by Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE
"There Is No Point Going Anywhere If People Don't Remember You Were There"
Networking is indispensable these days, but if you go to business events and
no one remembers you afterward, you've wasted your time. Such contacts only
work if you make yourself memorable.
Happily, this does not mean you have to arrive on a pogo stick or be loud and
boisterous. Here are some strategies that let you walk into a room with quiet
self-assurance, confident that people will enjoy meeting you and recall you
Arrive looking your best. If you are having a busy day before going to a
business meeting, keep a change of clothes in your office or car so you can
walk in unwrinkled.
"Work" your name tag. We're all more likely to retain information that we see
and hear at the same time, so wear your name tag up on your shoulder. That
way, people can read it as they hear you say your name. Some women put their
name tags down on their handbags or in the most amazing places. Put it where
people aren't afraid to look!
Develop a distinctive "signature." Men can wear ties that people will comment
on. An investment banker I know wears a money tie. In business groups, I stand
out because I wear a hat. When people are asked, "Do you know Patricia Fripp?"
the usual reply is, "Yes, she's the one who always wears hats." Of course, if
hats suddenly become mandatory fashion, I'd go bareheaded to get noticed.
Develop an unforgettable greeting. When you introduce yourself, don't just say
your name and your job title. Instead, start by describing what you do for
people. A financial planner says, "I help rich people sleep at night." One of
my responses is, "I make conventions and sales meetings more exciting." Almost
invariably, my new friend has to ask, "How do you do that?" Immediately I get
to market myself: "You know how companies have meetings that are supposed to
be stimulating, but they're usually dull and boring? Well, I present practical
ideas in an entertaining way so people stay awake, have a good time and get
the company's message. My name is Patricia Fripp, and I'm a professional
speaker." People remember the vivid pictures you create in their minds more
than the words you say.
Overcome any shyness. If you feel uncomfortable at organized events, volunteer
to be a greeter. You stand there with a label that says "Greeter" next to your
name tag, and you have a specific job. "How do you do? I'm Chris Carter. Nice
to meet you. Name tags are here. Food is there. How do you do? I'm Chris
Carter. Nice to meet you." Soon you start feeling like the host of a party.
You've broken the ice with lots of people, so it will be easier to approach
and talk to them later. Look for opportunities to be helpful at such events. I
attended a Leukemia Society charity lunch and fashion show which was a funs
raiser for a friend. My goal was to be emcee. They had never thought of having
one, but I offered some suggestions and I was dressed for the part, offered to
do it. My friend and her husband, experts at fund-raising events loved their
idea!! I was highly visible, always feel more comfortable with a 'job' at any
event, and my friends looked like heroes.
Greet everyone. Don't ignore people you recognize if you've forgotten their
name. Smile and ask a provocative question like "What is the most exciting
thing that's happened to you since we met?" "What is your biggest recent
success?" or "What are you most looking forward to?" And never feel afraid to
say, "The last time we met, we had such a great conversation. Will you remind
me what your name is?" My friend Susan RoAne tells people, "Forgive me for
forgetting your name. Since I passed forty, it's hard to remember my own."
Follow up. Always send a note or brochure the next day to the people you have
met. Keep their cards, and make notes of what you said in case you meet them
at another event.
These are all positive, pleasant, easy ways to be memorable. Get the most out
of your networking time and energy by making yourself worth remembering!
Connecting One To One
The real key
to your on-line success is connecting with your prospects
one-at-a-time or one-to-one.
How do you connect with your prospects one at a time?
Making Valuable Contacts Online
Remember the old saying: "it's not what you know, it's who you know"? It's true. Your contacts determine whether your business succeeds or fails, and, for reasons of credibility, that's doubly true online.