The way we introduce ourselves and others can leave us branded. Branded either for the good and highlighting what is uniquely our strengths. Or, branded negatively by shining a spotlight on our weak areas.
Living in West Texas, when I use the term ‘branded’ I imagine cowboys or vaqueros (Vaquero Regional Note: Used chiefly in southwest and central Texas to mean a ranch hand or cowboy, the word vaquero is a direct loan from Spanish) rustling up cattle on a ranch and ‘branding’ them with the owner’s mark to ensure everyone knows who these cattle belong to.
Does your brand belong to the brand of a consummate professional or an inexperienced novice?
There is so much that is normally going on during the course of introductions to others. Sometimes we’re at a “grip, grin and graze” and we don’t even have a free hand to shake with. Sometimes we’re trying so hard to formulate our “elevator pitch” that we never hear what the other person even said. Or, we spend more time distracted by digging to find a business card that the person we met is wondering if we’re desperately searching out a snack or money item. And often, we forget the person’s name in a matter of seconds and engage in conversation that is frankly meaningless.
It’s those little things that do make a great difference in not only being visible but being memorable to someone. A great introduction also gives you the opportunity to begin establishing rapport and credibility.
The best way to be introduced is to remember someone’s name. Dale Carnegie, in his classic bestseller “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, shares that a name to anyone is the sweetest sound they’ll ever hear.
It is so true! We light up and engage when someone calls us by name. We feel remembered, special and important. Imagine if you can do that for someone that you meet? You truly will stand head and shoulders above everyone they meet in such a positive way! Yet so many have convinced themselves and rationalized (rational lies) that they cannot remember names. I believe that whatever you focus on you create. So, focusing on the fact that you cannot remember names creates the mindset and environment to forget names easily. Jack Canfield, author and speaker, shared that “if I told you to not think of a cat chasing a dog – you just visualized, in your mind, a cat chasing a dog.” Your mind couldn’t help creating the scenario. So, the same scenario of not being able to remember names is created.
First, believe that you can remember names. Ask yourself, what am I doing right now to remember names? It could be that you’re focusing more and being distracted less. Maybe you’ve crafted a few “elevator pitches” to use so you free up your mind to really listen when meeting people.
Next, when you meet someone, make sure you repeat their name to ensure that you heard it correctly. In first time meetings, sometimes there so much activity or it’s so fast paced that we really didn’t hear what someone said. Slow down and make sure you heard someone’s name clearly and that you really did get it. Of all the things to spend time on when you’re meeting someone, this is an investment that will yield great returns.
Then, ask something about the spelling of their name of ask for a visual. A business card is usually great for this as is a name tag. When those tools aren’t available, then you can ask them to spell it out verbally or have them write it on the back of one of your business cards. The visual and sound will help you remember.
Now, introduce them to someone so that their name really sticks with you and you are seen as someone helpful all in one action. You will remember their name.
If you are meeting a large group of people, then sometimes I’ll write something memorable about that person on the back of their card to remind me who they are. Or, I’ll call my voice mail and leave a message to myself with the names of all the people I just met.
What do you do to remember names and brand yourself as a professional?
Maria Elena Duron is chief buzz officer, coach and speaker with buzz2bucks.com. Buzz2Bucks | a word of mouth firm serves as the community manager around your personal or business brand online and offline, and coaches community managers on how to be buzz-worthy. Buzz2Bucks is known for the talk that yields profits. She is author of the book “Mouth to Mouth Marketing” and the ebook “Social I.R.A.” She’s been quoted as a marketing and word of mouth expert by Entrepreneur Magazine and contributes to several publications and is the creator of #brandchat, a weekly twitter conversation about all aspects of branding. She broadcasts weekly as the business coach with CBS7. Duron will speak at the 2009 Massachusetts Conference for Women.