1. Paying someone a genuine compliment.
As nice as it is to hear "your hair looks nice," having a more personalized, genuine compliment that goes deeper than physical compliments, goes a long way. One of the best compliments I received was, "I love how passionately you talk about topic x." There were a couple reasons why this compliment still stands out the most to me, even years later. One, it showed that person was actually paying attention to what I was saying and two, it was more than surface level. It pointed out to me to that, I actually enjoy talking about topic x, without me even realizing it. It made me realize something about myself in a positive manner which is much more profound than a general compliment. As Oprah says, "in my 25 years of doing The Oprah Show, the #1 thing I learned was, that people want to be seen and heard.
2. Show apperciation.
Being kind costs 0 cents. Whether this is opening the door for a stranger or sending a text to your friend, that you appreciated them listening about your crappy days, it matters. People will forget what you said or did, but they will never forget the way you make them feel alas, appreciation is one of the deepest levels of gratitude.
3. Ask questions.
Questions invite a new depth to the conversations. It stimulates the communication and unravels areas of topics that were probably not discussed. This is a tip that has assisted me in helping my family and peers in their issues, as well as, land me my internships/jobs. At the end of an interview when your potential hiring manager asks, "do you have any questions for me?" you should most definitely be asking questions and here is why. When you respond by asking, "Do you have any doubts about my ability to land me this job?," you have done a few things here. One, you have caught them off guard which makes you automatically stand out to be a confident and curious person. Two, you have expressed your concerns, which goes to show you clearly care about this position. Three, you have opened the door to clear the doubts in your potential hiring managers mind. Your potential hiring manager may say something along the lines of, "well, this job requires quite a bit of designing in Adobe Illustrator, which isn't something that is listed on your resume." To which you can answer, "I'm glad you brought that up. I do admit I have never used Adobe Illustrator before; however, I am very well versed with Procreate which possesses very similar traits to Illustrator. Furthermore, I have used Adobe programs such as InDesign and Photoshop therefore, I do understand how the software works overall and would love to branch into Illustrator a bit more. I am keen on learning and furthering my skills so, I would like to take a course in Coursera or LinkedIn Learning to understand Illustrator more since, as you said, it is a big part of this position and I would like to fully be prepared in order to deserve this position.” Boom, you nailed it!
4. Say the persons' name.
Sounds so simple, yet you'll be surprised to know how often this is underestimated. Saying a person's name makes the conversation more intimate. Also, it sometimes catches a person off guard, especially when it's in a sociable setting. Let's say for instance, you're at a networking event where you're having multiple conversations, with multiple people at once. Everything and everyone start to blend into one big conversation and things get repetitive very quickly. However, when you approach someone by their name and say, "Hey Alex, how did you feel about the new launch that company x just had?" This displays that you made the effort to remember their name and you are directly approaching them, rather than a casual group conversation.
Bonus tip: it really shows character when someone has a challenging name and before the conversation begins you say, "would you mind pronouncing your name for me, so I know for future reference." Guaranteed, the person will appreciate this very simple, yet kind gesture.
5. Follow up.
This may seem like it is a very interview-like approach however, this can be applied in any social relationship. Let’s start with your boss, when you follow up regarding a position that you applied for, it is evident that this clearly means something to you for you to bring it up twice. Furthermore, in any type of business, there are tens of things happening at once, so when you follow up, there might be chance that they reply with, "oh I completely forgot to send you that email, thanks for bringing it up." Moreover, you might have just one-up your fellow competition in the hiring position, since you took actionable initiative. This piece of advice also does very well with family and friends. Something as simple as taking 5 minutes out of your day to ask your coworker, "Hey Ian, how is your dog doing this week? Has he shown any improvement since last week? I promise you; this generosity will mean significantly to the other person.
Hands down the EASIEST one on this list. Quite simply the least amount of effort, that shows the most approachable attitude. Plain and simple, you automatically radiate a friendly, inviting and warm personality to the other individual.
Okay, I'm telling you my best kept, family secret, that we all SWEAR by (well, my cousins and siblings do). This secret has landed us our jobs, formulated friends (and relationships ;), as well as, create an unforgettable impression. So here it is, stand out in your attire. Here me out on this one. During the final year of my cousin's university journey, he began to network for the biggest accounting firms. Quite literally, hundreds of very accomplished, driven and intellectual adults, all under one roof applying for extremely competitive positions. During his first networking round, he was pretty discouraged because of how it was intense. I remember him articulating about, people with 4.3 GPA's and insanely impressive resumes were all competing with him. How was he supposed to stand out? He knew he was well rounded and worked hard, but what can set him apart? Then it dawned on him, we are all individual people, yet all dress the exact same. For the guys, they ALL dressed in black, dark blue or the occasional grey suits in there. Now, what if he changed it up a little bit…. So, he went to a tailor, invested a little bit more than the occasional suit, and bought himself a unique, yet tastefully tailored dark maroon suit. Think about it, how any guys have you seen in a maroon suit? I can almost guarantee you, not a lot. This was a game changer. People NOTICED the suit, complimented him on it and most of all, REMEMEBERED him! He might have been called "the guy in the maroon suit" rather than his real name for a while, but hey, it stuck and most of all, landed him a highly competitive role in a prestigious firm. I tried this trick out myself and wore a plush, purple blazer (which sounds weird, I know) but trust me, it looked cute ;) and the same happened to me, I was remembered, and I scored the job. Told you this one is a gamechanger.
To wrap it up, I get it- It's hard to stand out when there are SO many other worthy and amazing people, whether this is for a relationship or job, but remember, SO ARE YOU!
Mindset is where everything begins, walk in with confidence and your head held high, apply these tips (maybe even put a personal spin on one of them or create a tip of yourself), and watch yourself dominate the playing field!