Professional Networking: Memorability & Tools

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Memorability is one of the most important parts to make a connection with people and make sure they don't forget you. Here's what to keep in mind when you attend your next event.

The time has come to introduce the thinking regarding the fourth step of networking. As mentioned, the 6 steps of networking are identification, first contact, connection, memorability, organizing and following up (for the details on the first three take a look at the previous three articles here: one, two, three).

As usual, let’s take a look in a simple scenario. Imagine that your job is to create strong relations with key potential strategic partners. That would mean being present to big events, managing to start a conversation with the people you are targeting and trying to create a connection. Leaving the last huge event, you are satisfied by the amount of personal conversations you had and contact information you managed to collect. You were capable of connecting with the “big fishes” of your industry. Running happily back to the office, you start writing enthusiastically the first email. You click send and wait. First week passes, second as well. No response. Did they missed your email or did they read it but were not actually interested? Should you re-contact? Or does that makes you seem too aggressive?

Looking at this incident with the eyes of a professional networking you already did a lot of mistakes even before you clicked “sent” in your email account.

Are You Memorable?

First thing you need to ask yourself is if during the event you managed to become memorable to the person you were talking to. Can he/she identify you if he/she listens to your name? Did you make it easy for them to remember? As an example, when I meet new people and it is time to identify myself, the conversation goes something like:

-Hey, my name is Jason Peterson.
-Hello, I am Dimitris Bronowski. It is Dimitris with an “s” at the end. When that happens it means it is a Greek name, not a Russian. Russians don’t have the “s”.
-So you come from Greece?
-Well, actually I am half Greek, half German. (Pause till I see a small laugh appearing in their mouth). Yes, this combination is indeed possible (making a referral to the popular belief that German people are hard workers and productive as opposed to the, supposedly, lazy Greeks).

The effects of this conversation? Multiple.

Why Is This So Important?

1) First thing, I made them think about my name in an analytical way which has been shown to increase memorability. I have actually people sending me emails after this writing in the title “Hey Dimitris with an ‘s’…”. If it is me that sends the email, I make sure I put my name in the title, sometimes even writing as -Dimitri’s’-. This way I am sure they remember me. So, stop for a moment and think, is there a story behind your name, is it uncommon somehow? Or, even if your name is John Smith in England or Peter Müller in Germany (check the most common surnames in Europe) you can say something like:

-My name is John Smith, exactly as 1.26% of English population.

Make a story to support your introductions.

2) What you accomplish by presenting yourself this way is that you give to the people you meet an easy conversation starter and make them laugh and feel good from the first moment they meet you. As has been said multiple times: People won’t remember what you said but they will remember how you made them feel. This is why I mentioned my Greek/German origin. People in Europe tend to laugh at that and I make it easy for them. Then, this gives a grip for a conversation that they can lead wherever they prefer, either on the bad side of the economy or the good, either to the seriousness of the situation or the funny part of it. It doesn’t matter where they want to take the conversation, since I allowed them to express themselves I have reached my goal.

3) When I send the first email, as I mentioned, I make sure to include my name in the subject line so they can remember me. Then, there is a simple checklist for the subject line:

  • where we met,
  • reason to contact,
  • value to provide

Sometimes it is not easy, but I try to include all this info in the subject line. This way, the probability of someone opening the email is higher.

Now, start thinking of how you usually introduce yourself and how do you make it easy for others to remember who you are just by reading your name. You can use this kind of thinking in many scenarios. For example, when someone asks you where do you come from or what do you do for a living, don’t just say “London” and “I work in Marketing”. Google “London” and find out a couple of cool facts. What would be the effect of saying “I come from the country that it is illegal to die inside one of their palaces”? or “I am one of the people that get fascinated by the fact that 58% of your audience will stop watching video within the first 90 seconds.” Pause. “Marketing”. Apologetic smile.

Put other people at ease, smile (more on practical tips on smiling later), give them a conversation starter, have a story to tell.

One thing that we did not discuss so far is how technology has changed the way networkers work. Let’s see a small tip that can create a huge change for you: Use Gmail. Why? Thousands of reasons, but first of all, let’s make sure that you all know that you can use Gmail to send emails from other accounts, so using Gmail does not mean that you are going to stop using your company’s email. Now let’s get to the why:

When using Gmail you are able to use MixMax. MixMax allows you to do a lot of magical things. First of all, you can know when someone opened your emails. You get notifications for that, and you can actually see the state of each email you send. You can see exactly how many times your email was opened and at what time. Second of all, you can see when people click on your links or download your attachments. Also, you can schedule emails to be sent at a specific time and get notifications if you did not receive an answer after a defined period. Plus, it lets you create a cool signature, where you can have “call to action” buttons, things like “Read My Latest Article” or “Skype with me” or just a simple “Click here to laugh” attached to a funny 20 seconds Youtube video.

Now see the simple effects of having this information. Imagine you sent an email with three different proposals to a potential partner. In each proposal you have a small link that redirects them to a page with more information on the proposal. Also, you have the funny video button. You schedule the email to be send at 8am in the morning. In your feed the next day you see that the email was opened four times, the link of the second proposal was clicked once and the funny video button was clicked four times. Information you can get out of it: They are not interested in the first and third proposal, put your focus on the second or explain better the other two. The person who read the email liked the video and probably called a couple of colleagues to see it (you don’t usually click 4 times the same link alone). Make sure the next time you call him to start by asking if he saw the video. Most of the time you can actually hear them smiling as they respond. People remember how you made them feel.

There are plenty of other positive effects of MixMax, but I will not get into more details here. By the way, I only discussed the free version of it.

If you liked the article and want to talk with me or you believe I can help you grow your business by giving specific advice please schedule a Skype call with me here. I will be happy to get to know you!

In the next article, we will discuss the 5th step of networking, organizing your contacts to strategically create value and we will see a couple of other software solutions that can make your life easier.



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