“Where everybody knows your name, And they’re always glad you came;
You want to go where people know,
People are all the same;
You want to go where everybody knows your name.”
– Theme from “Cheers’
Let’s face it. Everyone thinks they’re memorable and everyone likes to be remembered.
You too. But when you remember someone, you expect them to remember you too, right?
Of course you do. It’s a human reaction. In fact, when we’re not remembered, we feel slighted.
Don’t take it personally. It could be they’re just bad with names, or they meet so many people it’s hard to put a name to them all.
But it’s also true that if you want people to remember you, you need to give them a reason. You need to be able to give them a trigger – an emotional connection they’ll feel immediately when they see you again.
That applies regardless of whether we’re in a business setting or at the grocery.
It’s about creating a recognizable personal brand, be it through networking or in our daily lives.
I ran into an old friend at a mixer recently. We hadn’t seen each other in a while. I was speaking with a couple of people and after we ‘moved on’ he came up to me and asked, ‘How do you do it’? Everyone knows you’! I just laughed and made light of it telling him I’m just so tall that people can’t miss me. But it also struck me that oftentimes people who are so comfortable in small settings, become tongue-tied at large events like mixers and trade shows. It can be quite intimidating to try to have a conversation, let alone make a memorable impression on anyone when you’re on foreign turf.
Here are some tips I picked up along the way that may be useful:
- Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Although some have attempted to link networking to speed-dating, your goal should never be to meet as many people as possible. A few significant people are worth far more than 100 glad-hands.
- Find something in common. It’s creates a bond. Don’t expect to meet someone who came from your home town or college. That’s unlikely, but you may very likely find someone who shares your passion for the same sport, kids have kids who go to the same school as yours, shop at the same place, etc.
- When you exchange your ‘What do you do’s,’ tell them how you help people. You may sell insurance, but if you said, ‘I give home owners peace of mind.’ I bet they’ll want to know how you do that. It’s a good conversation starter.
- Steer the conversation to them. Everyone likes to talk about themselves and when you express your interest in them, they begin to connect to you.
- In the same vein, ask questions. It enables people to demonstrate their expertise and validates them. Again, when people receive validation, it transfers over to you.
- My wife may take exception to this one, because it’s a bit different for women than it is for men, but I would suggest developing a consistency about your dress and your appearance. When you’re just getting started with a group or organization it’s a good way to be identified in a crowd. I knew a media guy once whose wardrobe consisted of two identical gray suits, blue shirts, red ties and black shoes. People recognized him instantly. You may have your own thing. Maybe green socks. Maybe a turtleneck sweater. For women the psychological impact of wearing the same thing every day wouldn’t work, but why not consider a ‘signature all your own? Maybe a hairstyle, a hat, a piece of jewelry, whatever. We all need something to make ourselves more recognizable in unfamiliar surroundings.
- Follow up. Don’t just collect cards. Statistics show that you’ll be forgotten within a couple of days, unless you stay in touch. If you’re the new kid on the block, the onus is on you.
People don’t forget people who care about them. People don’t forget people who show up and are helpful. Build consistency and you start building trust. Create common ground and your start forming bonds. Show you care, and people will care too.
Of course there’s more to it than that; but especially when you’re new to the environment, a physical ‘trigger’ is a good way to help people connect the name to the value they provide. Try it. You’ll be amazed at how memorable you are!