It’s easy to be cynical about Hillary Clinton’s statement about finding her voice in the snowy streets of New Hampshire. For heaven’s sake, here’s a 60-year-old woman who has been in public life most of her life just discovering who she is – Geeze.
“Over the last week, I listened to you, and, in the process, I found my voice,” she said in her New Hampshire victory speech.
Yet, I think Hillary was reacting to the over-scripted reality of political life. She was saying that she finally could let a little of her personality show beneath her tightly-controlled public image. The public “ice lady” had melted a little. And, boy, it felt good.
Politicians normally are masters of personal branding. Their campaigns are slogan-ridden (tag lines in branding terms), and personality- and message-driven. Hillary’s problem has been that her softer side often got lost in her endless thrust to stay on message. It’s an important lesson for personal branding. No matter how professional we are and what we do, part of how people evaluate us is based on our personality. It’s often said that people hire people that they like – that their gut says will work out.
Regardless of how wise that is, the fact is that people make decisions, conscious or not, based on how they relate to us. It’s a simple fact of human nature. The important point is not to contort your personality into something you’re not. And you always want to maintain a professional image. But at the same time don’t be afraid to let people see some of your personality. It’s what makes you human and what got you where you are today. What do you think?
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