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Networking 101 – Find what is unique to you

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Dr. Renate Volpe, in her nugget cards entitled “Networking Tips” says:

“Brand your uniqueness:  Remember; 45% of what you do, others do better than you, 45% of what you do, others do as well as you, 10% of what you do is unique to you.  Focus on the 10% that is unique to you!”

Oh man is Renate ever spot on the money with this one! So many times I have been in a networking environment where there have been in excess of 100 people and they all look just the same and many of them are in exactly the same field doing pretty much the same thing. I have looked around in absolute confusion (I have never been very good and names or faces for that matter), then when I get to the point that I follow up and meet with them, I just make sure that I am at the meeting well in advance and hope to hell that they recognise me! Not ideal I know, but it works for me!

Remember the 70’s (for those of you who are old enough to do so), I mean there was such an explosion of new acts and new musicians entering the arena that they only way that they could actually be remembered (or even make any kind of splash for that matter) was to dress up – David Bowie with his unique hairstyle and his infamous ‘Bowie Dot’ in the middle of his forehead, or what about Leo Sayer who used to dress up as a clown and don’t forget Alice Cooper (it wasn’t enough that he had a girl’s name) and his band Kiss who had the most bizarre images painted in black and white on their faces and used to bite the heads off live chickens on stage (talk about making an entrance!) and smash their guitars into a million pieces, all on stage!

Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating for one minute that you purchase your local Fancy Dress store, in order to have a sufficient number of costumes on hand.

What I am saying is that branding is a must! You have to show people that unique side of you – and we all have it and we need to flaunt it.

I for example, am a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl. I don’t look like a typical auditor and I really don’t think like a typical auditor (I could think of nothing more boring – urgh!), that is part of who I am and that is something that sticks in the minds of many of the people who meet me at networking events. Now I am not suggesting that you all rush out and buy up all the jeans and t-shirts in the city – don’t do that! What I am saying, is that often who you are as a person, is what is most unique about you – so don’t try and re-invent the wheel.

Be yourself, work on who you are and what you value most about yourself – expand on that, and you will probably find that that, is your most powerful and yet most inexpensive tool that you have. With very little effort and a great deal of value, you will have branded your most unique self.

For more information on Renate, please visit her website at www.drrenatevolpe.co.za

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