So I’m going to blatantly rip off a post from a great website called Art of Manliness. It’s a guest post from John Corcoran and is about how to be more memorable. As I read it, I realized it was a great follow up to my pillar several months ago on ‘how to win friends and influence people.’ If you remember that podcast, it focused very much on remembering other people and treating them with respect and attention. This is the other side of that coin, on how you can help others remember you.
John has written a series of guest posts for Art of Manliness and also has a free e-book that you can download about networking.
Here are some strategies for approaching common questions differently – We’ll start with what’s your name:
- Repeat your answer: This works great for ‘what’s your name.’ This is the exact parallel strategy that we talked about in the How to Win Friends and Influence people post – but from the other side. Throughout the conversation, make it easy for that person to remember your name by repeating it subtly. “I was really nervous about getting here on time, but I said to myself, ‘Mitch – you are early everywhere you go – don’t worry about it”
- If you have an unusual name, explain the origin as an excuse to repeat it. Don’t just explain it, but SAY it again. This one is just pure science that repetition will help the person burn it into their brains.
- Tell a story about how you got your name: The example Corcoran uses is if your name is Steve, (boring) but you were named after Steve McQueen the actor, you might say: “My dad was a huge fan of Steve McQueen’s movies back when I was born. My mom was dead set against it, but they made a deal where he got to name me Steve, and she got to name my sister Anne, after the character in her favorite book, Anne of Green Gables.”
- Create a personal association: You hear this one a lot – where you’ll introduce yourself and they’ll say “Oh, I have an uncle named Chad.” (I never quite believe them when I hear this) but nonetheless, they are trying to remember you, so you can help them by asking them some questions about their uncle. Also gives you an excuse to say the name again? “Oh, and where does your uncle Chad live?” Whether or not they’re bullshitting you, they’ll have to answer and remember that your name is Chad.
Let’s tackle the question of ‘What do you do?’
- This one is genius – ask a question back. So a lot of people, myself included ask this question, and then no matter what the person tells them, it’s gone in one ear and out the other and I’ve already stopped listening/remembering. Asking a question back is a way to snap them out of this cycle. So someone ask me what I do for a living.
“So you remember back in 2007 when the stock market totally tanked, and hedge funds got blamed for all of the shady investments that people like Bernie Madoff were making? So hedge funds still exists, but now these super rich people that invest in them want a company like mine to handle certain parts of their business, so that they don’t get into that same trouble again. I work on technology projects in that space.”
This is better than saying “I’m an IT consultant for a Hedge Fund Administrator”
- Be clear and avoid trying to be overly clever: This basically boils down to knowing – or taking your best guess at your audience. So the answer I gave above would work on most of my peers, but when I used to talk with my grandparents about my job, I told them I work on a computers for a bank. Cater your level of specificity to your audience so they are more likely to remember.
Finally, the question: ‘Where are you from’
- Be a black sheep in a sea of white sheep. Rather than just saying – “I’m from the Minneapolis area” – I might say something like “I’m from Minnepolis – And I just found out that we have more golfers per capita than any other city in the US – which is wild because we are in pretty much a deep freeze 4 months out of the year”
Thanks for listening – send along any other great tips you may know about how to be more memorable!