Baa baa moo bleet.
Ever felt lost in the pack at a seminar, conference or live event?
Like one among many or just another “butt in a seat”?
Well, try being the shortest woman in the room…
At 4’11 ¼”, I’ve had people look past me, through me or even over my head without noticing me.
So, over the years I’ve cultivated my personal brand mojo and developed some pretty irresistible strategies for instantly getting noticed in a crowd — by the right people… in the right ways.
The 3 biggest ways to stand out and be memorable in a crowd are:
- How you look – your physical appearance and sense of style
- How you show up – your personality, energy and enthusiasm
- What you give away – your business cards or other materials
(These strategies also work great on video!)
So let’s dive into each of these for a moment.
1. HOW YOU LOOK – your physical appearance and sense of style
Like it or not, one of the first things people notice about you is how you look. They make quick judgments based on your appearance. So, if you’re not careful, you may be sending signals that undermine your credibility and stop the right people from approaching you.
I know I’ve steered clear of some disheveled looking folks, assuming (rightly or wrongly) that either they don’t care or they’re not with it or they’re too broke to spend money on clothes. Or made some snap judgments about people who were so quirky it became laughable or inappropriate.
The truth is, your physical appearance can instantly support or undermine your credibility, drawing people towards you or pushing them away.
Let me give you a couple quick examples of how I’ve used this in my favor.
A few days ago I was invited to be a “shark” in Rich German and Milana Leshinsky’s shark tank at their JV Experience Live event. I knew I’d be on-stage with some real heavy-hitters like Lorel Langmeir, Christian Michelson, Kendall Summerhawk and Lisa Cherney.
So I asked myself what I could do to stand out among such a powerful group. With a small investment of just $8.16 I purchased a shark fin headband and wore that up on stage for the entire 2 hours.
Needless to say, I got a big laugh, the love and appreciation of the event organizers, some fun social media posts and messages in my inbox like this one:
Marisa, your shark fin hat has me smiling ear to ear. Am so looking forward to meeting you next week at the JV retreat. – Katherine
Of course, I wouldn’t dream of wearing a shark fin headband to every event I went to, because it would quickly turn into an inauthentic shtick, but in this context it really worked.
Another thing I’ve done is accessorize an otherwise professional-looking outfit with some long peasant feather earrings, funky stockings, or a creative pair of boots (men you can do this with a hat, tie, handkerchief or even a pair of socks).
Simply by adding ONE distinctive element to the mix, you can stand out in a way that starts a conversation and makes people smile. If you repeat this over the course of a 2-3 day event, people will remember you and you’ll form a lasting impression.
2. HOW YOU SHOW UP – your personality, energy and enthusiasm
The next strategy for standing out and being memorable is your personality and the energy you project to the world.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said, “Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.”
The vast majority of people show up at events like they show up in life. If they’re shy or lack confidence, they project that. If they’re uncertain or confused, they project that. If they’re stressed out and overwhelmed, they project that.
If you’re feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, sick, tired or stressed is stay home OR level up.
My friend Ariana Hall connects to her inner joy before she walks into any room or onto any stage.
Every time I speak about my business or areas of expertise, I consciously bring forward all my passion and enthusiasm for what I do – whether I’m speaking to one person, one hundred people or one thousand. You never know who’s listening to you and the impact you can have.
And the response? More people compliment me on my energy than on any other thing I say or do.
It’s my energy and how I make someone feel that stays long after my words have been forgotten.
Just the other day, someone told me that I was buoying up her energy just by sitting next to her.
You see, the amazing thing about energy is that it’s contagious.
My question to you is, what energy or feeling do you want to project?
3. WHAT YOU GIVE AWAY – your business cards or other materials
How many times have you been at an event and someone handed you one of those free Vista Print business cards that you shoved into your pocket with barely a glance?
Now imagine handing someone a card that instantly grabs their attention through color, graphics, a juicy title or tagline, an evocative head shot, a catchy call to action.
They take it, look at it, flip it over and acknowledge you. This isn’t some imaginary scenario. I get this response all the time with my cards.
People love the colors and logo and get a good chuckle out of my call to action: Does Your Website Suck? Take the quiz and get 3 free secrets to achieving nonstop traffic to your site.
And if business cards don’t do it for you, try something a little more creative: stickers, pins, books, wristbands, even something edible.
My client Doug Hanson gives away purple wristbands with his motto, “Play Full Out,” and a number. When you go to the website, you can register your band and tell the story of how you got it and who you gave it to next. All the registered bands show up on an interactive map that tracks their progress around the world.
Remember the question is, how can I stand out and be memorable in a way that supports my message and resonates with my audience?
Take a moment and let me know in the comments what makes you stand out.
Want more personal branding tips for tapping into the power of YOU? Watch my new free webinar, “Powerful Personal Branding Secrets to Stand Out on Social Media & Beyond So You Gain ‘Superhero’ Authority Status, Attract a Passionate Tribe and Get Paid Handsomely Just for Being Who You Are.”
Love it? Hate it? Let me know...
Really great info and I will use it. Thanks!
lol Marisa, YES we love your energy!
Your post is right on point and the stunts often work, even when you have a few naysayers present.
The CEO of my top design client still talks about my pair of orange jeans I wore at our first meeting over 15 years ago lol. I firmly believe that ones level of confidence needs to be high in the event you don’t get the response you expected.
As for showing up, Marisa you really should try this: Sit among the participants unsuspectingly then when its your time to go on stage delay for 3-5 minutes, then shout out comments of impatience and proceed to fill in for the “absent speaker” lol the look on the audiences faces is priceless lol. I have used many times! works super well when you are unknown to the audience!
Thanks again, Marisa for sharing from the head and heart.
One with a confidence problem would never have had the guts to wear the shark fin in the first place. I would have laughed and thought that you were pretty clever.
you are awesome Marisa. You provide incredible content and you truly shine with passion.
Great article Marisa. People do a lot of whining at events and they don’t realize how it effects the people around them. You get as much out of the event as you give! I always bring high energy, a big smile and offer help anytime someone needs it. I like adding my photo on to my business cards because you get handed so many that you forget who the person is when you get home. Thanks for all that you do!
Marisa. One of the few T.V. shows I watch is Shark Tank. This is a great show to watch on how to get attention. But you still have to follow it up with a strong presentation. I can tell you the most memorable for me was the show where a farmer went on stage with his design for a cover over plants that reduced water usage and protected the early saplings. The second was two young sisters ages 14 and 10 that had developed a line of jewelry made from bottle caps. They wowed the sharks and got funded on their terms.
You totally cracked me up! Love how you stepped out and really did something crazy! Love the tips, thanks Marisa!