If you want to create the career success you want and deserve, get good at networking. Learn how to engage others quickly and leave a positive, lasting impression. Dressing well and paying attention to your appearance is a great start. However, great networkers know that looking good is only one piece of the puzzle.
The second piece is simple: Remember people’s names. Check out what Dale Carnegie has to say about remembering names…
“If you remember my name, you pay me a subtle compliment; you indicate that I have made an impression on you. Remember my name and you add to my feeling of importance.”
This is great career advice.
Shakespeare also chimes in on the importance of remembering other people’s names…
“What a disgrace it is to me to not remember thy name.”
That’s true too. We disgrace ourselves when we don’t remember other people’s names. It shows that we value them very little. I work hard at remembering people’s names and using them.
If you read my blog, you probably know that I went to Penn State. Joe Paterno was the football coach when I arrived there in 1968. He’s still the coach today. Joe is quite a guy, and he is good with names.
Several years ago, I was in New York. It was the day after the ESPYs had been held at Radio City Music Hall. I was walking along Sixth Avenue when I came face to face with Joe Paterno. He had won an ESPY the night before.
I looked him in the eye, and said “Joe.” He stopped. I introduced myself – “Bud Bilanich, class of ’72.” He said, “How are you doing, Bud?” Our conversation lasted about 10 minutes. Joe probably used my name at least 10 times in that conversation. He said things like, “You know Bud…”, and “When was the last time you were in State College, Bud?, and “What are you doing in New York, Bud?”
I know that he was repeating my name so that he could remember it. And at the same time, I felt good about the fact that a famous football coach not only took the time to chat with me on a cold windy street corner in New York, he went out of his way to remember and use my name.
Remembering people’s names is an important networking tool. People who are a career success are good at networking. They know how to engage others quickly and leave a positive, lasting impression. Dressing well and paying attention to your appearance is a great start. However, great networkers know that looking good is only one piece of the puzzle. Remembering people’s names is the second part of the puzzle.
Here are my four best ideas on becoming a great networker…
Stay focused on the person with whom you are in a conversation. Many people let their eyes wander – especially at networking events. When you do this, you are sending a message to the person with whom you are speaking that he or she is less important than someone else you might spot in the crowd. It’s not only polite, it’s good business sense to focus on the person in front of you. Exchange business cards before you move on to speak with someone else.
Listen and respond appropriately to people you meet. Maintain eye contact. Ask questions if you don’t understand what they say. Paraphrase what they say to make sure you understand. Above all, respond appropriately – don’t take the conversation in a new direction until the topic under discussion has been exhausted.
Build relationships with people you meet by being helpful. Take the initiative. Give them leads that may help them. Last week, Helen Whelan, CEO of SuccessTelevision.com, sent me an email letting me know about a public relations opportunity. I thanked Helen and followed up on the opportunity. I also sent it to two people I know who may be better suited than me. Why? Because I wanted to strengthen my relationships with them – and what better way to build strong relationships than by giving something of value to other people.
Learn from as many people as you can. Everybody has something to offer. With some people you have to dig a little more deeply than with others. Regardless, treat every conversation as a learning opportunity. The more you listen, the more you’ll learn.
The common sense career success coach point here is simple. Successful people create positive personal impact. Networking is a great way to create a powerful lasting impression. When you are networking, follow the career advice in Tweet 110 in Success Tweets. “Remember and use people’s names. Look for common ground with the people you meet. Find out about them, their hobbies and passions.” Besides remembering people’s names, you will create positive personal impact in networking situations if you: 1) stay focused on the person with whom you are engaged in conversation; 2) listen and respond appropriately; 3) build relationships by being helpful; and 4) learn from as many people as you can.