This is a guest post by Patricia Fripp, executive speech coach.
It never ceases to amaze me how many talented and well-educated people attend networking events yet overlook their big chance to be memorable by developing a mini-presentation for audiences of one to five. Here are some strategies that let you walk into a room with quiet self-assurance, confident that people will enjoy meeting you and will recall you afterward:
- Arrive looking your best. If you have a hectic day before going to a business meeting, keep a change of clothes in your office or car so you can arrive unwrinkled.
- Wear 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 right shoulder. That way, people can read it as they hear you say your name.
- Develop a memorable signature. Men can wear ties that people will comment on. An investment banker I know wears a money tie. At certain meetings, industry events and the National Speakers Association, I stand out because I wear distinctive hats. When people are asked “Do you know Patricia Fripp?” the usual reply is “Yes, she’s the one who always wears the amazing hats.”
- Develop an unforgettable greeting. When you introduce yourself, don’t just say your name and job title. Instead, start by describing the benefits of what you do for clients. 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.
- Greet everyone. Don’t ignore people you recognize if you’ve forgotten their names. Smile and ask a provocative question like “What is the most exciting thing that has happened to you since we last met?” or “What are you most looking forward to?” And never be afraid to say: “The last time we met, we had such a great conversation. Will you remind me what your name is?”
- Overcome any shyness. For many people, mingling with a roomful of strangers can be an unpleasant or even scary experience. Focus on the benefits of meeting exciting new contacts and learning new information instead of focusing on any butterflies in your stomach. Until you’ve gained confidence, a good way to do that is to offer to volunteer for a job that requires interacting with other attendees, such as volunteering to be a greeter. You’ll meet many new people and receive cheery nods of recognition throughout the event, making it easy to stop and talk later. When you focus on helping others feel comfortable, you are not thinking about your being shy!
- Travel with your own PR agent. That is a powerful technique that maximizes your networking. Form a duo with a professional friend. When you arrive, alternately separate and come together, talking up each other’s strengths and expertise.
- Always send a note or brochure the next day to the people you have met. Keep business cards, and make notes of what you said for when you meet the people at another event.
Those are all positive, pleasant, easy ways to be memorable. Make yourself worth remembering!
Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE, keynote speaker, executive speech coach and sales presentation skills expert, works with organizations and individuals who realize they gain a competitive edge through powerful, persuasive presentation skills. She builds leaders, transforms sales teams and delights audiences. Fripp is past-president of the National Speakers Association. To learn more, contact her at http://www.fripp.com, (415)753-6556, @PFripp, or PFripp@ix.netcom.com.