Last week, we covered the first four of nine simple things that an aspiring leader can do in order to stand out. Here are five more – I’m anxious for your opinions!
1) Whenever possible, communicate by phone or in person.
Is the person you need to visit with in the same building? Walk up the hall. Consider the number of emails and texts you deal with on a daily basis. Yes, they’re convenient, but it’s hard for any of them to stand out. What if you are the person who makes conversation the default? You’ll stand out. Warning — you might be annoying, too, if the person you’re working to connect with much prefers the written word. Use with good judgment.
2) Stand in such a way as to be trusted and accepted.
Without going all-out on body language, just consider these two ideas: stand with your arms at your side (not in pockets, not crossed in front or back, not fidgety). Might feel weird at first, but research confirms this posture conveys the most openness and trustworthiness. Also, face the person speaking. Fully. Imagine a line from your nose to theirs – and keep it perpendicular to your shoulders. Set yourself apart by being the best-connecting listener.
3) Never interrupt.
Ever. Most people interrupt, and it’s normal. Set yourself apart by never doing it. Makes people feel valued.
4) Take every opportunity to write hand-written notes.
Especially to say thank you. It’s a lost art, and doesn’t take much time. However, it conveys that you’ve taken time and care, and this impression will help you stand out.
5) Never be sarcastic.
It makes people wonder how you really feel. This uncertainty interferes with connection. Stand out by being sincere.
There are lots of ways to set yourself apart, to be sure. But these nine have the most payoff, based on how easily you can implement them.
And remember, these tools (in this post and all of them) are always to be used for good and not for evil. In every interaction, you have the power to make the world a better place. Do it!