You can either stand out or fit in. This is one of my favourite quotes is by Seth Godin. What are you doing to stand out from the competition?
Tell Your Story
When you tell your story, bring who you are and your core values as you open up and share who you are. Make it interesting and keep it light and concise. There is a fine balance between sharing your successes and bragging.
People want to hear about your successes. They also want to hear about challenges you faced including some of your failures and how you over-came them or the lessons you learned.
I enjoy meeting new people every day, asking for them to tell their story and to share my story. Most of the time, we develop a trusted relationship, we become business associates/acquaintances and sometimes friends. Oh almost forgot, many times it does lead to business!
Focus on developing the relationship first, business second. Tell your story and watch how you stand out.
Bring the Energy
Another meeting? You know the meetings I am referring to where they are time consuming, huge slide deck and downright boring. Well you can actually change the meeting whether you are running it, attending or one of the presenters.
Positioning yourself in the room is your first step. Arrive early. Always arrive early. Mingle with everyone. Get to know the layout of the room, the attendees and the agenda. Decide you are going to be an active participator and not just a "bobble-head".
I tend to either sit in the middle of a large room or near the front. In a boardroom setting, I tend to sit facing the entrance next to the head of the table (or I take the head of the table if running the meeting).
Prepare before attending by knowing the material so you can ask questions, make comments and understand the flow of the meeting. When you ask questions, bring a loud voice and ask it with confidence. Make comments to support the topic and again be confident. (Loud means not whispering and not shouting either). Be heard. Make the people in the room think. If they are not following, explain your position and walk them thru it.
When the speaker is asking for feedback and the room goes silent as it does in most meetings, be the one who stands up and keep the dialogue going. Energy is contagious and it's usually a very few who bring it. Decide before entering the room you are the one who brings the energy and stands out.
Be Persistent and Consistent
Are you waiting for a call back or e-mail reply? I have a hunch all of us answered yes. Do you feel some of them will not and you will have to reach out to them? Sometimes we are guilty of being one of these people who either forget, lose the information or just don't seem to find the time to get back to someone.
OK I will not repeat the three keys here about following up (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like the keys).
Make it one of your priorities to follow up. Be the one who is persistent and consistent on following up. The caution here is to not "stalk" or be too aggressive yet don't wait too long or give up.
Being persistent and consistent looks something like this: when you have a meeting, you are the one who sends an e-mail the next business day thanking them for the meeting and/or summarizing the discussion and action items as applicable.
When your solution or service is implemented, you follow up within a reasonable time to ask for feedback and if there is anything else you can do for them.
You are the one who sends a not to say thank you for a referral or thank you for connecting on social media channel or following up with the people you met at the networking event the night before suggesting a coffee chat to continue the discussion.
I joke you have to get up really early to beat me to the punch! When someone does it makes me think of them as someone who really gets it and cares.
Stand out today, tomorrow and everyday by implementing some of the ideas above. As always I look forward to hearing your ideas how you stand out.