By Ebunoluwa Sessou
Oxford alumna, Yvonne Ebbi is an author, an image consultant and a Social Intelligence expert with specialty in personal branding, executive presence and business etiquette.
The multiple author is the Lead consultant of The Etiquette Place; a corporate finishing school changing the narrative in matters of executive intelligence, best practice and proper public conduct. In this interview on her new book, “Finding Your She Spark”, she reveals the need for women to be deliberate in personalising their brand. Excerpts:
Why do you think ladies should learn etiquette?
It is not etiquette, it is personal branding and I will tell you why. In my course of interacting with women, I realized most women lack content. What I am trying to do in this project is to help them go beyond the content and have their self-worth, the courage to share, unleash their potential and talents. There are talented women and if they have the content and substance, they will go out there and fight for what they believe.
The first thing is to start up and grow your idea in the long run. My project is to help women fix things up. Women must understand their dream, realize it and put off discouragement. They must be seen and heard.
As women, we must refine ourselves and be ready to fire on. We need to enable women to realize what it takes to become a potential woman.
Women need to create a personal brand and it is a deliberate process; when it is done consistently and clearly, people will understand what you are saying and they will be able to place a premium on you.
Your personal brand is directly proportional to your perceived world. The way people perceive you depends on how you have been presenting yourself. It is your responsibility as a woman to empower people’s perception about you.
The onus lies on us as women to give room for equality in all areas of life. We should step up our game by creating a formidable personal brand that would become a culture which people can say about us without opening our month. It is who you are. It is your call and what you have been presenting the people would say about you. The onus lies on us to create that personal mental image for ourselves.
Do you think what women lack is a personal mental image, especially women in politics? There are equality imbalances even in the workplace. Do you think branding is what women need or there are other features?
Branding is self-worth. It is the way we present ourselves. Your decision must be deliberate and intentional. You must speak out and be intentional. You must always understand the power. It is what you have that the world will say about it.
Go on the field and be prepared. Learn the act of being real. Learn to understand how games are played. No woman can escape politics. You must understand the real work. Women have the content; they just need to understand the networking and feasibility in the game.
You mentioned that women cannot escape politics. How does branding change the narrative for women in politics?
Branding is about perception and that is where the journey starts. You create that perception about yourself and clear your interest for politics. Let people know you and stand by what you believe. When you declare your intention, stand by it. Let them know and it has to be intentional, even before you declare your intention.
Men leverage on networking but the women have allowed their brain to be closed to networking. As women, we must make a statement. You must be talking continuously for people to know who you are.
People feel it is wrong to oppose popular opinion. Branding is about being who you are. Your brand is what people say about you when you are not there and when you are there. If you do not say something in public or in a meeting, how can people identify you for who you are?
You must learn to speak out either verbally or non-verbally. You must make a statement. If you do not like something, talk about it. Be known for who you are, that way you are creating a brand for yourself. You must refuse to be quiet. You must be intentional about communicating your brand to the world.
How long did it take you to write the book?
I had a Masterclass last year for women on personal branding and that was my starting point. There were over two hundred women on board and some of their comments gave me some inspiration on what women are passing through. Then, I began to pen down my thoughts from last year. But it took me about two months to compile the piece into a book.