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Photos of women attending a meeting to hear Dorothy Lazovik, Director of Wyldewood International , make a presentation. She is a leading image and personal brand strategist. (Tibor Kolley)
Photos of women attending a meeting to hear Dorothy Lazovik, Director of Wyldewood International , make a presentation. She is a leading image and personal brand strategist. (Tibor Kolley)

Grow: Mia Wedgbury

Strongest corporate leaders cultivate personal brand Add to ...

As CEOs, we invest in our clients and our teams every day. It’s what drives business and it is always a key focus.

But where we often fall short is seeing the value in investing in ourselves. And this week, I was reminded just how important that investment is.

With every move, every talk, every interaction, we contribute to our personal brand – not just the brand of the company we represent. The strongest corporate leaders cultivate their own trademark, a brand that their employees, investors and colleagues can invest their confidence in and stay loyal to.

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A few weeks ago, I started planning my presentation for our company’s annual all-staff meeting. I wanted to create a keynote that would celebrate successes, reignite passion for our vision and inspire my team to do things they never thought possible.

Most importantly, I didn’t want to bore the heck out of them.

I had a powerful message to share – and with only one chance each year to reach out to the whole company and impart strong words they could believe in, I wanted to make sure I did it well. So I partnered with Toronto-based digital media company BlueMoon Productions to integrate high quality multimedia and simple storytelling into my presentation.

I know what you’re thinking – budgets are tight, and the idea of paying someone to professionally produce an internal presentation sounds like an unnecessary expense. That is what I thought too, until I met BlueMoon creative director John Crampton.

“To some, it appears to be a hard cost with a soft return – when really the return is almost instant,” Mr. Crampton says. “It is amazing how many people go with a presentation that is really mediocre looking ... It doesn’t match the message, and it doesn’t match what you hope the return should be.

“I’ve never met a CEO or an executive at any level that doesn’t have something they’re trying to tell people. Sometimes the message just gets shrouded ... and everyone goes to sleep.”

We all know what he’s talking about: laser pointers, bulleted lists, and endless teeny-tiny text taken out of the corporate handbook. This may be cost-effective in the short-term, but these are the presentations that direct your audience away from the message and negatively impact your image as a leader.

Mr. Crampton works with clients across all sectors to take their messages and make them “sharper, smarter and to the point.”

“The Internet and smart phones have all caused us to take our information in shorter bites,” he explains. “People are turning away from traditionally made presentations that take too long to read and are too complicated. Simplifying is important, and getting messages across rapidly is important.”

We often put a lot of thought into how we look and how we present our companies – but it is so important to put that very same consideration and effort into how we present our messages, and how we relate with our teams.

“The goal is to empower a CEO or an executive with a presentation that they are so comfortable making, it allows them to develop or extract the passion from the group of people they are talking to,” Mr. Crampton says.

Investing in your personal brand may seem like an extra you don’t need to invest in, but the payoff will be huge almost immediately.

Special to The Globe and Mail

Mia Wedgbury is president of the Canadian region for Fleishman-Hillard Canada and its sister company, High Road Communications. She has more than two decades of experience in creating and growing award-winning communications agencies. Her experience spans many sectors, including financial, technology, consumer and lifestyle. She works in partnership with her clients to build brands, mitigate risk and shape communications strategies.

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