How do you separate yourself from the rest of the schmucks?

Yeah, that’s the title of this post and I am curious to know the answer… Marketing and business strategy is all about positioning your business, service or product in a way that makes others notice your brand over those of your competitors.  Well, the fact of the matter is, the same goes for individuals.  You’re competing against a myriad of others for more money, better titles, a hotter spouse and unmatched business relationships. Whether you want to believe it or not, you are competing every moment of your life for one thing or another.   So, I ask you, how do you separate yourself from all the other schmucks?

When you are interviewing for a job, applying for college, trying out for a team, or asking someone to dinner –  what is it that makes you special?  What do you do or have that causes you to be noticed?  This is important, because most folks don’t think this way and are just flying by the seat of their pants,  wandering through life wondering why the other guy has the great job, goes to great events, and has all the right connections.  That wandering, wondering dude is thinking that the other guy with the great job is lucky.  Well, the likelihood is that it is not luck.  He did something to separate himself from the competition.  Maybe it was by accident, or maybe, just maybe, it was planned.

I get resumes all the time from folks looking to come work for us. Ninety eight percent of them are exactly the same.  Same look, same font, same format.   Guess what?  I’m not impressed.  If you’re the same as everyone else, why would I want to hire you?  We want exceptional people working with us, and so do most other companies.  That’s why recommendations from people you trust are so important.  Those endorsements help separate you from the pack.

One of the basic problems is that many people are lazy.  They want the great gigs and good fortune to just come their way, and do not want to invest the time necessary to make a difference.  It’s time to get off your ass and separate yourself from the competition.  It’s time to do that little extra.  There are many ways to do this, but let me focus on your next meeting.  Here’s a checklist of things you should be doing to help you stand out in a positive way.

Let’s call these the Ten Commandments of Being Fully Prepared for a Meeting:

1)     Find out the name and title of all attendees who will be at the meeting.

2)     Understand the dynamics of who reports to whom.

3)     Try to find out a few tidbits about each participant: college, hometown, family, hobbies, notable facts.  Something that will help provide a connection.

4)     Know the topic items of the meeting.

5)     Understand the purpose of the meeting and what is trying to be accomplished.

6)     Anticipate and write down possible questions.

7)     Research and get comfortable with the answers to the questions and any materials that will aid you in the meeting.

8)     Listen intently, but also be prepared to speak when appropriate.

9)     Be passionate about the topics and enthusiastic about being involved.

10)  Do not hesitate to take on responsibility and extra work.

If you approach your next meeting with these items in mind, and you and put in the extra work, you will definitely stand out in a positive way.  Don’t tell me you are doing these things already, ‘cause I’m in meetings every day, and know that most folks haven’t thought about any off this stuff until they walk through the conference room doors.  You can try to fool me, but don’t fool yourself.  If you want to be noticed, start paying attention, and begin putting in that extra time and effort that will make you rise above the rest.

Are you separating yourself from the rest of the schmucks, or are you one of them?

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