Have you ever attended an event, collected a bunch of business cards only to be going through them the next day trying to remember who you met? In this sea of cards there is not a single face or exchange that stands out. How many times have you met someone, handed them your card hoping not to become one of the forgotten faces somewhere in their pile?
For those faces that you can recall, how much of the conversation comes back to you? “Hi, how are you? What do you do for work?” And then 10 minutes of dialogue that you can’t quite recall, except for maybe a detail here and there.
It’s not because as people we are incapable of retaining thoughts, ideas or moments. In fact, I’m certain if asked about your favorite television commercial you can recite or describe it word for word, line for line in incredible detail. I know I can recite lines from just about every recent Progressive commercial (“Sprinkles are for winners,” and, “Where’s your husband?”).
Maybe there is something to be learned from the world of advertising that can be translated into a personal application on making yourself memorable.
According to marketing expert, Lois Geller, “there are usually four key elements in a great ad: a disruptive and relevant visual, strong brand identification, a brilliant headline, and ‘something else.’ The something else is a variable.”
To me, being memorable is to do something or be someone who leaves a lasting impression — something that is out of the ordinary or unexpected. It is being someone that is not easily forgotten. Being memorable is what makes you stand out in a way that others don’t. Those who are memorable often have their own “brand” of memorable too. Think about the things that make the people you consider memorable stand out.
Being memorable is to do something or be someone who leaves a lasting impression — something that is out of the ordinary or unexpected. It is being someone that is not easily forgotten. Being memorable is what makes you stand out in a way that others don’t.
There is plenty of written content about personal branding related to image, elevator speeches, unique selling attributes and the like. I won’t bore you with another version of that. What I want to discuss is the something else part of the equation. In the quest to make yourself memorable, here are some ideas that will help you to stand above “the blur” and leave your unique mark.
Show interest in others. How often in a conversation are you spending time talking about the other person? I’m not talking about prying or interfering with personal matters. Simply taking time to show interest in and acknowledge the importance of what others have going on in their lives goes a long way. It also gives you the chance to make another person feel important when the interest is sincere. Don’t ask people about what they do for work (yawn, boring). Instead, ask them what they love to do, ask them what they care about and ask them what their goals are. Everyone works — but do you know what they are working for? What is the motivation behind the 9-5? Those kind of questions show that you are interested. People will remember that you make them feel important.
Be who you are. It can be easy to want to blend in or not to draw attention to yourself. Being comfortable with being different can be difficult. As people, we are wired to want people to like us — to make friends — to be accepted. For those who have taken any psychology classes, you know that according to Maslow, a sense of belonging only takes a back seat to food on the table and a roof over your head. What we haven’t been taught is that trying to be someone you aren’t is boring and simply the path of least resistance. It might take more than one interaction for others to get over the shock of non-conforming and warm up to your unique brand of you. Assuming the things that make you unique aren’t offensive or harmful to others, chances are that the characteristics that make you unique will find their way to being endearing (or at least appreciated) by others. More importantly, allow others to be who they are too. The way that you embrace what is unique about them inclines them to do the same for you. People will remember they are comfortable being themselves around you.
Be generous. You may not remember every time that you have been given something, however chances are that when the gift is generous, it leaves an impression you don’t soon forget. We all have “things” we can give; whether it’s time, ideas, resources, attention, money or compliments. Find ways you can give to others, and do so in a generous fashion — going above what might be expected or considered normal. More importantly, do so earnestly and honestly. When you give a compliment, make it sincere and specific. When you are giving your time or attention, be 100% invested in the moment. When giving ideas, make them thoughtful and unique. People will remember that you give beyond their expectations.
Listen. We live distracted lives. Social media (and mobile devices) have virtually made us an anti-social society. It’s become normal to be in a room with other people — none of whom are talking with each other — but are carrying on conversations via text, email, Snapchat or Instagram with their “other” friends. We’ve lost the art of listening. Want to be memorable? Turn your de-VICES off, look someone in the eye and listen to what they have to say. People will remember that you pay attention to them.
Be happy. We all know at least one — the person who embraces life, never seems to be down, full of joy, and has a robust and hearty laugh that can be heard for miles. You may even find yourself joking about this person under your breath, “I wonder what he’s on.” The simple fact is that when you are enjoying life, people notice. We are used to people focusing on what makes them unhappy and allowing that to affect or dictate their demeanor. I’m in no way suggesting that you fake happy (unless you’re going to fake it ‘till you make it), not admit that problems happen or address situations that need improving. Stuff happens and ignoring it doesn’t make it better or go away. What I am saying is that when your overall outlook is filled with optimism and you are able to enjoy all of the good that life has to offer, it leaves a lasting impression. People will remember how much they like being around you.
By Lou Sepulveda
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