After years of studying human behavior science and a lot of trial and error, I have learned a few essentials. To connect with your bosses, colleagues, and clients while still being honest and true to yourself, remember these three tips:
1. Develop a signature.
What is your specialty? Having specific expertise will allow you to highlight your interests and skills.
I love science and have always taken a research-based approach to problem-solving. Because of this, I became known as "the science guy". When my colleagues wanted to understand a problem and find relevant research, they would come to me. My research background became integral to finding science-backed solutions.
Are you a design enthusiast? Are you passionate about storytelling, style or technology? There is nothing wrong with sharing your passions, as long as they are useful.
2. Have remarkable conversations.
You may be stuck wearing a uniform or the same suit and tie as everybody else in the office, but you can control what you talk about. Are you having meaningful conversations that reflect who you are as a person?
When you share stories and provide insights are they unique? Are you demonstrating aspects of your personality that you want to shine?
That epic night out in Vegas probably shouldn't make it into your work conversations. However, talking about that book you just read, an article from your favorite publication, or a TED Talk you recently watched is appropriate and can foster an engaging discussion.
Remarkability is key. The rock climbing trip you just took or the art project that you are going to launch may be more unique than a great cat video that you saw on BuzzFeed.
Demonstrate to your clients and coworkers that you are multidimensional. Show that you possess true character or invaluable traits and skills. It will increase your popularity and success.
Lastly, refine your storytelling, so that your delivery is interesting and engaging every time.
3. Add flair.
If you have to wear a suit every day, accessorize wisely. Try adding a fun and stylish tie, unique cufflinks, or other accessories that are great conversation starters.
I like to wear suspenders by Partikular that are made out of ties. They make a statement and are attention-grabbing. For you, it might be a beautifully designed pocket square, a cool watch, or an unusual pair of earrings.
These additions reveal parts of your personality and interests. They show that you care about detail and are willing to put in the extra effort.
We all feel the pressure to adhere to certain standards of professionalism in the business world. However, it doesn't mean that you need to hide your personality. In fact, that could actually hinder your success. Look to these three tips when you are struggling to highlight your unique qualities without appearing unprofessional.