A confused mind never buys

Apr 17, 2024
A confused mind never buys

Find Your Superpower newsletter 053

Read time: 4 minutes

Topics covered: Branding, blue-ocean brand, networking


At any industry networking event, we usually start a conversation by asking the most natural question, “What do you do?” or “So, tell me more about yourself!”

We wait for an answer.

And when the other party does respond, they do so with either a left-brained response (“I work as ABC in company DEF) or a right-brained response (“My goal as ABC is to achieve my mission of XYZ).

Both answers are fine, really, because all of us are either left-brain dominant (literal, factual, evidence-driven) or right-brain dominant (creative, abstract, intuitive).

But then, in both cases, there’s inevitably a pregnant pause.

While we attempt to remember their name and job (“Ok Juliana, come on, you can remember this… John Doe works at Acme Company doing business development… John Doe Acme business development... John Doe Acme business!”), while we furiously digest that information with all the brain cells we can muster as the majority of them go on strike or drown in red wine, our counterpart suddenly smiles and adds:

  • “But that's not all... I’m also a life-coach-mom-dad-public-speaker-charity-board-member.”

  • “But you know, I’ve recently also started working on this really cool new project… let me tell you about it! “

  • “Oh, scratch everything I just told you. I’ve actually just tendered my resignation and I am currently leaving company X. I’m making a career transition to Y industry and Z sector.”


We wince.

Brain cannot compute.

We have officially lost the plot.

Multiply this encounter by 20-30 people at the event, and it is no wonder that our brains resemble mush by the end of any networking session.

Need I point out that we also forget everything they said the next morning.

If our brains were a laptop screen, you would see a blue screen of death.


More is not merrier

At my corporate seminars and six-week virtual bootcamps, I frequently run seven-word exercises where my participants have to come up with their professional brand and share it with others.

These days, I remind my participants of some ground rules: the seven-word brand has to refer to one brand.

I make it a point to remind them, because in the early days of running this exercise I would get answers like:

“I am X and Y.”

“I do A, B and C.”

Even when given the highly restrictive constraint of seven words, it is common for us to try to sneak in multiple brands, because of an ill-informed belief that more is merrier.

We think that with more subjects to talk about, we sound more impressive. More successful. More robust.

Let’s shift gears to what I see on LinkedIn. According to a popular saying (source unknown), “A confused mind never buys.”

But on LinkedIn, I read posts that end with 5-6 call-to-action prompts in a row:

  • Please subscribe to my newsletter

  • Follow me on LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok

  • Turn on the bell on my LinkedIn profile

  • Buy my on-demand video course

  • Book my 1:1 consulting time on Calendly

  • Please like, share and comment on my post


Let me give you an analogy here: have you ever been to a buffet and found yourself confused as you look upon rows and rows of food? For a brief moment, you don’t even know where to begin.

Or, have you reviewed a restaurant menu, and instead of a well-curated list of dishes that the chef is excellent at, you find 100s of dishes that you could pick from? You are overwhelmed by the choices available.

Can one restaurant really deliver 100s of dishes exceptionally well?

I highly doubt so.


A strong brand requires brand discipline

If we want to develop a strong professional brand for ourselves, we need to instill a little bit of brand discipline.

That’s assuming that we have a clear brand positioning in the first place. Frankly, many senior professionals (and myself, for the longest time) have never formally considered how they want to be perceived by their target audience.

Here’s what I suggest:

First, we must develop self-awareness and empathy for our target audience. We must be aware of any attempt on our part to overdose our audiences with multiple brands, some of which could create mixed signals and potentially contradict our primary, revenue-positive brand.

Second, we must develop the self-restraint to avoid rattling on like a broken telephone at a networking event. When the person across the room goes silent, that’s OK. They are probably still trying to remember our name and job, the most basic nuggets of information that we assume they have grasped instantly.

Please give this a try at your next networking social.

Find out for yourself if a little brand discipline results in you achieving better long-term brand retention in your audience’s mind.

And if ever in doubt, less is more.  


Thanks for reading issue 053 of my weekly Find Your Superpower newsletter.

For those of you who are new to my newsletter, Find Your Superpower is subscribed to by 36,000+ people, and discusses the following three goals: (1) Making a career transition, (2) Professional branding on LinkedIn, and (3) Reinventing ourselves for the future of work.

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