Yesterday I presented to students at Boston University. Most of the concepts and thoughts I mentioned during my talk where reflected in my previous presentation at the University of Massachusetts last week. The difference this time is that I decided to focus is more on the marketing and career development aspects of personal branding, while keeping it general enough that they could put everything in context. I was unable to record the presentation, due to some technical difficulties and I must say that it was my best one yet. I put the students through the exercise of choosing between four different cars: a Dodge Ram truck, Ferrari 360 Modena, BMW 645ci convertible and a Jeep. The four brave students selected their cars and explained why they did, concentrating on how they describe themselves in relation to the car. One student said she was a Dodge Ram because she had a hard exterior.

The big moment was when I explained how schools teach you about history and math, but not how to get a job, which is the main reason why you go there in the first place. Everyone agreed on this, as well as the professor. Then I clicked the slide and it animated with a picture of an empty classroom, with the words “personal branding” on the chalkboard, to symbolize how this is the future of education.

Each presentation I give, I use a famous brand to make a point. Oprah was the victim this time and the first word that came out of someone’s mouth was “rich.” I pushed them further, asking them to focus on her behaviors. The goal here is to recognize that a name and a picture are important and that we are all known for something, whether it comes from someone else or the individual. You will also notice my “Personal Branding Toolkit” slide, where I expose all the tools you can use when you create your brand, such as a video resume, business card and CD portfolio. My favorite slide is the one that mentions basic blogging tactics and methodologies. There is a picture of a 7-year-old on the slide, to show that anyone can start a blog and there are no excuses.

I really tried to keep the social media part focused, such that Facebook, LinkedIn and blogging were the highlights. What I find challenging is describing social media, without expanding into Digg, and all the other items we see everywhere. I really tried to hammer in that life is about networking. I said “look around, your network starts in this classroom.” Every college student has to understand that its the network that is going to allow them to bypass the standard recruiting process and uncover hidden jobs. I had one slide that said 80% of your time should be spend on networking and 20% on traditional submission methods. I ended with some action items, such as purchasing, starting a blog, joining and Facebook and to viewthis blog and Personal Branding Magazine, which are great resources if they have further interest in this subject matter.

Again, I’m noticing that schools, as well as companies, are far behind, but in order to prepare them for the future, we must start today. This is my calling and I hope to have your support as we help breed the new worker of tomorrow.

My Presentation

[slideshare id=313039&doc=keynote-boston-university-1205895771167608-3&w=425]

Feedback from students

  • “Really enjoyed your advice. Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us and I really want to use what you said!”
  • “Tom Peters would be proud; you have created a “raving fan” in me.”
  • “Dan, hey i really enjoyed the presentation tonight. I am going to get on LinkedIn and the weblog site. I guess I will just have to keep updated on LinkedIn, any other pointers on the blogging would help. I just am not too familiar with the concept but am intrigued. Thanks.”
  • “Thanks for coming to our class to speak- very informative as I am graduating in May with a BFA in graphic design. Thanks again.”