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Be Different. Become Different

Look at the above picture once more and see whether you can spot yourself. You can’t right?

Standing out from the crowd has become one of the most daunting and challenging tasks of our personal and professional lives. More so in your professional lives, because that’s where our dough comes in from.

But let’s not ignore our personal lives, because that’s where our emotional support comes in from

We struggle everyday, listen to podcasts, look over our shoulder to see what other people are doing. Or read numerous books to enhance our image and personality.

But in the midst of all this and with our overly complicated lives, we conveniently forget the basics. We ignore the KISS principle

Over the last 23 years, I have built relationships with many Senior leaders, CXOs and Partners, and the 3 most vital things that I have learnt is that whatever you do,

  • you got to give it more than 100%
  • has to be a genuine effort
  • has to be consistent

All these learnings and experiences have given way to some amazing moments that has revolutionized my relationships with people.

So here are the 7 most Epic and simple things that you can do to stand out from the crowd and be different —

Show up Early

Be it a conference or an internal meeting, arrive before time to mingle and network with people. Most of the people show up late for various reasons. Some people go to the extent of purposely turning up late, as if that will enhance their image of being a super busy guy.

If you are early, not only you feel good about yourself — but you will also get to catch up one-on-one with some key individuals and make an impression.

These are the opportunities where you can even get your approvals or get a buy-in on your brilliant ideas before the official meeting kicks in.

As we all know once the official meeting starts, you will have people with their own opinions and view points which might just derail your brilliant idea

Above all and especially at conferences or networking events, by showing up early you get to have meaningful conversations with some important people and get to exchange numbers, or set-up future meetings.

Because when the crowd builds up, people become busy bees and there is hardly any time share personal notes and attention spans take a nose-dive

Fill Up The Glasses

When you are in a meeting and decide to fill up a glass of water or pick up a bottle for yourself, offer to fill up glasses for your colleagues as well. Or just get bottles of water for them. Everyone will appreciate it.

And because hardly anyone does it, you move into the spotlight and seen as a person with no ego. This helps to build equity amongst your colleagues.

Word of caution — Do it for everyone in the room or don’t do it all. If you do it only for your Boss, then it may just backfire.

Learn To Look Behind

Hold the door for the person walking behind you. Most of us are so busy trying to get through the door as fast as possible, we rarely give any thought to people who are behind us. We hardly look behind, when we are in a rush.

So take a moment to look back, before you let go of the door. Hold it in a manner which allows the person behind you to walk through easily.

And if more people are walking through, just be patient and hold on to that door. Keep that smile on your face while you are at it. More often that not, someone else will volunteer to hold that door for people.

If not, just keep on smiling. It does not hurt.

And if you are seeking an acknowledgement from people for whom you are holding that door (since many times people don’t acknowledge your gesture and they just walk through as if you don’t exist), look them in the eye while you are holding the door.

This forces people to also look you in the eye and hopefully you get that smile or a Thank You

Get Up & Make It Personal

Since we all are drowning in the same ocean called — Technology, its become very common to wish people through a Whatsapp or FB or even LinkedIn.

The worse is when one posts an appreciation message for their colleague (who more often than not is practically sitting next to you) on a LinkedIn wall for the world to see.

You see when you do that, you are making it impersonal straightaway.

You are doing it because somewhere deep down you want the world to see how good you are, you want people to carry a positive image of yourself, you want to see the comments, the likes, the thumps-up, everything.

You want to be seen as the giver, the person who is appreciative of others, the person who is better than everyone else due to his deeds. Stop showing off. Start making it personal

You really want to appreciate your colleague or team member? Walk up to your colleague, who is practically sitting next to you, or on the same floor, or on the same campus.

Go shake hands, have a little chat, give a pat on the back. Make it count, make it different.

And maybe take that person out for a drink or a coffee if time permits. Only after you have done atleast one of these personal gestures, then you earn the right to post an appreciation message on any social network to applaud her.

And if the person is on a different campus, city or country — then pick up the phone and call that person.

Don’t be lazy. Don’t give an excuse. Just get on with it.

Make That Call

Your customer’s birthday coming up? Don’t send a whatsapp or email. You will kill the gesture. It’s a great opportunity for you to make it personal and build a strong relationship.

Call that person and wish her on the phone, even if its for brief 2 minutes. Those 2 minutes are the best investment you can make in your relationship with your customer.

Now, if I were you — I would have already made some efforts early on to find out my customer’s hobbies or interests and send her a book on her birthday. Doesn’t matter if the person is an avid reader or not. You do your part.

If you can hand deliver it, you get that rare face time with your customer. If not, just get it delivered with a hand written note. Sure, it takes time to write a note — but so does a Whatsapp message.

Send Flowers & Create Delight

Customer’s wedding anniversary coming up? If you are not tracking that, then you should. This is elementary. Be that guy who remembers your customer’s wedding anniversary.

Send a Bouquet. Make it grand. Delight your customer.

If your customer does not remember anything about you after 10 years, I can guarantee you, she will remember definitely you for the flowers. And trust me to it applies to men as well.

Everyone loves flowers. Its about breaking the age old myth, challenging yourself and doing something unexpected & different

Shower Genuine Praise

Everyone likes a little praise. So why hold it back? Look for opportunities when you meet people and praise them for how they look, what they are wearing, what they are carrying. It could be anything that catches your eye.

The only important thing is to make that praise sound genuine. Anything less than that, it will lose its effect.

So if you meet a guy, praise him for his tie, his shirt, his jacket, his shoes. It breaks the ice and your conversations will start on a different note altogether.

And if you meet a woman, praise her for the outfit she is wearing, the purse that she is carrying or even her hair. Don’t hesitate. Just be mindful that it has to be subtle and genuine.

If you are unsure about praising some of her personal traits or her attire, then praise her for her work or her team. I can guarantee you it will change the dynamics of the conversation and relationship that you develop with her

Final Thoughts

When you do all these things, you differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack. You build that personal equity. You create long lasting relationships in a way that is way different from anyone else.

You get sought out by people around you. You become that person who people didn’t expect you to be.

You start embarking on a journey to become Different.

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