There is no point going anywhere if people don't remember you were there!
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 was the point in attending?
Such contacts only work if you make yourself memorable. Happily, this doesn't mean you have to be bizarrely dressed or loud and boisterous.
My professional life is spent helping professionals speak more effectively to large and small groups. 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. All speaking is public speaking. Outside the privacy of your own home, you are 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 will recall you afterwards:
1. 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.
2. 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. 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 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."
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 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: "You know how companies have meetings that are supposed to be stimulating, but they're often dull and boring? Well, I present practical ideas in an entertaining way so people stay awake, have a good time, and get the company's message. My name is Patricia Fripp, and I'm a professional speaker." People remember the vivid pictures you create in their minds more than the words you say.