To stand out, an idea I started developing in Fit In Or Stand Out?
and 4 Tools For Connection,
simply means to be remarkable
to use Seth Godin's
term. It is not about being ostentatious. Seth defines the word remarkable
in its most literal way: Being worthy of remark. Standing out is about being distinctive, or distinguished.
Being remarked about, or third party endorsement, is the way we used to get known long before the days of social media. Being remarked about was not and is not restricted to business, it is a social idea too. You meet friends and network because someone remarks about you. Think about it; how many husbands and wives met each other because someone remarked about them to another? When you walk into a room of people you don't know and someone introduces you, they are remarking about you. If there is something remarkable about you, they may mention it and create the social curiosity that oils the wheels of connectedness.
How many books have you read, how many movies have you seen because someone remarked about them? How many restaurants have you frequented or explored a new store or online site because of a remark someone made about it? Being remarkable is the way others get to know about you, and amidst today's media and marketing clatter, it is the only effective way to get known - and the cheapest.
Being remarkable, or standing out, is the most unostentatious way to promote yourself, your personal brand or your business. In fact you don't do the promoting at all, others do it for you. All you do is be authentic to yourself at all times, be the very best you can, and don't try too hard to fit in!
Being the very best you can means that you don't allow others to set the standards of what "best" means for you. If your excellence is defined by others, even by the very best practice of others, you will fit in
but you will not stand out
. Fitting in, even with the best, is not remarkable. To stand out and be remarkable you need to be or do something that very few others are or can be. This is not as challenging as it sounds, because if what you do is a reflection of who you are at your deepest authentic self, then no one else can be who and what you are. (For the guidelines on how to discover that deep self and build your brand around it, both personal and business brands, read Lead By Greatness
Here are five areas in which you can immediately stand out. None of these actions alone will necessarily create the remarkableness
of your brand. But consistent awareness and application of attitudes like these will help you create a composite brand that is both authentic to who you are and remarkable.
1. The way you write:
Today, many people experience you first and often mostly, in writing. This means you have to write remarkably. The need for brevity in email and text has stripped these media of individuality and style. Still, there are ways to stand out.
2. The way you speak
- Without sounding pompous ever, develop and use a vocabulary that is accurate but a notch above the rest in its sophistication.
- Avoid generic adjectives like nice and great.
- Avoid repeating words in the same sentence, find ways to reword your sentence without repetition.
- Raise the bar of your grammar and spelling (don't rely on autocorrect -- especially if you're using an iPhone!) it's very important. Reread before you hit send. Learn from experts sites like Writamins are helpful in improving your language usage.
- Be courteous even when you need to be brief.
- Treat every email (or even text), as an opportunity to stand out.
3. The way you dress
- Address people by their names.
- Speak clearly.
- Using slang and jargon helps you fit in but not stand out - avoid it.
- Never use course language.
- Unless you are both seated always stand up when speaking to another, even if they are younger or more junior than you.
- In conversation focus on understanding more about them and their story than on sharing yours. People enjoy being heard before they want to hear. Here are 10 simple tips on the art of conversation.
4. The way you bear yourself
- Develop a sense of occasion - sensitivity to where you are, with whom and for what reason.
- Dress with a dash of your own style but always within the range of accepted fashion for the occasion and gathering in which you find yourself. Fashion informs your general appearance, not the detail of what you wear.
- Dress just a notch above what everyone else does at that occasion. Style is not about cost, it is about style.. and a little bit of thought and effort.
5. The things you do
- Bearing is important. Don't slouch even when you are seated in a comfortable chair.
- Stand and walk with a sense of direction and some urgency, a sense that you are someone who is on the move, not stagnant.
- Learn how to use body language, especially hand movements.
Life experiences add to your uniqueness. If you spend your leisure time watching the same TV everyone else is, reading the same books, articles and internet postings they are, you will think like them and have the same conversations they do. Boring!
- Avoid the mundane! Seek out experiences that are different. Wander through parts of your city and natural environment that others in your circles don't often do. And take good notice of everything you see.
- Seek out authors of books and articles that are different; perhaps they come from a different culture or educational background than you and your peers. Get hold of foreign movies and TV shows. Don't be put off by subtitles.
- Seek unusual destinations for vacations and even for day or weekend trips.
A little elitist? not really. People who are not willing to put in the effort to up their own game are quick to label those who do, as elitist. True elitism is exclusive. Upping your game is a strategy of differentiation that is open to everyone. After all, isn't brand building and competitive advantage about elitism
and don't most people aspire to elite brands? Provided you connect well with and care about people of all types all the time, your uniqueness becomes something others admire, aspire to and remark about. In today's climate you and your business must stand out to thrive. Distinguish yourself - go for it!