After a very short lived business meeting last week I found myself on a rooftop patio exchanging pleasantries with a couple colleagues over a cold Stella (or two). As the afternoon progressed the social interaction began to expand beyond where our table was situated and eventually landed me in a lengthy conversation with a complete stranger. The small talk commenced and amidst our dialogue she (playfully) gestured that I was in marketing but did not know how to market myself, which had me thinking…
Majority of people who have access to a computer (or smartphone) are already connected to at least one of the big three social networking platforms; Facebook, Twitter and/or LinkedIn. This should be the starting point for any up and coming professional. Ten years ago it was all about being in the right place at the right time. Social networking has forever changed the landscape of the professional world providing connections, opportunities and interactions to anyone with access to internet. These platforms can help you get that foot in the door but can only take you so far, real life interaction (Oh God not that!) is where you really need to distinguish yourself.
Making a great first impression is imperative. These first encounters set the tone for any relationship (professional or social) and can be very difficult to undo. Aside from the typical “firm handshake, eye contact & big smile” touch points, there are other elements to focus on that will separate you from the crowd. Individuality in itself is crucial. Express your personality (within context) throughout your dialogue, mannerisms and even your wardrobe, ‘uniqueness’ can go a long way in leaving a positive impression. Be sure to exude these characteristics not only on first impressions but throughout your day to day interactions.
One particular article that I thought exhibited an effective approach was written by columnist Susannah Breslin (Forbes). The clip reads:
It’s not you, it’s “you.”
“One of the biggest challenges for those who are selling-themselves challenged is an inability to separate who they truly are from who they are as a product. There’s you — imperfect, conflicted, fallible — and then there’s the “you” you’re selling — awesome, cool, superhuman.
Don’t sell yourself well? Think of “you” as a superhero version of yourself. Make a list of your best qualities. Dress the way SuperYou would dress. Talk the way SuperYou would talk. Be SuperYou. Role play. It’s a part. Experiment. This is play.”
Developing these qualities in a personal sense can translate directly into the professional world. Exhibiting the ‘superyou’ in the workplace can provide an increased opportunity and growth within any industry. The ‘super’ qualities possessed will allow you to thrive in the development at any professional level. Be adaptable, have 100% confidence in all of the work you do, and don’t be afraid to experiment.
“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” –Stephen Hawking
For any professional, established or entry level, the above dialogue covers just a few points on how to separate you from the rest of the crowd and excel in any industry. It’s the small things that make the difference; a minor tweak here and there can take you a long way both professionally & personally.
Find below a very funny video on first impressions.
Below are the links I used to help write this blog: