What Makes Some People More Memorable Than The Rest?
When you’re out and about networking, you always come back with a stack of business cards. But as you sort through them, did you remember all of the people you met or did you remember the ones that stood out?
Some people are just more memorable than others.
It was because they did something, said something, told a story, or looked a certain way that planted an image in your memory. If you’re looking to make an impact in your career, you want to be remembered.
Your personality attributes, your work style, your play style, and the interests, hobbies, and preferences you carry with you go into making your total package.
Your uniqueness even flows over to how you dress. Are you the woman with killer heels or maybe you’re the one with a dress when everyone else is in jeans?
Yesterday, I spent some time strolling through a small town in Virginia. As I passed the line of restaurants, I caught a glimpse of all of the outdoor patrons. There was only one young man I remembered. He wore a red bow-tie in a sea of bland T-shirts. He stood out. He was memorable.
You also remember people with charisma. Achim Nowak, author of the book, “Infectious: How to Connect Deeply and Unleash the Energetic Leader Within,” defines charisma as the “inside” and that “je ne sais quoi” that enables certain people to draw you in. He said, “When we talk about charisma, it’s the quality people who light up the stage. They’re like an energy magnet—and we want to engage.”
How Can You Draw People In?
In order to be memorable, you have to know what makes you memorable.
- What do you want to be known for?
- What are you known for now?
- What is it that sets you apart from everyone else in the room?
- Do you influence the world or does the world influence you?
Think about the message you send out that will differentiate you from the rest because what you transmit can be very powerful.
Being Memorable While Networking
1. Open a Window to Your Personality
Many times we look for ways to blend in rather than stand out. If you want to be memorable, re-discover the traits that make you, well, you. Don’t try to tone down the traits that make you distinctive. That doesn’t mean you have to be the life of the party, the center of attention, or the loud guy that everyone hears from a mile away. But don’t diminish the traits that make you unique.
2. Know Your "Story" and Tell a "Story"
Your story is different than an elevator speech. Elevator speeches are quick blasts of information in 30 seconds or less. Stories help you illustrate the breadth and depth of what you do, who you do it for, and what results you achieve. People remember things better when there's a story attached to the meeting.
3. Get Prepared
Go prepared with a few things to talk about. Brush up on current events, books, TV, movies, or sports. Come up with three to four topics as well as a mental list of generic questions that can help you move conversations along.
If you are going to attend a networking event, research the background of the people you want to meet. This will help you with asking the right questions as you get to know them.
Additionally, have a few non-standard answers to typical questions such as "How are you?”
- Q: “How are you?”
- A: “I’m fantastic. I’m heading out for vacation so this time tomorrow night, I will be enjoying a glass of wine while taking in the sights and sounds of Paris.”
- A: “Great! My (fill in the blank team) just won the super bowl / World Series / NBA Championships. Couldn’t be better.”
Those responses draw people in. They want to know more. It’s a conversation starter.
4. Be Approachable: Watch Your Body Language and Strike Your Power Pose
The wrong body language will give off signals that tell people to stay away. Having the right body language increases your approachability. Confidence talks. According to an NYU study conducted by Dr. Michael Solomon, we make critical decisions within the first seven seconds of meeting someone new and our body language plays a key role in defining us.
Projecting power, authority, and status is a critical element to your nonverbal strategy to impress and get noticed. Hold your head high, push your shoulders back, and keep your rib cage up. This posture makes you look intrepid which helps you project a sense of authority.
Here’s a great Ted talk by Amy Cuddy on how body language shapes us.
5. Make People You Meet Feel Important
When you focus your attention on someone else, you are making that person feel important.
- Ask people about themselves. This takes the pressure off of you and people love to talk about themselves.
- Ask open-ended questions, starting with ‘What, How, Why, and Where.’ A dialogue is a nice balance between speaking and listening. But, if you have a hard time with adding to the conversation, keep the other person talking by asking questions.
- Start with some basics. “What brought you here? Where are you from? "What do you do?” “How do you know the host / hostess?” “What did you think of today’s presentation?”
Every answer gives you the ability to ask follow-up questions so you must Listen effectively. Don’t listen with the intent to respond but rather with the intent to understand. That facilitates the flow of conversations. If you spend time worrying about what to say next, you’ll lose focus on what is actually happening in the conversation.
6. Follow Up
Memories stay fresh if you follow up with the people you met by sending them a quick email or connecting on LinkedIn. Thank them but refresh their memory by recalling the topic or story you spoke about.
Networking events are a great way to meet new people in or out of your industry. But, it doesn’t matter how many people you meet. It matters when people remember who you are.
Being memorable will be the combination of your appearance, your actions, words, spirit, and your behavior. If you’ve left someone with the feeling of, “I’d like to kick back and have a drink with that person”, then you’ve probably done your job.
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Johnston Osburn is a Career and Life Coach who helps people turn dreams into realities. After years as a Global Talent Acquisition Professional, she realized how frequently people limit themselves because they lack belief in their abilities. They are afraid to dream, let alone dream big. [...]