Your personal brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room. So how do you go about creating an effective personal brand?

Don’t make the mistake of thinking your personal brand is all about you. It’s not. Your personal brand is not about your work experience or your personal accomplishments. Your personal brand should be about other people, specifically what you can do for other people.

Focus on your professional development. Knowing your strengths and future areas of focus puts you in the driver’s seat in your own career, helping you understand what the next steps are that you must take and what goals to set for your development and overall success.

Think about your target market and research their values and beliefs. Perhaps your target audience is your board of directors or maybe your industry peers.

Ask your target audience questions in order to understand what makes them tick, what they value and what is of interest to them. Now consider your skill-set and identify the gap in your target market that allows you to align your skills with the values of your target audience.

Build your elevator pitch. You want to tell your audience about what you do, about what makes you different and exciting. Create a short message that sums up what you’re about in a way which connects with your audience. Keep it simple and memorable.

Define your values. Authenticity is the cornerstone of personal branding. Your authenticity is what allows your audience to build trust with you, to engage with you, to tell others about you.

Being authentic is about having stated values and being true to them.

Your values might be focused on accountability or driving innovation. Alternatively, they might be focused on corporate social responsibility, diversity or environmental awareness.

Keep your values at the heart of everything you do, as you interact with people, network on social media or when dealing with clients. Wherever and whenever you engage, ensure you do so in a way that is aligned with your values. Over time, you will build your personal brand.