Pitch This: Storytelling as a Means to Enhance Your Personal Brand

Pitch This: Storytelling as a Means to Enhance Your Personal Brand

Sandra Vieira Vasconcelos (School of Hospitality and Tourism, Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Portugal) and Ana Balula (ESTGA, University of Aveiro, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6605-3.ch006
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Abstract

The following chapter describes the design and implementation of a teaching and learning strategy that aimed to explore the affordances of storytelling when it comes to the management of students' personal branding skills. Designed to help students craft their online professional persona and produce video-based pitches, this strategy was developed taking into account the concepts of personal branding and digital storytelling, as well as a preliminary questionnaire focusing on participants' perceptions. Having been implemented within English for Specific Purposes classes, this strategy was successful in promoting students' engagement and making them aware of the importance of having a strong personal brand, something that can be enhanced through contemporary storytelling methods.
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Background

At a time when networking and social media have become paramount, particularly for recruiters, it is important that HEI are able to adapt and develop strategies that help students navigate these complex and, at times, murky platforms. Moreover, students must be made aware of the importance of engaging their audience by telling a compelling story, which can be shared across different media, employing different methods and techniques. As this is part of an ongoing, never-ending process, developing transferable skills such as self-awareness, critical-thinking and digital competences is key.

Defined as the “strategic process of creating, positioning, and maintaining a positive impression of oneself, based in a unique combination of individual characteristics, which signal a certain promise to the target audience through a differentiated narrative and imagery” (Gorbatov, Khapova & Lysova, 2018, p.6), the concept of personal branding can be associated with the creation of a professional image to apply for a job. Enhanced and highlighted by social media, this image should reflect not only your technical skills and expertise, but also soft skills, the ability to communicate efficiently and correctly on multiple channels and platforms.

Key Terms in this Chapter

English for Specific Purposes (ESP): A subset of English as a foreign language. It refers to the teaching of English that focuses on developing communicative skills in a particular field or occupation. ESP courses are designed to meet the specific needs of the learners, with reference to the particular vocabulary and register they require.

Personal Branding: With a strong connection to marketing, personal branding is an extension of the concept of branding. It applies to individuals, allowing them to create a unique image, based on their features, experiences and skills.

Elevator Pitch: Short presentation, based on the idea of being in an elevator and having only the time of the ride to pitch an idea or product.

Pixar Pitch: Based on the standard structures of Pixar films, this storytelling and presentation model follows a six-step structure, which establishes a sequence and includes a resolution.

Digital Storytelling: The convergence of telling stories and the use of images, audio, text, and video.

Twitter Pitch: Using the format of a tweet, this is a type of presentation which consists in telling a story (or summarizing your CV) in 280 characters or less.

Online Persona: The social identity that internet users project, where an online persona is an expansion of your real-life identity. It is based on what you publish online, and it can shape other people’s perceptions of you.

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