Few things make me happier than seeing people line up, ready to ask questions, after I’ve given a presentation. It’s even better when one of the questions is “How can we work with you?”
After being in business as a speaker, trainer and consultant for over 15 years, I’ve been fortunate to experience that kind of validation more than a few times, yet a far more rewarding response has arisen over the past three to five years. I’ll receive an email or phone message that begins with “You may not remember me…” then a reminder of the event where the person and I met years ago and a request to discuss how I can support an upcoming conference, training or consulting project. These days, I receive at least a couple of these calls each month, and I’m surprised and delighted every time. It often amazes me when I learn the amount of time that has elapsed between when I presented and when action was taken (my most long-term “memory milestone" was 15 years).
This experience has taught me to no longer expect instant gratification when I produce work or make assumptions about how or when my efforts will pay off, or even under which circumstances. In fact, one of my biggest long-term contracts stemmed from a presentation I gave in an oversized auditorium before ten people at an event plagued by weather, travel, and technology snags. The big takeaway, though, is that being memorable has made the difference between realizing short-term gains and reaping long-term rewards in my career. Comments from my attendees-turned-clients confirm that there can be more than one criterion for hitting the memorability mark, but they invariably roll up to the three calls to action that I've summarized below.
GIRL TO GREAT MANDATES
- Emanate expertise – Having credibility in your chosen subject is a baseline for any presentation. Becoming memorable requires you to kick it up a notch on multiple fronts. Everything from your physical bearing to the succinctness of your slides (hint: less is more) to your offhand remarks and answers to questions combine to shape your listeners’ perception of your expertise. I often hear the phrase, “I remember that you really knew your stuff,” but often it's capped off with, “I could just tell….” Multi-faceted, multi-sensory cues make you memorable, and audiences know proficiency when they see it.
- Value first – In the digital age, facts, figures and observations are commodities. Giving people something they can easily and immediately use sets a new standard. Some speakers are reluctant to give away what they perceive as the keys to their kingdoms, yet in my experience, withholding information compromises credibility. Anytime someone acts upon something you’ve shared, you’ve created an indelible impression. Make it easy for that to happen, even if it means sharing a few secrets. There’s more where that came from, right?
- Energy is everything – Whether coming from a man or a woman, a young professional or a seasoned expert, the word “energy” pops up in much of the feedback I receive from my reconnections. I often hear, “I loved your energy,” and “I remember your positive energy.” I have no problem getting a little mystical here, because empirical evidence backs me up. Your “energetic field” can make all the difference in the moment, and can even transcend time. Potent stuff!
It’s wonderful when effort is rewarded right away. You’ll generate successive waves of of opportunity, sometimes even years later, by honing your memory-making abilities.
Isn’t that great?
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