The packaging, fashion and cosmetic industries – just to name a few – count on us judging a book by its cover. The outer wrapping – the marketing spiel – all determine how you perceive a product. Sadly, this applies to you as well. Better self-packaging or in HR terms a better completed appraisal form could help get you the recognition and compensation you deserve, or even more. In the PR world there are specialists who write application forms for awards for brands. In a large organization an appraisal form is just as important – it captures what you’ve done in the past and what you plan to deliver in the future. But I’ve yet to come across someone who hires a professional communicator to complete their form. More likely it’s completed in a hurry just before the last date. You might be a super engineer or doctor or financial specialist but you might not be very good at telling your story. Others less talented than you might benefit because they are better marketers. Hmm.

Typically we struggle – particularly in the Asian context – with praising ourselves or saying how good we are. It is also hard to remember all the good stuff we did a couple of months ago and we focus on the most recent stuff. Quantifying our deliverables is also a skill that not everyone has. How can chatbots help? Rather than having employees fill up a form that gives them lots of flexibility – but no support – what if a chatbot walked them through each aspect? If it made certain questions mandatory, say, the quantifiable benefits of their work. What if it pointed out the consequences of not attempting certain questions or answering them superficially? In other words it could play the role of a writing coach.

I hear some of you saying that the work should speak for itself. That’s a product of our culture, where we tend to believe more in a hierarchical structure. You can check out the Hofstede parameters for India vs US to understand how our background shapes how we behave.

So how many of you are queuing up to buy the new Mahindra bike? Not heard of it? Ah, that’s because through a complicated arrangement it’s being launched as the famous Jawa. New engine, legacy narrative. Companies invest in brands because they know that it differentiates their products. People should not shy away from doing the same.

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