A lot of people feel that it is difficult to stand out in a crowd. From my clients in particular, I know that large groups of people can be anxiety provoking and stressful. A lot of us feel like we need to put on a mask and go out there and promote ourselves. Ick!
That’s why I want to share with you my top five ways for how you can stand out in any crowd without losing your authenticity:
1. First impressions matter, so make sure that you get ready in a way that supports your authenticity.
Ask yourself what kind of detail about your appearance makes you really feel like yourself. I had a client once who really felt that her hair conveyed who she was. She had beautiful, dark curls that were her signature look. People remembered her by that. The reason this matters is because we all know that remembering names can be difficult, so help people remember you by giving them a visual clue.
2. Be just as good at listening as you are at talking.
And I mean really listening. That means you have to make eye contact with the person you're talking to. It means you reflect thoughtfully and with attention to detail to whatever is said. It doesn't mean that you offer solutions or your own thoughts right away. Allow another person’s words to consume space by asking them deepening questions, such as where a particular idea came from, or if they could elaborate on a certain topic.
3. Play the connector role.
Introduce people to each other with a paragraph synopsis about what you know about them so far. It doesn’t matter if you're at a friend’s birthday party or at an event where nobody knows each other. Be generous and welcome people to join your group. People often feel uncomfortable joining groups, but if you are the one inviting them to join, you will stand out in their eyes.
4. Don’t be afraid to speak your opinion.
Just because everyone agrees doesn’t mean you have to or that you should. There are tons of ways to express your opinion without being offensive or inappropriate. Start your sentence with something like this: “I hear what you're saying, but there's also another side to the story…” or “From my experience, I've found that…” You'll stand out if you say what you really think and the people that really matter will respect you more for it. I guarantee that when they're looking for honest feedback or a conversation that goes beyond the good old “me, too” or “I agree” exchange, they'll come find you because you've proven to be an interesting, courageous, and authentic person.
5. Dare to be the positive (and funny) voice.
There's nothing that builds an authentic connection more than joint laughter. I cannot tell you how often I have witnessed people bond over negative things (job dislike, feeling stressed, bad dates, and worst of all, gossip). The problem with that is that, even though it might feel good to air out your frustrations, it is not a great way to distinguish yourself. Instead, think about how you can position yourself as someone who sees the good, who spots opportunity, who can shine light on situations that seem dark at first, and who can approach life with a sense of humor. If you can do this, I will guarantee that people will seek your company.
But now over to you: How do you make yourself stand out? What are you secret tips and tricks to distinguish yourself?