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Stand Out in a Crowd

It’s 3am in Boston as I load up on pastries and orange juice to kick start my day in London.

“Andy, it’s so nice to meet you.”

I’m pretty sure that I’ve never seen this woman before in my life.

Maybe it’s the jet lag.

Trying to be polite, I manage

“My apologies, but have we met?”

“Nope” she replies cheerfully.

“You’re the youngest person on this trip by at least 40 years.”

Apparently the London Theater Week through the Yale Alumni Travel Program has more participants in their 60’s than their 20’s.

I was famous before I even walked through the door.

Everyone was eager to meet the 20-something kid who had signed up for this trip.

And it got me thinking about your Elevator Pitch.

Here are 3 ways you can Stand Out in a Crowd

1. Attend the “Wrong” Events

You should see the funny looks I get when I ask for directions to the Downtown Women’s Club.

Or the Network of Enterprising Women.

Being the speaker sets you apart.

Being the only man in the room means that everyone knows who you are.

It’s not just about gender.

You could be the lawyer who keeps people out of court.

Or the salesman at an engineering conference.

Your goal isn’t to network with your prospects.

It’s to network with people who know your prospects.

Where do you stand out?

2. A Rose by Any Other Name

Change your title.

President, Founder, CEO, Principal, Sales Rep, Attorney, …


I’m not suggesting you be too cute or clever.

Just different.

How about Chief Brightness Officer.

Or The Money Guru.

Or The Medical Device Doctor.

What’s your title?

3. Talk  About Them

Ask questions.

Start a conversation.

People remember (and like) people who let them talk.

And most will return the favor.

You’ll engage faster when you’re slower with your pitch.

What questions do you ask?

Happy Networking!

7 comments on “Stand Out in a Crowd

  1. Or Mistress of Moving? Since I think I may go with experimenting with the new niche of – working with mothers of young children who have relocated from out of state. Not sure how to package that in a neat little pitch yet! It’s quite a mouthful!!!

    My goal is to support mothers in the emotional aspect of moving. There are plenty of people out there who take care of the logistical piece. I’m more interested in working with their inner world and supporting them in building resiliency and ease in the face of the emotional rollercoaster ride of relocating and feeling a sense of belonging in their new community. Ultimately, having them feel at home with themselves…something like “Home is where you are.”

    That’s a stream of consciousness for you!

    1. Mistress has negative connotations whether you’re going after the corporate or family market.

      You could be the Moving Maven.

      Though I’m not sure you want to mention the move itself. Your niche is interesting, because you don’t take care of the move. You don’t coordinate the move. In fact, you don’t really have anything to do with the actual move.

      As you surmise, while you provide emotional help and support, I think that’s your secret sauce, not the reason people will approach you in the first place.

      How about “Family Relocation Specialist.” That doesn’t tie you to the move itself: it gives you an in both before and after the move (i.e. they anticipate an issue, or they have moved and now they realize that they need some help).

      Also, many larger corporations have resources for employees that they move so that could be an interesting opportunity for you as well…

      Thanks for the posts!

      Happy Networking!

  2. Hey Andy,

    Would calling myself the Mistress of Mindfullness OR the Mistress of Self Mastery work? Not sure how “Mistress” would be taken by folks… I am focusing on working with mothers right now, so it’s not for a corporate audience.

    And to Andy Saks – I’m curious to know how he came up with Chief Sparkler. What does that mean to him? What does he deliver?

  3. What about “Chief Sparkler???”

    Not everyone likes this title, some think it’s too frivolous for the business world and even a little, um, not heterosexual (woman last week at a seminar I gave said “If I hadn’t seen your wedding ring, I’d have thought you’re gay.”)

    But most do like it and get the idea, and EVERYONE who sees my card comments on the title, so I figure that on balance, making it memorable to everyone is worth the risk of not everyone liking it. And putting some fun into the corporate world is the philosophy behind my approach, so if they don’t like the title, they probably won’t like what I deliver.

    1. Thanks for the response! You raise some important issues for anyone who is thinking about their title.

      It’s good that everyone comments on your title. You didn’t mention specifically what comments you get, and that’s the key to framing this discussion. If they have leads for your trade show work or your presentations coaching, then it’s working just fine. If they smile and say “clever” or “neat title” or ask clarifying questions, it’s creating lots of activity for maybe not as many results as you could get with a different approach.

      My main concern with your title is that it requires a leap of thinking to figure out what you do, and you’re missing opportunities because prospects can’t immediately see themselves as a good lead for you. I see better results with pragmatic titles. It can still be fun to say and get people smiling. You could be the “Standing Ovations Specialist” or “Trade Booth Barista.”

      Since you’re thinking about it anyway, you have nothing to lose by trying out 3 new titles between now and the end of the year. Your title is only as good as your prospect’s response to it, so pay particular attention to the questions that people ask and the conversations that start. You may find that “Chief Sparkler” works better than anything else, and you may find a new title that starts better conversations.

      Let me know how it goes.

      Happy Networking!

  4. Hi Andy,

    I always appreciate your tips. They offer value and are memorable with a dash of clever humor. Your writing always gets me thinking.

    Your title ideas are great. I will continue to play with mine. People usually have a preconceived notion of coaching which does not help differentiate me. So the wheels are turning over here.

    I will let you know when I create a title that aptly describes what I do/offer/am and is memorable. Right now, it feels like a tall order!

    My best,
    Lora C. Lyons

    1. Hi Lora,

      Thank you as always for your kind comments. I am grateful that you and so many others find value in my message.

      I encourage you not to think too hard about your title. It doesn’t have to be the perfect representation of you. You just want something easy and fun to say that’s a little bit different so it catches people’s attention. Based on the work you’ve done in my coaching program, I’d recommend “The Relationship Whisperer” or “The Marriage Fixer-Upper” or even “The Caffeine of Confidence.”

      Unless one of those really resonates, a useful exercise is to sit down with a pen and a piece of paper. Write down your current title, then quickly write down 20 more titles. Don’t judge any of them yet. Just write down everything that comes to mind. Then come back a few minutes later and read what you’ve written. You’ll be drawn to one of them and that’s the one to try out first.

      The truth about business networking is that your title is only as good as the response you get from people when you use it. So whatever you come up with, try it for a few weeks, paying attention to the questions that people ask and the conversations that start. Feel free to post your results and we can take it from there.

      Anyone else want a more engaging title? We can brainstorm right here…

      Happy Networking!

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