One of the biggest challenges of networking is being remembered. Here are 10 steps that will make you stand out from the crowd:
- Be Easy to Remember when Networking:
People tend to remember things much better when they’re visual, especially when networking, so make it easy for them. Memory experts will often link aword or an image to something else in order to help them remember it. When you introduce yourself at a networking event, try to provide a visualization of yourself. For example: If your name is Donald and you’re bald, you could say something like, “My name is Donald. Just picture Donald Trump, but with a shaved head. Do you see it?” Now sure, that’s a silly example, but when it comes to remembering, silly is a good thing. I guarantee that they will always remember the bald Donald. Create you own visualization for your name and stick to it.
- Remember Their Names:
How many times have you had someone, who you can’t quite remember, come up to you and say, “Hello Chad, nice to see you again.?” Do you remember the impact it had on you? We’re always impressed when someone remembers our name. It makes us feel special, and that person rises up a few notches on our respectability scale.In order to easily remember someone’s name, first say their name a few times out loud. Not in a creepy way, but incorporate their name into the conversation. This will make them feel important and get the name to stick in your mind.
Again, people tend to remember things much better when they’re visual, so try to link their name to something that it either sounds like or reminds you of. Then, find a unique facial feature about the person, exaggerate it in your mind, and make it interact, in an interesting way, with your visualized word.
For example, if the person has incredibly blue eyes, you might imagine that their eyes are made of laser beam shooting crystals. If their name is Mike, it might
make you think of a microphone. Then you might imagine that person walking into a conference room and blowing up all of the microphones with his blue laser beam eyes.
The next time you see his blue eyes, you’ll immediately remember Mike’s name. Just remember to make your visualization as vivid and wild as possible. You must see the event in your mind as though you were actually there in order for this to work.
With practice, this technique will only take a second or two, but the memory will last forever.
- Make Your Name Tag Unique:
If wearing a name tag, as we do at most networking events, make yours stand out. Don’t just put down your name, company and job title. That’s just boring!For this, take a lesson from network marketing companies who wear buttons that say something like, “Ask me how I can make you rich.” Is that a better conversation starter than, “My Name is Bob?” You bet it is!
Don’t just copy that one. It’s old-hat. Get creative! Try to incorporate your own USP. What problem is it that your product or service can solve for people? That’s what you want to use. And, if you have a good sense of humor, now’s the time to use it. It’s always better to start a conversation with a laugh when possible.
- Don’t Just Hand Out Cards:
Sure handing out your card is fine, but you must collect theirs too. You’ll want to save the business card exchange for later in the conversation. Don’t hand out your card immediately. That can feel too forced and needy.Instead, look to make a connection with the person and start a relationship. Exchange cards AFTER you find commonalities and ways that you might be able to benefit each other. When accepting a business card, be sure to look at the card for a moment, actually read it, and be interested in it. Then put it safely in a special place. Don’t just jam it into your pocket of forgetfulness. Show them that you care by placing their card in a special place, perhaps in your wallet.
- LISTEN When Others Speak:
If you don’t seem interested in them, then they certainly won’t be interested in you. How many times have you met someone at a networking event, and while you’re talking, you notice that they seem more interested in what’s going on across the room? Don’t be that person!When you first meet someone, the best thing that you can do is ask questions, and then listen…I mean REALLY listen to their answers. In a world full of me-mongers, this simple step can really make you stand out and be remembered.
- Allow the Focus to be on Them:
Focus on what you can do for them, and NOT what they can do for you. As soon as you begin to talk about YOU, you’ve lost them. Allow the conversation to go where THEY choose. Be, don’t act, interested. Ask questions and find out if there’s a way for you to help them. Can you, or someone in your network solve one of their problems?Don’t worry, eventually, maybe not even today, you’ll get your chance to share how awesome you are. People tend to hire people whom they trust, and if you become a problem solver for them, you will earn their trust.
- Be Creative with Your Contact Info:
Don’t have a boring old business card. Honestly, how many stacks of business cards do you have at home right now stuffed
into a junk drawer? That’s because they’re all the same. Same size, same shape, same weight, etc.So, what can we do to save our cards from the “junk drawer of death?” Well, here are a few ideas:
- People tend to treat cards with a person’s photo with more respect, so consider adding your photo to your card.
- Cards in a stack can be forgotten, so don’t make your card stackable. Try using a tent-style business card, or a unique shaped card.
- Perhaps don’t use a business card at all, but instead carry a stack of business postcards or flyers.
- Make Your Elevator Pitch FUN:
Never go unprepared to a networking event. You should arrive with a purpose. Know who you’d like to meet and why. Plan exactly what you’re going to say when someone asks about your product or services.Your elevator pitch, since it should be pre-written, can and SHOULD be both interesting and entertaining. If you want to be remembered, think of your pitch as a very short infomercial. Never focus on the features of your product or services. Instead, ALL of the focus should be on how your product or service can BENEFIT others. Never state a feature, unless you immediately follow up with the benefit of that feature.
Since your elevator pitch is something that you will use over and over again, take enough time to make it good. Try to incorporate humor when appropriate, be visual and act confident. If writing isn’t your thing, consider outsourcing it.
- Don’t Forget to Brush Your Teeth (Yes, I’m Serious):
Of course, this sounds silly and obvious, but nothing throws off an introduction like corn in your teeth! Check your teeth, check your breath, and make sure you didn’t forget to put on deodorant in the morning. First impressions are everything, and bad hygiene is an instant social FAIL. Once you know that your teeth clean, don’t forget to smile. People who smile are twice as likely to be remembered!
- Keep a Database of Your Contacts:
Finally, If you have 500+ contacts on LinkedIn, it can be nearly impossible to keep track of who’s who. Do yourself a favor and create a spreadsheet or CRM to keep your networking contacts organized. Jot down notes about each person. What do they do, what are they interested in, what’s their favorite sports team, etc. These may come in VERY handy in the future.Once you’ve made your connections, you must follow up. Without following up, networking is pointless. Pick up the phone, connect on LinkedIn, or send an email. If ever you’re able to solve a problem for someone in your new network, do it. Connecting once isn’t enough. Keep the conversation going and build relationships. That’s what networking’s all about anyway right?
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