Full disclosure: Iím obsessed with standing out. Iím always fine-tuning my communication strategies to ensure that Iím visible, memorable, unforgettable and the reason is simple: Too much information. Iím competing with voicemail, email, instant messaging, blackberries that have the power to distract, confuse and letís face it, exhaust everyone Iím trying to get in contact with. As an entrepreneur, I need to use my unique personal style to stay on the radar screen especially in a world thatís mostly virtual.
What about you?
It doesnít matter if youíre a company of one or an employee of a large corporation, the secret to getting ahead is to work smarter not just harder. That means to use all the weapons in your arsenal to create a personal image that can instantly connote the professionalism, competence, elegance and joie de vivre that makes you an asset and enables you to stand out.
Creating value by being terrific at what you do is a given. Demonstrating through your personal image how you create value is what defines a high-performer.
So whatís the best way to do this? I believe in the basics: I love cheerful people. I love when people take pride in what they do, whether itís dispensing the frozen yogurt machine in Bloomingdaleís "40 Carrots" restaurant or sending an email that begins with an upbeat salutation.
I believe in handwritten thank you notes. Not just after a job interview but all the time. Whenever thereís a chance to let someone know that you appreciate them, grab it. It will serve you well. I love phone calls returned within 24 hours. I appreciate acknowledgement of an email. Iím a sucker for punctuality Ė it says a lot about how people respect my time as well as their own.
I shine my shoes. Not because the Wall Street Journal says most people do not get second interviews because their shoes are poorly cared for. Absolutely not Ė I shine my shoes because I want the world to think that if I care about the little details, Iím terrific at the big details, too. Call it the shined shoes/competency/high performance connection.
I love people that are hip to the zeitgeist and value perfect, old-fashioned manners. I appreciate it when a man or woman stands up when I enter the room and extends their hand in greeting. I love when someone holds the door for me.
Making a mark in this stressful and depersonalized world takes imaginative thinking. So imagine yourself confident, polished, self-aware and empathic to others. Itís a great start to a successful and long-lasting career.