I recently spent the day at the national conference of the Canadian Society for Training and Development. Because I went directly to the conference from my weekly corporate networking group, I was still dressed in my 3 piece suit. And because it was chilly outside, I wore my new fedora (look left.) Picture the scene – this was a 3-day convention of workshops and lectures – not exactly a formal event. Most attendees were dressed in business casual attire. Now add me to that mix – a 6 foot 3 inch man wearing a custom tailored 3-piece suit and a wool fedora. I have to tell you, I felt a little over dressed at first (to say the least.) But I soon got over that initial feeling because I realized that I had a powerful tool to leverage. It was so easy for me to strike up conversations with the attendees and exhibitors because I literally ‘stood out from the crowd.’ As a professional speaker, that has its advantages. I didn’t need to push my services on anyone because each and every person I spoke with looked me up and down, then asked me what I do (even the exhibitors who are usually focused on giving their pitch.)
I was at the convention with my friend and colleague Lisa Taylor (read more about Lisa’s cool business Challenge Factory.) While I was exploring the trade show floor, she has a conversation with two women she’d never met. When she found out that they were seeking a speaker for their 2012 conference, she told them to find me and mentioned that I’d be easy to spot because of my hat. One of them said “Oh! Him! I was going to approach him and tell him how much I liked his hat.”
Think of that for a second – there were over a thousand people at one of Toronto’s largest venues. Out of all those people, this woman knew exactly who Lisa was talking about! (I ended up meeting them and am in discussions about presenting at their conference next year.)
So, what do you do to stand out from the crowd? How can you look or behave in a way that sets you apart from those around you? Let me know down in the comments!