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Thursday, November 15, 2018

It’s the Season to be Seen in the Spotlight

Some call it the “silly season”. Although I did read that that term actually relates to a season of frivolous news, generally during summer. For most of us though it relates to this time of year when the round of end-of-year networking events and Christmas parties happen.

We’re usually a bit more relaxed about going to these events and the concept of “networking” does become a bit more like socialising, as it should be. Social, fun and an enjoyable way to foster relationships.

There may also be a chance that you’ll be photographed and be in the spotlight. Be that your own selfie or snapped with friends for social pics in the local paper or on the organiser’s web site. So, you want to look good – is my first tip.

I went along to a launch event this week at a tech space and as you’d expect mostly “techie” guys in jeans and black t-shirts. That was the younger guys. The older crowd of men wore their “uniform” of navy/grey business pants and blue shirts! There was the occasional well-dressed man – probably one of the angel investors.

As you can see, I am making judgements here. Yet we all do it. We do form impressions about a person by their outward appearance.

The event drew a large crowd, more than expected I think, and the organisers were busy running around right to the end. Unfortunately, the lady who officially opened the space, didn’t have time to change out of her shorts and thongs!

I could go on about my assumptions of her appearance but I do think she was aware of the impact of it as when she chatted with our smart casually dressed group later, she indicated some embarrassment. Those opening night photos will be around a long time!

If you’re keen to be photographed in the right light and seen in the “social” spotlight, here’s a short extract from my book IMPRESSario.

While you are at a networking event, you could arrange to take a photo of you with either the organiser or speaker or with a friend and then publish it on social media using the appropriate tags to help showcase the event and yourself.

Networking should be enjoyable. It is not about being manipulative but can be useful if you also help promote the event through your own social media channels.

If you are not on the so-called “A list” don’t expect to be photographed by the media or promotors. There are ways to optimise your chance of being photographed and, over time, that may help you become well-known and perhaps be invited to social events in the future.

Being photographed means being in the right place at the right time. Arrive at a time when the photographers are duly snapping away the people coming through the door. Even arrive a little early and mingle outside the event before the doors open if this is suggested on the invitation or program. For example, if the invitation states 5.15 for a 5.30 start, then arrive at 5.15.

It is not about going up to the photographer and asking to be photographed. You want to be known as someone with style, grace and good manners so being blatant is not the way to go. However, if you have been photographed before it is fine to thank the photographer for the previous occasion and speak to him or her as well. There is nothing wrong with networking with them but do remember they are there to work also.

To be memorable at an event and optimise your chance of being photographed, you also need to look fabulous and stand out from the crowd. Stay true to your signature style but, if you can, accent your style with either colour or a signature piece such as an amazing necklace, scarf or an eye-catching hat.

In a sea of dark suits (or jeans and t-shirts), a “pop” of colour in a blazer or top can work well. It will also capture the photographer’s eye as they are attuned to visual images. Colour against dark business suits will stand out very clearly.

Visual images are the ones that stay in our mind. For this reason, it is no accident that Instagram has taken off so well. Newspapers have relied on this concept for years. Having a captivating photograph on the front page (and often back page) of a newspaper is mandatory to capture readers’ attention.

No doubt we will soon be seeing lots of Santa selfies during the silly season.

Your “look” and how you are seen is part of your personal brand. Find out more in my free video series, NOOK, LOOK, HOOK, 3 Steps to Build a Stand Out Personal Brand.

Sue Currie is a speaker and the author of IMPRESSario, Present and Promote the Star Within You. She is recognised as a leading authority on personal branding to boost image, profile, brand and business. Through her image management and profile building programs, workshops, consulting and keynote presentations, Sue helps businesses and entrepreneurs position and present an influential professional brand.

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