I know we’ve already posted one blog today, but while digging through the web this morning I came across a great post on About.com on making yourself memorable. How many times have you gone to a trade show or other networking event-or worse, some random family event-only to discover the next morning that you wrote down a phone number and don’t have a clue who it belongs to? Whoever that person was, they weren’t memorable enough that you got up the next morning thinking, ‘Where did I put that piece of paper? I really need to give so-and-so a call today.’
That kind of urgency is exactly what you’re looking for when you’re networking, but that’s not going to happen until you master the art of being memorable.
The question is, how are you going to make sure the people you meet remember you the next morning? Here are 5 tips from industry’s more interesting, fascinating and yes, memorable people on what it takes to make the kind of impression that makes your business impossible to forget:
1) Be unique. When you look at a bowl of lemons with a random strawberry tossed in, what are you going to remember-the number of lemons in the bowl, or the fact that there was a strawberry sitting on top? People remember the unique, the distinctive and yes, the downright strange. Don’t be afraid to break the mold.
2) Be involved. Everyone loves to talk once you get them on the right subject, and there’s nothing like a great conversation to open the door to that early morning phone call from someone who wasn’t quite finished. You can’t have a great conversation (or even a mediocre one) without getting involved, however. If you spend the whole night by the food table, the only one who’s going to remember you is the caterer.
3) Make them laugh. Why don’t sharks eat lawyers? Professional courtesy! Believe it or not, the last time I heard that joke was while sitting a table full of…yep, you guessed it…New York City lawyers! Just because you’re networking professionally doesn’t mean you can’t bring a sense of humor to the table. Everyone likes to spend time with someone who can make them laugh.
4) It’s better to be quiet and appear a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt…but it you can open your mouth and not look like a fool it’s even better! I hear people say over and over again not to bother doing your homework before you go to a networking event. I say that’s ridiculous. Not too long ago I had the chance to attend a political function in Washington D.C., and before I went I took the time to scour the newspapers for headlines I normally wouldn’t look twice at so I had some idea of what might be discussed and enough information to form an educated opinion about it. Stay on top of what’s going on and you’ll find the evening flows a lot smoother for everyone.
5) Don’t spend the whole night making your sales pitch. About a month ago my oldest son’s Cub Scout troop marched in the parade at our county fair. This event always attracts huge numbers of businesses looking for a way to sell their goods and politicians looking for your vote. I don’t remember a single one of the people who walked up to me and handed me their brochures before selling me their pitch. I will never forget, however, the woman from the miniature horse farm who stopped to let my kids pet her horses and spent a few minutes talking to my daughter about her first day of school. It isn’t always about closing the deal.