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Behance : Present Yourself: Self-Marketing is OK!

Present Yourself: Self-Marketing is OK!

By Behance Team

MeCreative achievements seldom happen in isolation. A big part of making ideas happen is controlling how you come across to others. Of course, the Creative's tendency is to say, "who gives a crap what other people think." While there is merit in never compromising oneself for the sake of another's opinion, creative professionals need to make an effort to be understood. You need to present yourself effectively to engage others and get the support (and the business) you need to push ideas forward.

Do you feel that your strengths come across in your everyday interactions? Every meeting, phone call, email, and resume or portfolio sends a message of who you are and what you are about.

Let's start with a simple situation. You are about to interview for a gig, meet a new potential client, or tell someone about your project. Do you have a clear objective of what you want? Sounds simple: You want the work. You want the business. You want someone to be engaged by your work. While these are all noble objectives to have in mind, they are unlikely to help you during the meeting. After some consideration, you may realize that the most important outcome from the meeting is to be remembered. Or maybe you need to address some obvious risks that may concern people? Perhaps you have a few strengths or claims of credibility that you need to get across?

Presenting yourself professionally requires a communications strategy!

  • Be Notable! Identify the components that differentiate you. How do you stand out amidst the other options? Incorporate the elements that make you unique in your story. Whether it is your introduction or the pitch for your project, make yourself memorable.
  • Identify your relevant strengths, especially the ones that come from labor-intensive experiences (as these are the most credible). So many artists will pitch a project and fail to even mention their years of apprenticeship with another well-known artist. Put your strengths out there, and share the story behind them.
  • Do a candid assessment of the risks someone might find in working with you (especially those that are obvious). Then identify the strengths and differentiating characteristics that best minimize the risk. For example: If you're new on the scene (risk: unprofessional, unreliable), you'll want to highlight the past projects you've been involved with (albeit unrelated) that demonstrate your dependability.

Once you identify the components of your communications strategy, your job is to emphasize them. Every introduction and pitch that you make is an opportunity to put your "communications strategy" to work.

Get over the stigma around self-marketing. Nobody will represent you better than you. Take your aspirations into your own hands — as you are the only one that truly cares. If you fail to serve as the steward of your career, you might as well quit dreaming of the possibilities. •

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6/11/07