This article is for information only and doesn't call for any action.

Hello! Today I will tell you how, with the help of some possibilities, you can find out the truth about people and what they think of you.

Your brand is what people expect from you. It’s your reputation. According to Wikipedia, reputation is defined as “an opinion about a person, typically a result of social evaluation on a set of criteria. It is important in business education, online communities, and many other fields.”

Reputations thrive on repetition. The more you exhibit the same behaviors, the stronger your reputation will become. “Strong” doesn’t necessarily mean positive. A reputation can be strongly negative. Strong is a reflection of the consistency of your actions; positive has to do with the quality of those actions.

Branding is based in authenticity. Being introspective helps uncover your brand; but it is only half the equation. Your brand is held in the hearts and minds of those who know you, so understanding what others think about you is essential for effective personal branding.

ometimes, you’ll find the most valuable data in the nuances of how people really perceive you. For example, you may see yourself as flexible and open-minded, yet those who know you may describe you as wishy-washy or indecisive. These nuances are crucial to uncover because you always need to deliver your brand in a way that translates into a positive experience for others.

Seeking feedback can also be validating. When feedback reinforces what you know about your brand, you can further deliver these strengths. When you see yourself as organized and analytical, and others confirm this, you truly own it.

In addition to validation, feedback informs you about differences between self-perceptions and external ones. Typically, this type of feedback falls into three categories:

1. Blind spots - external perceptions that you were unaware of

2. Overuse - when you are over-delivering on your strengths, making them more of a weakness

3. Interpretation - the nuances in delivery vs. perception.

Blind spots are those things you’re communicating without even realizing it. I had a client whose way of processing information was to lean back in his chair and disengage, ruminating for a period of time. What he didn’t know is that people thought he was disinterested. They didn’t realize that this was his way of being connected to what was happening. When he learned of these external perceptions, he decided not to change the way he processes information, but to accompany it with clarifying communication. He would say something like, “That brings up a lot of different potential solutions. Let me collect my thoughts and send you an email with my recommendations.”

Blind spots can work in reverse too. Maybe others recognize something positive in you that you don’t see for yourself. For example, I recently worked with someone in a workshop whose feedback coalesced around funny, humorous, witty. And when he dug deeper, he learned that these perceptions were seen as his greatest strength. His ability to defuse tense situations and keep his team laughing, lowered everyone’s stress level. He knew he was funny but didn’t realize that his humor was so valuable at work.

Overuse occurs when a strength turns into a liability. You are so proficient and so positive – saying yes to everything – that your work suffers because you are overcommitted. Or you are such a perfectionist that you devote too much time to a task, which causes you to feel overwhelmed. Your need for perfection may also annoy others. Feedback is a great way to explore the possibility of overuse.

Interpretation refers to those situations when you think you’re delivering a positive brand attribute, but it is being experienced in a less positive way. For example, I worked with someone who was very direct – and she thought her directness was appreciated by others. She equated it with being  “to-the-point,” efficient, transparent and honest. But when she learned that others see her directness as cold and uncaring, she realized that she needed to temper her blunt delivery and reshape it in a way that would be appreciated by others. After minor tweaks, she found that people asked for her opinion more often, and they began to value her input. Now, when she knows she needs to deliver information in a very straightforward way, – she precedes her message with,  “I am going to be really direct here and I don't intend to hurt anyone’s feelings.”

Ready to perform a reality-check on your reputation? Apply one or all of these methods. They’re easy to implement, and the payoff is big.

1. Review. Go through your performance reviews or client feedback forms. Read them with a new set of eyes. Look for consistency: which words or themes are repeated from year to year or client to client

Author : Henry Davis

Hello. I’m an author and international speaker. I’ve traveled the world full-time since 2009, moving to a new country every four months or so, each home determined by the votes of my readers.