-assessment and the raters assessment, will be assigned as pre-work before the workshop so that each of you will have your complete report with you when we meet as a group.

The assessment focuses 99% on the positive, on your strengths and abilities, as the personal branding process is all about highlighting those attributes and qualities that help you stand out. It takes the raters you select (friends, family, colleagues, managers, clients) only 10-15 minutes to complete this on-line assessment.

This assessment has already been taken by more than 700,000 people worldwide and the reviews are outstanding. The personal branding process cannot be completed without an understanding of how others view you. Why? Because it’s critical to know if how others view you is equal to how you view yourself.

So Take The First Step to Taking Control of Your Career in 2012

Give Yourself the Gift You Deserve.


9 Steps to Building Your Network: Learn From Strong Leaders

Mary Rosenbaum | November 29th, 2011

One of the benefits I derive from working with clients on their 360 assessments is the ability to see how certain skills and talents appear consistently in the assessments of many successful professionals and leaders.

One of the key brand attributes that usually ranks near the top is their ability to build vast networks and communities across their companies, their industries, as well as outside their immediate sphere of influence.

What is it about them or what do they do that makes them such great networkers and community builders?

Based on my analysis, I see it as a combination of specific actions geared to building a network, modifying some behavioral traits so you are someone who is sought out by others, and leading with those values that makes others want to be in your network or community.


1. Provide great follow up. Timely follow-up is the first step for turning a casual encounter into a strong tie.

2. Develop good listening skills. Communication must be a two-way street. Some people have said the ratio should be 80% listening and 20% talking. Real relationships are built on learning how others think and what they need.

3. Be helpful. In order to build relationships, giving is even more important than getting. Provide assistance, make connections, and reach out on behalf of others. Make sure that your helpfulness is not geared to getting something in return.

4. Stay committed. You must be committed to building and growing your network- it takes a lot of energy to seek out those who you can help and who can ultimately develop into your brand ambassadors.

5. Be dedicated. Building a strong network across the various areas of your life takes time and patience – and lots of it. Make sure you dedicate the time necessary each week to building your community.

Behavioral Magnets:

6. Be positive. A positive attitude is a magnet. People like to be around you when you give off positive energy. The glass half-full always trumps half-empty.

7. Spread your enthusiasm. A can-do approach makes you someone who others seek out. It is like putting out a welcome mat. Genuine enthusiasm is contagious and helps motivate others to action.

Lead With Your Values:

8. Be trustworthy. Trust is the basic building block for growing any relationship. It is also the basis for doing or being in business with anyone.

9. Be sincere. Inauthenticity is easily seen and felt. Give, help, listen, and befriend, because it benefits them, not you.

So whether you are a salesperson, an entrepreneur, a lawyer, a manager, a small business owner, or new to your leadership role, following these steps can help you grow your network, build out your community, and achieve the success you want.

I know there must be others to add to this list. Please share them with us.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum empowers careerists and entrepreneurs to gain greater clarity and more effectively communicate their unique promise of value. Strong leadership means leading with your strengths. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru

Personal Branding: It’s All About the Suit

Mary Rosenbaum | November 16th, 2011

Since when did personal branding become the same thing as putting on a new suit, having a change of heart, or changing your hairstyle? It seems as if there are many opinions and just as many misconceptions of what personal branding is about. Some of them include:

Personal branding is about

–     how you dress and how you look

–       how your website looks

–       how you want other people to see you

–       who you aspire to be

–       packaging so you can sell “you”

–       fascinating others

So what is personal branding?  It’s about knowing who you are, what your strengths and talents are, aware of your distinctions and differentiating qualities and abilities, and the value you provide. It’s about having the confidence to live in your own skin and be who you are in all you do.

Personal branding is important in today’s culture because people want to take control of their lives, their jobs, and their careers. Knowing your strengths and how you are unique and memorable – and living it – is a place we all want to be – a state where all is good with the world. It’s a place of authenticity.

Having a strong personal brand is not a guarantee but it is a major advantage in moving you forward in your career or your business. At work and at play we are attracted to people who are confident in who they are and what they can deliver. Confidence is the result of self-awareness, and that is the basis of a strong brand.

Personal Branding is not about packaging or fascinating or deciding you want to be a different person. It’s not about that new suit. It is about putting in the work to learn how you can leverage those areas of strength and distinction so you can be all of who you are in everything you do.

On another note, I am really excited about a one-day in-person workshop I am presenting at the end of January in NYC – Personal Branding Boot Camp.  This one day event is for professionals who want to develop greater clarity on what makes them memorable and their service or product unique so they can stand out from the competition. Whether you work in finance, law or real estate, are in sales, or are an entrepreneur or small business owner, here is a great opportunity to learn more about what makes you stand out and how to leverage it.

I usually deliver this workshop inside organizations for their high performing professionals. For the first time I am offering it to you. I will be limiting the number of participants in the group and keeping it small enough to allow for everyone’s participation. More information on this event will be forthcoming in a few weeks. In the meantime please email me with any questions.

Grow Your Network – Leverage Your Brand

Mary Rosenbaum | November 2nd, 2011

Part of leveraging your personal brand is communicating it to and connecting with people who are in your target audience. After all, you want those people who are in a position to be your brand ambassadors to know about you.

The key is to expand your target audience beyond its current parameters – but in a meaningful way. This is not a numbers game. I am not encouraging you to increase your followers on Twitter, friends on Facebook or contacts on LinkedIn. Instead I am advocating a deepening of those relationships if they merit it and expanding your circle to include others that fit your parameters.

What do I mean by that?  Take a look at your existing network. A good way to do that is to look at your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter contacts and how they aggregate. Are they relationships that can expand your reach into communities that include your target audience? If so, do they have a good understanding of the value your bring to your organization or your clients? Can they be your brand ambassadors? A broadening and deepening of your relationships will ensure that the answer to those questions is yes.

Clients always ask, “how can I expand my network?” If you work inside an organization, don’t make the mistake of just focusing on your managers and co-workers. It’s just as important to communicate and ultimately develop relationships with those outside your organization. When you think about it the people you know and communicate with regularly (those you work with and for) already have a pretty good idea of who you are and the value you provide. It’s those people outside your organization and outside your close friends network that are the ones who can provide you with:

–     new information

–     new ideas

–     new contacts

–     exposure to different opportunities

Here are some ideas for expanding your network.

–     Join an organization – professional or not for profit. Participate in a meaningful way so you can form relationships and allow your personal brand to shine through.

–       Increase your communication with people you see only once or twice a year. If possible, off-line always trumps on-line.

–       Introduce your friends and professional contacts to each other. Be generous with your contacts and they will be eager to reciprocate.

–       Contribute to the success of others. The goodwill that generates from this practice is priceless.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum empowers careerists and entrepreneurs to gain greater clarity and more effectively communicate their unique promise of value. Being a strong leader means leading with your strengths. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru

It’s Your Reputation, So Handle With Care

Mary Rosenbaum | August 18th, 2011

What are you doing to build, nurture, maintain, and grow your reputation? With all the hype about social media it becomes easy to take your eye off the ball of what really drives your career and your business. Whether you are in sales or some other profession, an entrepreneur or a small business owner, your number one focus should be your reputation. Your reputation includes much more than the work you deliver. It says a lot about you as a person and your company as a reflection of you.

Everyone has heard of word-of-mouth buzz – the holy grail of marketing. Every experience is stored in the mind with a story attached to it. Your brand is only as strong as the stories people tell about it. The stories we spread are either about what really upsets us or what makes us really happy. Maintaining and growing your reputation, your brand, depends on the stories that reflect the positive results rather than the negative surprises.

This summer I had an opportunity to work with a number of small businesses and service providers across a variety of industries. On a scale of 1-10 very few would receive a score higher than 6 and there were three that fell well below 5. Would I recommend them to others? Not in good conscience. Are there stories based on these experiences that I pass along that are less than flattering? Yes.

So what did they do wrong? The bottom line was that the experience of working with them was so unpleasant that it became memorable, in a negative way. So in spite of the fact that they ultimately completed their respective assignments the word-of-mouth buzz was not positive.

But we can all learn from their mistakes. Here are my suggestions for actions you can take to help you maintain a strong personal brand and a stellar reputation.

1. Manage expectations and eliminate negative surprises. If you find yourself unable to deliver on time or deliver what is expected, keep your client or your boss informed as quickly as possible. By managing expectations and keeping them in the loop you involve them in the process, are able to ask for their input, and make them partners in your success.

2. Tell the truth. There is nothing worse than losing your credibility. It’s not great to have to deliver bad news but if you lie and are found out you risk losing a lot more than if you told the truth. And the reality is, you will be found out eventually.

3. Communicate regularly and keep everyone informed of your progress. Returning phone calls in a timely fashion is imperative in maintaining a good relationship. Especially when you have bad news to deliver because no news is worse than bad news. Keeping your clients or managers in the dark by simply dodging their calls or emails only raises their internal barometer and puts them closer to exploding rather than understanding.

4. Under-promise and over-deliver. When pitching business or a project make sure your proposals and time frame are realistic, the results attainable and the ultimate costs in line with your experience and their needs or budgets. Failing to deliver on promise because of poorly thought out or researched proposals and strategic plans will not help you build strong and lasting relationships with your clients, your managers, and your colleagues.

If you communicate and collaborate with integrity and honesty you will all have a better experience working together. Mistakes happen, issues occur, and circumstances change. Unless you take ownership and step up to accept responsibility your brand will diminish in the eyes of those who work with you or your company. And you can bet on it – they will spread the word.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum empowers careerists and entrepreneurs to gain greater clarity and more effectively communicate their unique promise of value. Strong leadership means leading with your strengths. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru

Feedback: Is It a Gift or Castor Oil?

Mary Rosenbaum | August 2nd, 2011

How open are you to feedback from those you work with and for, or even from friends and relatives? I know from past experience that praise goes down real easy. Constructive criticism, no matter how couched the wording, goes down like castor oil – it may be good for you but it tastes really bitter and you want to spit it out as quickly as possible.

Yet, how can we learn so we can continue to earn? How we view and judge ourselves is very much like the way we see ourselves in the mirror. The mirror I look at is different than the one that others hold up in front of me. To prove it let me ask you this question:

Have you ever walked down the street and caught your reflection in a store’s plate glass window? Is it the same image you see every morning in your bathroom mirror? I know for a fact it isn’t the same image for me or for most people I know. Seeing yourself with “fresh” eyes can be an enlightening experience.

Obtaining feedback from others is a great way to see yourself with “fresh” eyes. But only if you let yourself really hear what they have to say.

Recently I had an opportunity to provide feedback to my friend Carolyn, a real estate broker. Quite by accident I found out that a neighbor of mine had spoken with Carolyn about renting a house and came away from that conversation with the belief that Carolyn no longer wanted to work on rentals. Of course, this could not be farther from the truth as Carolyn relies on converting rental clients into buyers as well as benefitting from their positive word of mouth advertising. Yet, this recent exchange had just the opposite effect.

I thought this would be a great opportunity for Carolyn to learn from this past exchange how she misrepresented the value she provides clients –  her brand –  and think of different ways to handle this in the future. Instead, Carolyn made this conversation all about how she did everything right and how the client was the one at fault. To further minimize the impact of this feedback, Carolyn ended by saying that this client’s opinions really did not matter. The feedback went down like castor oil – spit out as quickly as possible.

As someone who specializes in helping clients understand, communicate, and leverage their personal brands, I know that one of the main ingredients in the branding process is being clear on the impact you have on others (seeing your reflection in a different mirror). Why? Because in your personal and professional life, your reputation, how you are known, will always precede you.

You are always trying to reach your networks network so you have to know: What are your followers going to say to theirs? What information will Carolyn’s former client be passing along to others? And what impression has Carolyn been conveying to her other clients?

How others view your work and the value you deliver may be different than your own perceptions of how you come across. Here are a few ways to continue to learn so you can earn:

1. Solicit feedback. Ask those around you for ways you could improve upon what you do for or with them. They will feel flattered that you think their opinion is valuable. By having them try to help you get better or clearer on the way you work makes them feel like partners in your success.

2. Be courageous and be humble. Rather than becoming defensive and going into attack mode thank them for their honesty. Let the words sink in. Go back and think about what you heard not from the standpoint of how you felt when you heard them but rather how these words apply to what you know about yourself versus how others see you. Most importantly use these comments to help move you closer to where you want to be.

3. Reciprocate with honest feedback and become a partner in the success of others.

For those of you who have the courage to gain a better understanding of how you impact others and how this affects your career or business, contact me for information on how an online 360 assessment can help you highlight your strengths and define your brand.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum empowers careerists and entrepreneurs to gain greater clarity and more effectively communicate their unique promise of value. Strong leadership means leading with your strengths. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru