When meeting new people at business or networking events, you’ve probably noticed that some people make much stronger impressions than others. You’re more likely to have more favorable opinions of some and not others.
You may wonder what makes some people so immediately memorable and others so instantly forgettable, and whether there’s some secret formula the former use to create such an effective impact.
It’s not rocket science, it’s just Human Nature 101. The people you remember upon first meeting simply appeal to your self-interest. They might tell you relevant facts about themselves that you want or need to know, share a story that resonates with you, or have a solution you’ve been searching for.
You can learn to make a memorable first impression, and introduce yourself like a pro using these four simple tips.
1. Clarify your value.
By the time the guy across the table from you has finished saying, “My name is John Doe, and I’m the Strategic Business Coordinator at ABC Company,” you’ve most likely already forgotten who he is and what he does. Why? Because he hasn’t conveyed how he or his company can help you or someone you know.
Here’s an example of a more memotable introduction: “Hi, I’m John Doe, and as a Strategic Business Coordinator at ABC Company, we help companies do X, Y and Z.” If you need this person’s help, product or service, you will perk up and remember him and ask for his contact information.
2. Speak with gusto.
Some people come across like they want to blend with the wallpaper. They seem embarrassed to introduce themselves and just want to get past the introduction. People who believe their jobs are secure don’t always feel the need to put themselves forward, but few entrepreneurs have that luxury. You are your brand. You are the face of your business and can’t afford to fade into the woodwork.
Present yourself confidently, with enthused energy. Show that you’re interested in and engaged with those you’re interacting with, whether it’s an audience of one at a networking event or a tableful of potential clients.
3. Be culturally aware.
As a twenty-first century entrepreneur, you probably deal regularly with all kinds of people from different personal or professional backgrounds, companies, industries or countries. Incorporate these factors into your introduction to demonstrate that you are a true professional who understands and appreciates the nuances of today’s diverse business world.
If you know you’re going to meet a new client or customer who is based overseas, research the social protocols of his culture’s corporate norms beforehand to avoid unintentionally offending or alienating him.
4. Observe and emulate.
Every meeting with a new person or group is a golden opportunity to introduce yourself effectively. One of my favorite quotes from Jack Kornfield’s Buddha’s Little Instruction Book reads, “Imagine that every person in the world is enlightened but you. They are all your teachers, each doing just the right things to help you learn perfect patience, perfect wisdom, perfect compassion.”
The next time you meet someone memorable, be observant and try to figure out what makes them stand out and why. When you meet someone more nondescript, try not to do whatever they do that makes them so forgettable.
First impressions are easy to make and hard to change. Keep these basic principles in mind when meeting new people in any situation and you’ll learn to make a positive, and memorable, first impression.