Is Your Profile Picture Helping or Hurting?

... and should you change it?

I changed my profile picture on my social platforms this week 

from Hawaiian Shirt Rick RR to Coronavirus Rick 2020-05-14'

Why? (because you know that I have a reason)

Here's what I'm thinking....

Our communication success is actually the function of three attributes.

  • Our body language >60%
  • Our tonality <30%
  • The words we use <10%

You can see many versions of the communication pie here.

In the old days, we used to teach salespeople effective body language because that was 60+% of the quality of there communication. Smile, twinkling eyes, open arms, standing up straight, etc.

Ten years ago, reps used to say, "I'm not good on the phone, but if I can get a meeting, I'll get a sale." It's kind of like the second profile picture. Can't see my eyes twinkle. Can't see my smile. When a rep is on the phone, body language isn't visible. So, tonality becomes three times as important as the words they use. That being said, many reps don't know the impact that body language has on tonality even if your prospect can't see you. So, we taught reps to stand up and walk around when they're on the phone. Think about it. Sitting scrunched at your computer... Your diaphragm doesn't let air through. Looking down at your desk forces you inward. Looking out a window opens your mind to possibilities. Who would you rather talk to?

I'm not trying to make this a complete makeover. It's best for me to listen to someone talk and debrief the conversation as it goes. Even the words you use are important. They're usually regarded as <10% of the quality of your communication, but still, that's 10%. So, look vs see vs observe mean different things to different people. I remember an ESL co-worker that told a prospect that he would provide someone to overlook the team. Huh? He meant oversee the team. Quite a difference. I typically teach reps to ask, "I'm thinking ______, but I'm not sure that it's the right word. What word would you use?" It doesn't make you look dumb. It does make you appear to want to be on the same page with your prospect, not the other way around.

So, quick recap. Face to face, body language is important. Telephone, no video, body language influences tonality. Coming full circle, are you using Google Meet or some other video conferencing platform? Doing a video call with your family, fine, but if you're talking to a customer or prospect, make sure that your body language syncs with the rest of the pie. There's a gazillion tips out there. Read them. Talk to somebody. Practice.

Finally, Is your profile picture helping or hurting? I remember a guy whose picture was from just above the eyebrows down. When I met him he was bald. There's nothing wrong with bald, it was a surprise. I'm sure that you've seen profile pictures that were 10+ years old, kids, dogs, things or missing. When you hop on the call, will you fit with their expectations? Are they expecting 3 piece suit and a Windsor knot, clean cut with swearer, or shoulder length hair? Especially while quarantining, will the person that shows up have any resemblance to your profile picture and if they are surprised at the difference, is it OK?

So, let me ask you? Why did I change my profile picture? Answer on LinkedIn, Twitter or privately.

Remember that I have free coaching slots on my calendar. So, if you want to talk about how to increase the effectiveness of your communication, book a call.


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