In the unprecedented times we find ourselves in, standing out from the crowd is no longer a differentiator – it is a career essential. But knowing where to start is often the challenge.
The first step is to consider your personal brand – what do you stand for and what do you want to be known for? Think about what makes you distinctive in your particular space and what your competitive advantage is. This will drive what you do; the way you show up and how you promote yourself.
Next, start to think about practical ways you can differentiate yourself from colleagues. Here are a few ideas:
- Cut through the email clutter – get personal
Everyone makes use of email because it requires little effort, but we all know that people are busy and a mail may just sit unopened in a cluttered inbox. While email is very effective in certain situations, like dealing with complex matters or sending specific details to someone, sometimes picking up the phone is the quickest way to get a response, and to stand out from everyone else. Replace some of your emails with telephonic discussions – it creates more of a personal connection and will enhance your personal brand. Be empathic to peoples’ situations – especially in the times we find ourselves. Sometimes a call or message to say you are thinking of someone can go a far way in building equity for your personal brand.
- Rethink how you present yourself
There are many people out there looking for opportunities. Think about different ways you could convey your message. For example, telling a story is a great way to get people to connect with you and to highlight your key point in a way that people will remember. Start to think about how you can better communicate the value you deliver – can you quantify your projects in the context of who you are communicating with
- Become a visual thinker and communicator.
There is a reason that adage rings true: a picture paints 1000 words. People tend to respond to images, so why not use them? It is easy to include compelling images and video clips in your communication. Try to reduce the words and up the images.
- Change the way you behave in meetings (zoom as well)
Contrary to what many believe, the people who stand out in meetings for the right reasons are not those who talk the most or the least, but those who add value. Are you listening well or playing on your phone? Put your mobile device away, pay attention and you will be able to ask useful questions, make helpful suggestions and then summarise what’s been said at the end. I know someone who says nothing during a whole meeting and then at the end summarises what everyone has been saying with an action slant. It leaves an incredible impression.
You don’t have to make massive changes or do something wild to stand out – it’s about thinking about all the ways you can add value, highlight your strengths and how you can make more impact. Rather than focusing on how to beat your competitors, look at how you can up your own “wow factor” and you will be guaranteed to stand out from everyone else.