Standing Out in a Sea of Noise


This week is our local city council elections.

95 candidates are standing for 11 positions, with many nominating for council for the first time.

As I scanned the names and profiles of the candidates, several things popped out at me.

  • Identifiers e.g. gender, ethnicity, family situation.
  • Story – What inspired them to nominate for council? What’s their big Why?
  • Credentials – What professional skills and experiences are they bringing to the table? Are they active in the community? Have they advocated for causes or volunteered their time or organized petitions?

When we put ourselves out in the public domain in the hope of inviting professional support from others, people will be looking first for how we are similar to them, and mentally ticking off boxes.

In the case of the council elections, it might go like this:

Single parent with special needs child who is advocating for more awareness on special needs challenges – tick.
Long-time resident and volunteer – tick.
Mother who believes in empowering and educating women and girls – tick.
Immigrant who successfully started a business, sent kids to university, and now wants to pay it forward – tick

A similar kind of filtering process takes place when we invite others to buy our products or engage our services.

Why would they pick you out of 99 other equally competent professionals?

Because you went to the same university.
Have mutual acquaintances.
Share a love of the same sport.
Grew up in the same country.

If you want to stand out in a sea of ‘others’, make sure you present information about yourself that is relevant, relatable, and that authentically represents the best of who you are.