By Patricia Fripp
Networking is an important part of building your business and developing good social contacts. However, if you go to business events and no one remembers you afterward, what's the point in attending? Such contacts only work if you make yourself memorable.
Too often, talented and well-educated self-storage operators attend networking events and yet miss their big chance to make an impression. How? By developing a mini presentation for audiences of one to five. All speaking is public speaking. Outside the privacy of your own home, you’re speaking in public no matter the size of your audience.
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 afterward.
1. Arrive looking your best. If you have a hectic day before going to a networking meeting, keep a change of clothes in your office or car so you can arrive unwrinkled and fresh.
2. Wear your name tag. We’re all more likely to retain information 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. Some women put their name tags down on their handbags or in the most inappropriate places. Put it where people are not afraid to look!
3. Develop a memorable signature. Men can wear ties on which people will comment. Women can wear a certain hat or jewelry. Just find something interesting to add to your wardrobe that stands out.
4. 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 self-storage operator might say, “I help people make more space in their homes.” Almost invariably, your new friend will ask, “How do you do that?” This opens the door for you to tell him about your facility. People remember the vivid pictures you create in their minds more than the words you say.
5. Greet everyone. Don’t ignore people you recognize if you’ve forgotten a name. Smile and ask a question like, “What is the most exciting thing that’s happened to you since we last met?” or “What is your greatest recent success?” Never be afraid to say, “The last time we met, we had such a great conversation. Will you remind me what your name is?” Best-selling author Susan RoAne tells people, “Forgive me for forgetting your name. Since I passed 40, it’s hard to remember my own.”