"Oh, we've actually met several times before!"
We can all agree -- that's perhaps one of the most cringe-worthy ways to begin a conversation with someone. Not only is it clear that you weren't memorable enough for that person to recall meeting previously (which can be a pretty brutal kick to your confidence), but now you're also left dealing with the inevitable awkward tension that follows.
Fortunately, there's something you can do to avoid this situation altogether in the future: be more memorable.
How? Implement these habits of people who always make a lasting impact.
1. They Go Beyond Clichés
Mentioning the weather or tossing that age-old, "What do you do?" softball might be standard ways to start a conversation. But, does that mean they're memorable? Quite the opposite, actually. Everybody uses them -- meaning you shouldn't.
Instead of relying on those tried and true generalities, push yourself beyond the basics to start interesting and engaging conversations with the people you meet.
Whether you want to ask what they love doing in their free time or mention an interesting article you read earlier that day, make your best effort to skip the clichés and begin with something a little less predictable.
2. They Get Personal
Networking events and professional functions can always feel a little stiff and impersonal -- it can be tough to get a true sense of who someone is.
But, being vulnerable and willing to share a few personal tidbits can actually be an especially memorable and endearing quality. No, this doesn't mean you need to dig into the juicy details of your recent divorce or documentary-worthy health crisis.
However, sharing a bit about your recent vacation or a hobby you're passionate about will separate you from the pack and give that person something to remember you by -- other than just your job title.
3. They Actively Engage
You know how annoying it is to attempt to converse with someone while they keep one eye glued to their phone. Sure, they might be memorable -- but for all the wrong reasons.
The people we not only remember, but enjoy chatting with, are the ones who seem actively engaged and interested in the discussion at hand.
They don't scan the room or continue to not-so-subtly check the free appetizer table. They maintain eye contact, nod along, and even jump in with their own opinion and insights.
If you want to be memorable, you need to participate in a memorable conversation -- no distractions allowed.
4. They Find Common Ground
Nothing unites people like a shared interest. So, if you can uncover one with a new professional acquaintance? Well, that's a surefire way to be remembered at a later date.
Perhaps your conversational partner brings up the upcoming marathon she's training for, at which point you mention you're an avid runner too. Or, maybe he mentions a book he recently read, written by an author that you truly admire.
If you're willing to take the advice mentioned earlier and get a little personal, these shared passions will be that much easier to uncover and discuss. And, finding something in common with new people you meet will make you that much more relatable -- and, therefore, memorable.
5. They Follow Up
Let's say you put all of these tips to work. Does that automatically ensure that your new contact will remember you three years down the line when you're hunting for a new job? Not necessarily.
The most memorable people don't just make a first impression and leave it at that. Instead, they view each conversation as the beginning to a professional relationship.
So, instead of leaving that event and hoping your paths cross in the future, make an effort to keep in touch. Send an email or a LinkedIn invitation. Do what you can to form the foundation of a strong relationship and you'll go beyond just being remembered -- you'll be respected.
Nobody wants to be forgotten. But, when we're all constantly bombarded with new professional acquaintances, it can be tough to remember everybody you meet.
Fortunately, you can implement a few simple habits to make yourself more memorable. Put these five tips to work, and you're sure to leave a lasting impression.