Has This Happened to You?
A person walks up to you at an event and says, “Hello, I am Robert. I am the VP of TooSee Displays.” All the while you are thinking, “We met six months ago. Does he not remember meeting me?”
I suppose it can happen to the best of us. But what if I told you this happened to me this week — for the 5th time with the same damn person! I kid you NOT. Halfway through his pontificating introduction, I started chuckling out loud. Which of course gave him reason to ask, “Did I say something funny?” To which I replied, “Yes, but please go on.”
The first time it happened, I chalked it up as human nature. The second time it happened, I justified it by thinking, “It was pretty crowded the last time we met.” The third time, I was kinda pissed to be honest. I remember thinking, “Alright, is this guy for real? I mean, I know I am not the most memorable person but c’mon pal!
The fourth time it happened was hilarious because I was surrounded by others who had experienced “introduction amnesia” by this individual. He walked into the crowded bar and approached our group of eight. He knew/remembered one person (by some miracle!) and then proceeded to shake everyone’s hand and introduce himself, “Hello, I am Robert. I am the VP of TooSee Displays.”
After the introduction, one person had the guts to say, “By a show hands, who has met Robert before?” Everyone raised their hand and then started laughing. Robert seemed genuinely puzzled.
Then came number five in the form of a phone call. The Classic employee who transferred the call told me who it was, so I picked up the phone and said in a welcoming voice, “Hey Robert, how have things been?” As if on cue he replied, “Hello, I am Robert. I am the VP of TooSee Displays.”
I’m looking forward to seeing him again, perhaps at EDPA Access. This has turned into a fun game. 🙂
Is it Arrogance or Amnesia?
Many have suggested that a sort of amnesia can be the side effect of a person’s arrogance. They are so wrapped up in themselves that they actually ignore others and fail to pay attention to many details that come through common human interaction, unless those details have something to do with them.
Now I don’t want to blow this out of proportion, but it really made me wonder if the guy does this on purpose. Is this his way of stroking his own ego? “If I act like I don’t remember anyone that will make me look like I am more important than everyone else.” I don’t know. I may be reaching, but I just can’t imagine being a successful individual in a business that requires personal interaction and deep relationship building and NOT remembering 85% of the people you see multiple times a year.
But I digress.
I am not sure who needs the following more, Robert or me. But here are 5 tips on being more memorable (in a good way) from About.com.
The Importance of Being Memorable
1. Be Distinctive.
A brightly-colored, hand-painted tie, an unusual necklace or other jewelry, a good (but not overpowering) cologne, even just impeccable grooming can all help you stand out in a good way. It’s not that you want to be remembered and identified for that, but anything that helps people separate you from the crowd helps them remember the rest of you. You don’t have to be outlandish — although some people work that quite well — just don’t blend in completely with the crowd.
2. Be Fully Present.
Be fully engaged and fully aware of the people you interact with. You can break this down into smaller, somewhat mechanical pieces — listen well, respond promptly, maintain eye contact, etc. — but if you are truly present in the moment, those things will happen naturally. Many people only seem to be “half there”, so being fully engaged helps you stand out.
3. Ask Thought-provoking Questions.
Networking expert Bob Burg has some good suggested questions in his book Endless Referrals: Network Your Everyday Contacts into Sales, such as “How did you get started?” or “What do you enjoy most about what you do?” But the very best questions can’t be communicated in a book because they’re specific to the person you’re interacting with and will arise in response to your initial conversation. Do #2 and this will flow naturally. As Dale Carnegie suggested, you must “take a genuine interest in other people”.
4. Reinforce Your Keywords.
People aren’t going to remember long descriptions of what you do, or likely even that 15-second intro that many experts teach you to make. People will at best remember a few key things about you:
- Your name
- Your company name
- Your business/industry (in three words or less)
- Your product
- Your location
What you want to do is find ways to unobtrusively increase the occurrence of these things in your conversation. For example, is there some kind of story behind your name? Have it ready to use if there’s an opportunity. Does your business have an unusual name? What’s the story behind it – what does it mean? Refer to your place of business when telling an incident that occurred (“I was driving down 17th Street leaving my store, when . . . .”).
Anything you say that reinforces one of the five items above helps make you more memorable. And if they can remember just three of them — “Joe the barber from Soho” or “Maria the translator who wrote ‘Spanish in Six Weeks'” — you’re doing great.
5. Contribute to the Group Conversation.
Don’t hog it, and don’t say just anything in order to say something publicly, but saying one really smart thing at your table or in front of the whole group will make you much more memorable than half an hour of semi-conscious small talk. Create value for others and you create value for yourself.
When we look at brand strategy in marketing, one of the most important concepts is that a brand is not just a memorable name or logo — it’s an experience. A great brand communicates values and emotions that get called to mind whenever someone thinks of the name or logo.
Here we’re talking about your personal brand. Remember that you are your business. The impression that you make on people is the impression they will have of your business, so make it good and make it memorable.
Have a great week ahead.