I don’t know about you but some of us have to work on being unforgettable. Networking can be a terrific experience if you do your best to make the occasion memorable – not for you but for others. How will they remember you? What do you do differently than anyone else that will make the experience memorable? Here are a few ideas.
Be fully present. Be attentive. This is the perfect present. Be present to it.
Be fully engaged and totally aware of the people you network with. Never be “half there.” Always be fully there and fully aware. Boring people are rarely ever remembered for their good qualities.
Demonstrate a genuine interest in others. Show sincere passion and enthusiasm for what they are saying. Establish rapport. Factors that influence this initial impact are your handshake, facial expressions, eye contact, interest in the other person and your overall attentiveness.
When you meet someone new, listen carefully to their name. If you didn’t hear them or understand exactly what they say, ask them to repeat it. Use their name as you talk with them. It will help you to remember it. Name tags help if you wear the name tag on the right side so that your eye will easily travel to it as you make the initial handshake. If they hand you a business card, study it to help implant the name in your memory.
Don’t wait for the conversation to begin – start it. When someone asks how you are doing, don’t parrot back your usual response. Think of something positive, unique, and/or funny that you are doing, and give them a one line summary. Be a “Mr. (or Ms.) Feelgood!” No humdrum behavior allowed. You should be bringing smiles to people’s faces, not unloading your baggage or stress.
If you can’t seem to come up with something to say when you meet someone new, ask them questions about themselves. I promise you that is their favorite subject. Come up with something interesting to say about yourself. In your most creative way, tell them what you do for people, how you help, the problems you solve.
Differentiate yourself. Come up with something that makes you stand out from the crowd. When saying your name, consider using alliteration or rhyme. I often will introduce myself as, “Larry James, the guy with two first names.”
Focus on developing close personal and business relationships. Suspend the temptation to ask for leads in favor of starting an interesting conversation that can lead to a more meaningful relationship. “In your face” salespeople are never good networkers. Yes, I said, “NEVER!” That kind of behavior turns people off. They are the ones who give networking a bad name.
Be vulnerable. Show a little of your emotional side. There is nothing wrong with being the networker that they remember because you were fun to be around. Talk about your family or an especially close friend. A person’s impression of you as a human being is what will stick with them in the long run.
Be a giver! People are obsessed with knowledge. Offer some brain candy; thoughts, ideas, observations, insights, commentary, suggestions and tips about business networking that will contribute to the relationships of others. Inspire people. Plant seeds of good. Offer encouragement. Give sincere compliments. Givers gain. Give selflessly regardless of what’s in it for you. People remember someone who offers assistance without the need to receive anything in return. Provide honest feedback. Helping others is the cornerstone of effective networking.
Say to others, “Tell me about your networking activities and the types of people you usually help.” Talk about what small steps you both could take to move the relationship forward or help each other in some way. Ask good questions. Give interesting answers.
Collaboration works! Collaborate with others in your network about creative promotional ideas.
Albert Einstein once said, “A successful man is he who receives a great deal from his fellow men, usually incomparably more than corresponds to his service to them. The value of a man [or woman], however, should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive.”
Make eye contact. Never be preoccupied with getting to the next person by glancing over the shoulder of the person you are talking with. That’s called, “rude!”
Listen well and respond promptly. Pay attention. When you are truly present in the moment, those things pretty much happen naturally.
Be visible. Don’t blend in with the crowd. The more visible you can be on their radar, the more likely they are to call on your services when they need help. Dress smartly. You must make a good impression to be remembered. Make it distinctive and memorable – but make sure it feels right for you. Be well groomed. Look sharp!
If you make a promise to followup, keep it. Deliver on your promise in a way that provides them the value they expect. Assuming you’re good at that, once word of mouth kicks in you’ll be on your way to achieving your networking goals. The last thing anyone wants is empty promises or pointless next steps. Keep your word. Be known for the integrity you represent in your business.
Being fully engaged helps you stand out. Create the buzz that people will talk about.
Let others see that you are someone who “walks their talk.”
Be yourself. Be real or go home. Never try to be someone you are not. Learn to be comfortable with yourself.
Rob Steen has been quoted as saying that memorableness is about impact and resonance: contemporary memory and the ripples that pass that memory on.
There is an art to being memorable. Practice, practice, practice. Networking is one of the most profitable activities in which you can engage. You get more proficient at it with practice. Just like any skill, being memorable in networking needs to be learned, practiced and improved on a regular basis. You may have heard, “Practice makes you perfect.” This not true. Practice makes you better than you were.
Break out of your comfort zone and do something a little different than everyone else and you will be amazed at what can happen. You will find that others in your network will begin to gravitate to you on a regular basis.
Networking works! It produces results. If it didn’t work, have you ever wondered why there are so many networking events? Unfortunately, many business professionals treat networking much like the other areas of their business, they wing it. That doesn’t work. Often there is no set plan, execution or follow through to get the best and most predictable results. Networking is it’s own self-development course – if you let it. Networking and career advancement go hand-in-hand.
Networking is also about making an impression on others. Staying visible and memorable is the key to turning ideal prospects into paying customers or clients. Create ways of being unforgettable. Make that connection with people so that they will remember you.
The most influential networker is someone you know and trust. Great relationships are based on trust. Are your actions, products, and services enhancing trust?
To sum it up here is a quote from Maxine Hurt: “Because people remember experiences far more clearly than they remember details, it’s the combination of your appearance, your words, your actions, and your spirit that will make you memorable. If you’ve left someone thinking, ‘Wow, I like being around that person,’ then your job is done.”
Copyright © 2009 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Visit Larry’s “Networking HQ” Website; articles, tips, networking books and more!
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