Differentiation and conformity: How to dare to be different

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dare to be different
I'm in the middle of the group (with grey hair) . Different? Well, because I write well and can answer questions about specialized topics, Google invited me to join about 500 others from around the world for an international summit in San Francisco. And the people around me are part of a rather unique and specialized community
dare to be different
I’m in the middle of the group (with grey hair) . Different? Well, because I write well and can answer questions about specialized topics, Google invited me to join about 500 others from around the world for an international summit in San Francisco. And the people around me are part of a rather unique and specialized community.

Matt Handal points out correctly that the greatest successes in marketing occur when we are different from the crowd, but it isn’t easy to be different. He suggests the best way to dare to be different is to experiment in low-consequence environments.

You test being different. And you test in “Low Consequence Environments.”

…test it when the odds aren’t in your favor.

If you are an engineer that wants to be better at networking…

…test it at a networking event where there are no possible clients.

In Low Consequence Environments, if you fail…there’s no real consequence.

Once you test it, ask yourself, “Is this what I’m afraid of?”

Like anything else, once you do it a few times, it’s not that scary.

This advice is wise, but has a limitation. If the consequences are truly limited, then the results may also be quite limited — and you won’t necessarily achieve a measurable change (in a reasonable time).

There’s another approach, which has worked well for me and may be effective for you as well. If you are going into a new environment, play to your known and proven strengths and generously share them, whatever they may be.

I happen to write reasonably well, and always (yes since childhood), wanted to be a journalist. So I tend to volunteer to help out on communications, newsletter writing and the like. These skills provide instant connections, access, and relevance.

Your skills and talents may be entirely different. You know them better than me. But if you play to your strengths, you probably won’t have too much trouble being different because, usually, in a relatively small and new community, you’ll also be “best” — and that takes you right to the top, quickly.

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