Everyone wants to be remembered. When someone says your name, it’s a magic that can solidify any business relationship. Here is how to be successful at it:
1. Repeat their name.
When you are introduced to someone, repeat their name back to them. This will prevent you from forgetting their name as soon as they say it. For example, when the other person says “Hi, I’m Mary”, repeat “It’s nice to meet you, Mary”. Follow this up by using their name again in the first 30 seconds of the conversation.
This not only helps you remember their name, but it also makes a favorable impression. In general, people love the sound of their name and in the case of an initial meeting, using it shows that you are intentional about learning about them.
2. Tell a story about your name.
Stories stick with people more than facts, so instead of simply stating your name, give them a little background on it to make it more interesting, and therefore more memorable.
For example, explain the origin of your name. This is especially effective if it is unusual and people have a hard time pronouncing or spelling it. Another option is to explain how you got your name. The name John isn't very memorable, but telling a story about your grandfather who was a pilot in WWII makes it a lot more interesting.
3. Use your name in conversation.
If you don’t have any good stories to tell, try fitting your name into conversation as much as possible.
You can do this by addressing yourself by name ("so I said to myself, Barry, if you…") or using your name in dialogue ("so my friend says to me, 'Barry…'"). With this, the person will benefit from hearing your name multiple times throughout the conversation instead of just once at the beginning. It takes practice to avoid sounding awkward or conceited, but it can be mastered.
4. Use the right body language.
Memorable people are fully engaged in conversations, both verbally and non-verbally. To be engaged non-verbally, make sure you have positive body language. This consists of an open torso with uncrossed arms, feet facing forward, head and chest up, and shoulders pulled back.
At the beginning and end of the conversation, offer to shake hands (in the U.S.) During the conversation, keep an eye on the other person’s body language to mirror it. If they are animated and using their hands while they speak, don’t stand there like a statue. Make eye contact and smile frequently.
5. Answer common questions uncommonly.
When first meeting someone, you will inevitably be asked: “How are you?” and “What do you do?”
Instead of responding to these questions in a typical fashion, come up with answers that will make you memorable. For example, instead of responding to “how are you?” with a short and vague “I’m doing well, how are you?”, use it as an opportunity to tell a story about your day, week, or life in general. Use stories with self-deprecating humor instead of bragging.
6. Ask better questions.
You will most likely be asked the same “how are you?” and “what do you do?” questions, but that doesn't mean you should ask them. Assuming the person isn't making an effort to answer these questions uncommonly as suggested, they will go on autopilot and answer them in very traditional ways.
Spark brain activity by engaging the person with interesting questions. Ask “what has been the highlight of your day today?”, and “What’s your story?” It will force them to think and make you stand out from the rest.
7. Follow up.
Don’t just collect business cards, put them to use! Send an email recapping your conversation. Your email address should feature a picture of you, so they will easily be able to connect a name to a face. The photo should be your profile picture on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.
What are you going to do to be more memorable?
Barry Moltz helps small businesses get unstuck. He applies simple, strategic steps to facilitate change.
Barry has founded and run small businesses with a great deal of success and failure for more than 20 years. He is a small business speaker, radio host and author of four books. As a member of the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame, he has spoken to audiences of up to 20,000 people. He is a regular guest on business radio and cable TV programming.