I’ve been wrestling with my persona.
In a class on writing Delightful Emails, taught by Matthew Kimberley, one of our tasks was to write a paragraph describing our persona, after answering a series of provocative questions. The idea is to craft a descriptive profile that is an amalgamation of how others see you + how you see yourself to come up with an amplification of how you would like to be seen by others. Essentially an amplified version of your best self.
Watch the video to hear about my process and a few of the questions to help you get to the end result. If you prefer to read vs. watch, the lightly edit transcript is below.
Who is Denise?
Since I shot that video (it’s on my IGTV channel), I’ve been tweaking like crazy. It’s still a bit on the long side…here’s Version #7 or 8:
Denise Wakeman’s motto is “Just say yes!” After a life-changing trek in the Andes, she embraced her inner Adventurer, and ditched the black business suits for a knapsack and hiking boots. As long as there’s wifi, Denise is a happy camper.
With map in hand, Denise’s curiosity drives her to explore and challenge herself and others to embrace the new: a marketing strategy or tool, a mountain to conquer, or seeking out new restaurants. She digs deep, is fully engaged, committed and eager to share what she’s learned.
Whether it’s a consult or hanging out with a glass of wine at happy hour, Denise is down to earth and shuns hype. But don’t mistake her laid back demeanor for lack of passion. If you ask her about Peru, social media, or any of her myriad causes, she gets quite animated!
Fiercely loyal, she is passionate about empowering others to experiment and let go of the little fears that are limiting growth, so they can say “yes” to the bigger adventures and recognize new opportunities, too.
I’m curious, what do you think? If you know me, does this description ring true to you?
Do you think I should add it to my About Page?
If you don’t know me, do I sound like someone you’d like to work with?
I’m thinking that updating all my social profiles with this profile may change the dynamic of the type of people who are attracted to work with me. I’ll keep you posted on that as I roll it out.
Give me a shout out in the comments and let me know. 😎“It’s what you do that makes you who you are and how you project that to others that makes you memorable.” ~Dan Schawbel
(lightly edited for better readability)
Hello friends, Denise here. I’ve been contemplating an exercise that I’ve been doing for a class that I’m taking with Matthew Kimberley. It is called Delightful Emails 101, because I have been feeling that I need to improve my writing skills, especially my email writing skills. Even though I’ve been doing it since the beginning of email, there’s an art to it. So, since I really, really, really love Matthew Kimberley’s writing, his style, his snark, but his heart also, I thought when he offered this program, that it would be a good fit for me. It has been.
Last week one of the things that we talked about and which became our homework, was to create a paragraph, a persona paragraph that we can use [as a guide] for how we convey ourselves through our email. Now, this is not creating a persona that’s a fake or who’s not you, but just how do we convey that person who we want to be known as for our audience. Matthew asked some good questions. We went through a long exercise that got us to the point to answer three questions and then put together the persona or that paragraph.
The questions are:
How would others describe me? That would be like your personality and also your physicality, who you are as a physical person out in the world. I have one friend who would say that I talk too much with my hands, although I didn’t write that down. She always is backing off when we’re talking in person.
The second question is how would you describe yourself? That’s a much more internal description. Who do you think you are? Use lots of adjectives to describe who you think you are.
Then the final question, and this is the question that you use to actually write this paragraph about your persona, describing your persona, and this is the person you want to be known as publicly. You know, online, in your emails, in your social media, on your blog posts. Again, it’s not a fake person. It’s who you really are and it’s been an incredible exercise to figure out how to describe that person without describing what you do specifically, but just who you are. Who do you bring to your interactions and to your work? Not what your work is specifically.'Who, who, who, who are you?' 3 questions to develop your public persona.
The question is, how would you like to be described?
So, we got this exercise last week and I’m the kind of person who has to mull everything. So, our next class was this morning and last night I finally was able to craft something because I just felt so unsure of how to express this. One thing that really helped me was an exercise that I did a few months ago when I took a visual branding course from Irina Leoni. She had us do an exercise where we asked our friends and family, colleagues, whoever we wanted to, clients, to tell us what they think our superpowers are. I remembered that I did that and I decided to find that content or find those descriptions … I think I sent out about 15 and I got back about 10. They were all from close friends, close colleagues, and my family.
I found those replies, so I put them all together in a document and then I highlighted the keywords that jumped out at me. There was so much consistency, using different words but meaning the same thing. That was really helpful to me because once I had that input from others, it was easier for me to write about who I think I am and then who I want to be seen as. I think I’m pretty much there already, but it was still a really good exercise to go through.
So, I invite you to do this as well. I’ll review the three questions here.
- How would others describe me?
- How would I describe myself?
- How would I like to be described?
So, out in the world how would I like to be known? How would I like people to describe me out in the world?
So, I am curious to know if you’ve done an exercise like this and what you learned from it. If you have not, would you be willing to try and share those results with me? I will share my result with you in another video as I’m still in the draft stage. I did one draft and it definitely needed to be edited. Then I did a second draft and it was closer. I did the third draft and it’s almost there.
As soon as I’ve got mine where I say, “Yes! This is the way I want it to be” I’ll share that with you. So, in the meantime, let me know. Answer these questions and see what you come up with, and let me know what it is. Okay? You can connect with me on Instagram, you can send me a private message on Facebook. Those are the two best ways to get to me. I would love to hear from you. In the meantime, have an adventurous day.
*The Who’s “Who Are You?” (1978) kept going through my head as I thought about persona and what it means to create one for yourself.
And now, for your listening pleasure… one of my all-time favorite bands with the drummer, Keith Moon, who left us way too soon.