Networking success secret: Be memorable!
There’s an old adage about business: People do business with folks they know, like, and trust. Actually, there’s an item missing from that list. A more complete way to think of it is: People do business with folks they know, like, trust, and REMEMBER!
When I was in college, I had a great memory. I would see someone on campus and remember that they had sat two desks over from me in a large history survey class three semesters ago — and I’d often remember their name. What I would give for that memory now! Of course, you may have a much better memory than I — perhaps you remember everyone you’ve met at every networking event for the last two years. But IF you don’t, what are the chances that you’re one of the few people that others remember from those same networking events?
How many people do you honestly remember once the introductions at an event are over? If you’re bored during that unending parade of uninspired intros, the thing to remember is that boring cuts both ways. I had a grade school teacher who used to say, “If you’re bored, you’re boring!”
Remember our discussion of being engaged AND engaging?
Here are a few ideas to help you spice up your introduction:
- Tune in to everyone’s favorite radio station: WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) Rather than starting your intro with your name and/or the name of your business, start with a question, statistic, or tip of interest to the other attendees. However, close with your name to leave a lasting imprint.
- Tell a story. One great way to make a lasting impression is by telling a story with a hook — yes, same idea as the hook we described a while back in your media release or query letter. Most importantly, make the story relatable — something your audience cares about or has a significant interest in.
- Sing a song. Beware — this one can work, or backfire horribly. It will work best if you can actually sing, have a thoughtful song or jingle that’s catchy and memorable, or use humorous lyrics.
- Recite a poem. A friend of mine, Eileen Proctor, was the pioneer of doggy daycare in the Phoenix area back in the late 90s. And she is a master marketer. One of her most important marketing tools is her ability to create catchy rhymes about her business. Eileen never did a boring 30-second intro. People actually so looked forward to hearing what she’d come up with each time that they’d applaud her sales pitch — and no one wanted to follow her. You’re a writer/author — can you come up with an intro with zing?
- Be funny. We’ve already mentioned funny, because it works. Provided you still get your own mention in there. Don’t get so caught up in your story, joke, or funny tale that you forget to mention yourself and/or the name of your business.
- Wear a standout hat/shirt/coat. I’ve known my personal trainer friend Scott for almost 10 years, and I can count on one hand the times I’ve seen him in pants, and those were usually jeans. He wears his training gear, emblazoned with his logo, everywhere he goes — including networking events. It also helps that he’s funny and will usually ask people to get up and do a couple jumping jacks as part of his intro. How can you model this idea to get your fellow networkers to participate with you?
- Have a startling call to action. “Just for today, members of XYZ Group can visit my website to download a free copy of my latest eBook.” If you write on a topic of interest to them, might that get their attention?
- Use call-and-response to involve the other attendees. As we’ve already alluded to, when it comes to being memorable, one of the best ways is to involve the audience. One easy way to do this is to create a call-and-response. Dolly Kennedy, namesake of the Dolly Steamboat which operates on Canyon Lake in Arizona’s Superstition Mountains, has a memorable personal brand. When Dolly walks into any networking event in the Valley clad in her formal Victorian hat, dress, and shoes and says, “Hello, everyone!” she immediately receives a robust “Hellllllllloooo, Dolly!” from the crowd. Because she’s trained them to do that. Will the one person new to the group remember her? You bet!
- Have a memorable tag line. It is possible to create a tagline people remember, particularly if it’s combined with a physical motion that reinforces it. Self-defense guru Mike Hayashi is another person with a distinct personal brand. Most people who know Mike will never forget his ubiquitous tagline: A woma’s place is in control (accompanied by a nifty martial arts move). Like Dolly, people have so come to expect it from him that when he doesn’t do it, they demand it of him. Can you imagine people demanding to hear you repeat your tagline for them?!
Most importantly, when it comes to being memorable, you must be sincere. Whether you opt for a funny song or a startling statistic, be sincere when you introduce yourself and attempt to connect with new people. And remember: clever is good for your public 30-second intro, but you’ll want to tone it down when you meet someone one-on-one at a mixer. Can you imagine having a plumber break into a his Plumber’s Rap as you’re shaking hands with him?
In the next post, we’ll discuss why it’s OK to be silly in a network environment.
We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.
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