Welcome to the Influence &IMPACT email letter, and a big thanks for subscribing. I really appreciate it! Focus of this fortnightly communique is on building, in a thoughtful way, a personal brand that people recognise, respect and trust. How can we establish our public voice, build credibility for that voice, extend the reach of our voice, and finally, extract value from the recognition and reputation we build? We cover that, and a wee bit more. Onwards!

Photo by Andrei Ianovskii on Unsplash  


Sunday, April 11, 2021 | Melbourne, Australia


Greetings fellow earthlings!

The power of vulnerability. Can you believe that Brené Brown's famous TED Talk on this very topic has just clocked up 10 years on YouTube?

We hear leadership gurus talk about vulnerability all the time, but rarely do we see leaders publicly embrace "uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure," as Brown puts it. Go figure!

But I do think the practice is becoming more prevalent at the smaller end of the market, with 'local' thought leaders and entrepreneurs - who are also active content creators and participants on social media - putting themselves out there a lot more online. 

This is a good thing. Indeed, it's very powerful!

From a personal branding perspective, exposing our thoughts and our flaws - becoming more vulnerable in our talks and presentations, in podcast interviews and in the content we produce - is a brilliant way to effectively connect emotionally with our audience.

And isn't that the holy grail of content-led communications? Emotional connection and resonance?

Telling personal stories and articulating lessons learned are good ways to engage audiences.

That said, I don't think many people would find this sort of thing easy, especially if it required them to expose the raw nerve of a shitty time in their life.

But there's no denying, it works in terms of connecting and engaging with people at a deeper, potentially more visceral level, whether on-stage, on video or a podcast, or through the written word. The format doesn't matter, but the content does. So too does the authenticity in which that content is delivered.

So, what does 'personal brand' vulnerability look like?

Here are some real-life examples that have caught my eye:

Acres of Diamonds (blog article by author and content strategist, Sonja Nisson)

  • "A couple of years ago, I walked away from my business, Valuable Content, for good reason. If I’m honest, after 20 years of it, I’d lost my mojo. I’ve been on the hunt for fresh direction in my work ever since."

The single word that changed my life (blog post by author, speaker and marketing thought leader, Mark Schaefer)

  • "It took time to un-learn my old habits and shed a lot of baggage that was pushing 'anxiety' to the top of my emotional hit parade. I had to learn how to stay centred and confident in stressful and emotional situations."

(Mark discusses his vulnerability journey here)

From socially anxious to super-connector (email newsletter from Eli Trier, "community building mentor and connector of kindred spirits")

  • "For a long time I just avoided any kind of social situation, or hid behind the people I knew well. Eventually I found a workaround by becoming an odd, diluted, what-I-thought-was-socially-acceptable version of myself. Oh, and alcohol helped too."

(I chatted to Eli about connection and community here)

I do a lot of work with Tristan White, founder of The Physio Co. I've watched him evolve from a workplace culture expert who was quite prescriptive with his systems and processes, to the personal leadership mentor he is today, someone who is connecting at a deeper level with his audience through his blog, podcast and Culture is Everything Club, an online membership community he launched last year. 

Now that Tristan has started to open himself up a lot more publicly, so too the guests on his Think Big Act Small  podcast, some of whom are also part of his online community; this in turn is making the show compelling listening for entrepreneurs and up-and-coming business leaders.

(Here is an example of Tristan using his personal story to make a point about the importance of leaders getting the balance right between empathy and accountability).

Personally, I could get a lot better at this whole vulnerability thing in my own content. I know it works: this article I wrote - 'How I went from nervous wreck to professional speaker' - was well-received when first published.

What about you? Do you speak, or are you creating content? How much of yourself are you giving? How much vulnerability are you showing?


What are you reading?

I'm juggling a few books at the moment.

I recently finished (and got a lot out of) Mark Schaefer's excellent Cumulative Advantage - I have interviewed Mark for my podcast REPUTATION REVOLUTION: expect the episode to drop next Sunday!

I'm really digging James Altucher's Skip the Line - he's a pretty amazing guy, if incredibly flawed. Speaking of vulnerability, as we were, Altucher lets it ALL hang out! Listen to his podcast to see what I mean!

Both of these books are ripe for today's chaotic times!

I'm interviewing Damian Corbet for my podcast in a week or so, so am a going back over his book The Social CEO. It contains a lot of gold for leaders who want to have a good crack at social media. 

What are you reading at the moment? Email me and let me know!


This video got my attention

Investing in Non-Measurable Serendipitous Marketing by Moz founder (now Sparktoro) - Rand Fishkin.

"Sticking to what can be easily measured often seems like the safest route, but avoiding the unknown also prevents some of the happier accidents from taking place."

Rand explains why it's important to invest some of your time and resources in non-measurable, serendipitous marketing.

(I agree - 'Harnessing the power of serendipity in business & professional life')


This quote got my attention

Writer Hugh Walpole on being a generalist and a specialist:

"The whole secret of life is to be interested in one thing profoundly and a thousand other things well."

Source: Reading: An Essay

(via James Clear)


Hit “reply”

I'm excited to be writing to you in this format. Let’s keep it personal!  I encourage you to hit “reply” and let me know what’s on your mind:

  • Got any thoughts regarding the content I’ve just sent you? Let me hear it!
  • Have a question? Ping it through!
  • Got a recommendation for an article, podcast, video or person-to-follow that you’d like to share, bring it on :)


Thanks for reading! Until next time ...




It's mic drop time folks!


Trevor Young | PR Warrior | Level 22 / 120 Spencer Street, Melbourne
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