Recently I was asked by a much younger colleague what advice I would give to someone like him to help him stand out and be noticed.
My first reaction was to try to shy away from this kind of thing.
Who the heck am I to be giving anyone advice?
I’m still trying to figure things out myself.
The more I’ve been learning, the more I’m realizing how little I really know.
Plus, in my past, I struggled with listening to someone who was trying to provide helpful advice. (Who were they anyway to give me advice?).
Nevertheless, I figured I’d step out of my comfort zone and give it a try.
Here are five that came to mind.
There are probably dozens of others that deeper and more complex.
However, I figured why overcomplicate things?
Let’s keep it simple to start.
- Try looking up from your device more often.
Devices are here to stay. Eliminating them doesn’t seem practical or helpful.
Yet, we are spending a lot of time looking down at them these days aren’t we?
Your improved posture will stand out. You will be just a little taller and in likely better health over the long term.
You get the benefit of enjoying your surroundings.
Not only will you bump into things less often, but you will be different than most.
- Try getting comfortable having more face to face conversations.
Interpersonal connections can be greatly enhanced when you are looking directly at the other person. There seems to be something special and unique about seeing facial expressions, experiencing the body language, the style of the clothes and smell of the perfume/cologne.
Opportunities to do this form of communication seem to happen less often now (and they will increase when you look up from your device more often).
Developing this capability further will not only help someone be more distinct, it will allow the opportunity for more in-depth relationships and a more fulfilling life experience.
- Try starting sentences with a word other than “So..”
My preference would be to drop the vocal pause altogether.
Given that you absolutely must have one, try another one.
Any other one.
It will at least be different.
- Try ending sentences with a word other than “… Right”
See #3 above.
- Try listening a little more, with higher quality
Our world is more and more interconnected at an increasing rate.
There seems to be a lot of exchanges (talking and writing) going on.
Communication? Perhaps not as much.
Communication to me requires an engaged exchange where each is connected with an interpersonal rapport.
Here is where listening can help make the difference between an exchange and communication.
I remember the Epictetus quote “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Improving the quantity of listening is helpful most of the time.
Improving the quality of listening, though, can really help up the engagement to a whole new level.
Are you really committed to the conversation?
Have you eliminated distractions?
Are you making an effort to make the discussion meaningful?
If so, you are distinguishing yourself.
Listening to advice that others are trying to convey. Hmm. There’s an idea.
Come to think of it, these are all good things for me to work on as well.
Have an extraordinary year!