I was talking to a client last week and I was struck (and a little dismayed) by the zoom-ness of it all. I could have replaced her head and my own for any number of clients.
I’ve been on countless webinars (those fake ‘live’ ones, don’t you just love them?) and workshops where the ‘gurus’ have the same type of backdrop (the low light, big desk, potted plant) – I sometimes forget what and who I’m watching.
How did we all become so samey?
This sameness is really damaging – to our reputation, to our differentiation, to our psyche. But, what can we do about it?
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, in Skin in The Game, explained why he would choose the blood-splattered, sausage-fingered, thick-necked surgeon over the movie-perfect impersonator of a surgeon*. Why? Because to be successful, and NOT look the part, means they’ve had to overcome a lot in terms of perception. People who don’t look the part have skin in the game. They must be special.
I regularly yell: ‘I’m special,’ to my imaginary friends, as yet another talking head sips their coffee with their ‘LOVE’ ornament lit up behind them.
I frequently tell my clients they’re special, and that their clients are special… while I sip my coffee, with my 3D printed Klein bottle gathering dust on my bookshelf.
The problem with ‘sameness’ is how do you stand out when it’s time to be chosen? How are you remembered? How are you shared and referred?
How do your clients work out whether you’re an experienced consultant or, yet another ‘face’ with a bookshelf? Whether your credentials are real, or your blurry background is hiding your ‘day job’ in a call centre?
I’m not knocking it, and I am guilty of it too. I look the same as countless others.
young (in my mind!) middle-aged woman, with a bookshelf and a flip chart.
Tell me, how do you stand out in the zoom-ness? What do you do differently? How do you look different when all anyone can see is your head and shoulders? Reply and let me know your tricks!
I’m looking for ideas. I’m bored of myself. I used to have a full-size gorilla to get attention… ah, the good old days.
Of course, we can differentiate because we have all the credibility clues:
the books we’ve written,
the events we’ve spoken at,
the credentials and awards,
the case studies and testimonials,
the registered IP and frameworks,
the videos and articles…
These credibility clues set us apart from less experienced ‘pretenders’ (I know, I was once a ‘pretender’, it passes!). But, how do you make those credibility clues visible in the zoom-ness?
Those books on my bookshelf? Many of them I’ve published. A chunk of them I’ve written, ghostwritten or co-written. Some of them ARE blood splattered, they’ve been created with my sausage fingers (I have genetically very small hands, my mom had our DNA tested!) and whilst my neck isn’t thick, my bum is doing the heavy lifting.
Enough… Here are a couple of experts at standing out in the zoom-ness, I’m taking their advice.
One of my clients, Leanne, does training to help you keep your audience engaged. She has techniques and methodologies for not only designing and building an engaging event, but for breaking the ice and getting people connected. Leanne plays music, and I’ve even seen her dance! I’ve been on her free workshop twice, and found something new each time, book yourself on her next available slot.
A long-time friend, Sue, deliberately sets out to make you laugh. Not just a bit of a giggle, but a full-blown belly laugh. When you speak to Sue you are guaranteed to feel better.
Whether you’re the dancing training diva or the giggling PR person, you’ve got to stand out.
Me? I’m thinking of resurrecting the gorilla.
Ciao for now,
- You can read more from Taleb here: https://medium.com/incerto/surgeons-should-notlook-like-surgeons-23b0e2cf6d52
PS: If you ignored the gorilla reference, two thoughts for you: First, Richard Wiseman did a famous illusion where people didn’t spot a gorilla walking on screen, and the second is that’s exactly the type of gorilla I used to use to get attention (I was a big attention seeker).
PPS: If the gorilla didn’t do it, I also had a whip!
PPPS: The price for The Better Than Great club is going up soon, get your spot now while it’s still a steal, or I’ll send the gorilla round!