Do you stand out in your industry? Are you the exception or have you chosen to be average? Have you even thought about it? Well, if you are anything like me; an intense, recovering perfectionist with super high standards, then I know you have given it some serious thought. The question is; what have you done about it? If you want to stand out in your industry then you need to be the exception! This includes not only being a rock star at delivering results but how you present yourself. If you want to stand out from the crowd, your appearance, body language and behaviors talk before you ever have the opportunity to say a word, so why not focus on kicking it up a notch or 2 or even 3 or 4? Let me ask you this question; how many times have you seen a colleague, peer or even a manager not show up in the best possible light? Many professionals consider their image as an after thought and think their work will simply secure the next opportunity or promotion. Being the exception is more than doing your job well. To be the exception, you need to be the total package. The total package consists of your professional presence and style, verbal and non-verbal communication skills, business etiquette and social aptitude – yes, you do need to know which bread plate and wine glass is yours at that important business dinner and you also need to make others feel comfortable so you can build trust and rapport. Coupled with all of this is your attitude. It speaks volumes about how you operate and where you are headed. So if you haven’t done so already, it might be time to evaluate your image and determine how you can become the exception.
Identify three areas that you could improve on over the next month and put an action plan in place to do it. After one month, evaluate where you are and continue to the process. Clue in a few close colleagues or peers to get feedback.
Here are some ideas to help you start the process:
If your style needs a boost then take a look at your clothes and figure out what needs improvement – do you need an upgrade, tailoring, updated styles, less casual options? A polished appearance tells everyone you have your act together, care and value yourself and others. It speaks VOLUMES!! I have written a numerous blog posts to help you build a killer wardrobe that tells the story you intend. You can start by checking out “3 Steps to a Killer Wardrobe,” and “5 Ways to Stand out from Your Peers.”
Are you an effective communicator? Have you built strong professional relationships? Are you perceived as confident and credible? If not, this is an area you may want to focus on. Reach out to your boss or a trusted colleague for feedback and guidance. When I needed to improve my communication and presentation skills, I worked with my manager and took classes.
Body language can silently sabotage you. Sometimes we don’t realize our body language is inconsistent with our verbal communication. If you are a shy person or become nervous in meetings this is an area you may need to work on. Again, ask your manager or colleague to observe you during a meeting and provide feedback. Read through “How to Turn Nonverbal Cues in Your Favor,” for advice on how to make body language work in your favor.
Brush up on business and social etiquette. Since so many people lack these skills this is an area where you can really shine. Take a look at my post “Ready to Rock Your Next Business Lunch or Dinner?” for guidance.
Attitude is one of the biggest things that can help you stand out and be the exception. In my corporate days, I was known as the “can do” person. A positive, can do, solutions focused attitude will help you leap frog your competition.
Now get moving and share your results. I’d love to hear from you!