How to Make an Impression on a New Contact

Listen to them talk and remember their name.

My mom taught me one of the most important business lessons even though she wasn’t a business person. As a matter of fact, she was a preschool teacher, and I believe that a lot of the skills and techniques she used with her four-year-old students apply to business and networking!

 Nancy Marshall, son Craig and mother Oma
Nancy did a book signing on December 4 at the Carrabassett Valley Public Library with an audience of 40 people. Here she is with her son, Craig, who helped her sell the books, and her Mom, Martha, aka “Oma,” who taught her the most important lessons about networking. Let people talk about themselves and they will remember you more than if you monopolize the conversation! (Photo credit: Andrea DeBiase)

She told me that people will like you and think you are really smart if you just let them talk about themselves. As a result, when I meet someone new, I ask them a lot of questions about themselves and I let them talk. I try to listen and remember the things that are important to them so that the next time I see them, I can ask them about their kids, their pets, their vacation home, or whatever they have told me about that is important to them. I also make a real effort to remember their name.

If you’ve studied Dale Carnegie, specifically his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” you know that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language. People love hearing their own name, no matter what kind of person they are. When you meet someone new, if you don’t get their name the first time they say it, ask them to repeat it again. Some names are simple to pronounce, like Jane or Bill, and others are difficult to pronounce, but it’s equally important to repeat and remember names no matter what.

When you speak to a person, say their name and look them in the eye. This simple gesture will create a lasting impression and show that you care about them.

These simple gestures will make you more memorable, and in turn, will help you broaden your network of influence. Having a large network of connections will help you in any business, whether you are an attorney, a gas station attendant, or a ski coach.

I’ve certainly benefited from my network in my public relations career and my life in general. I truly feel that having a large network of friends and professional contacts has made my life much happier and more fulfilling.

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