We've all been to them -- those networking events where everybody stands up and introduces themselves. But how can you make sure more people remember you? The secret's in a spot in their brains called "Broca's Area."
A few years ago, I was at a networking mixer that let everyone stand and introduce themselves to the group. Everybody had 45 seconds max to make an impression.
One problem: the organizers forgot to bring the sound system. (Oops.) So everyone had to struggle to even be heard, much less remembered.
In the midst of everyone doing the standard intro ("Hi, my name is Chris Green, and I'm with Proactive Solutions, and we specialize in ..."), one guy took a whole different route: he cited a string of relevant (and pretty compelling) statistics about the benefits of what he offered. He didn't even say his name until the very end.
Our response? A rousing round of applause!
Now, it didn't hurt that, under the microphone-less circumstances, his booming theatrical voice carried the hall better than everybody else's. But it was his approach that got -- and kept -- attention.
Whether he realized it or not, this gentleman was exploiting a part of the left frontal lobe of our brains called Broca's Area, which controls speech processing.
This part of the brain will actually "go to sleep" when it encounters familiar speech patterns (like "Hi, my name is ..."). This isn't something we can necessarily control consciously -- it's a hardwired behavior meant to ration our attention effectively.
This guy's more memorable intro, however, broke the usual pattern, ensuring we all stayed attentive throughout his presentation.
Want to use this technique to boost top-of-mind awareness of your product or service? Here are some tips for starting a memorable intro:
- Ask a provocative question. Questions engage listeners (they can't help but answer, even silently) and offer you an opportunity to insert some important information about your product or service. For instance, if you're offering HR consulting that reduces employee turnover, invite people to guess how much each replacement hire is costing them in unemployment insurance, training costs, and reduced productivity. That'll get them thinking about how you'll benefit them.
- Cite a compelling statistic. The more surprising the statistic, the better. Go for a little shock value -- show them how much money they're spending, how much time they're wasting, how much business they're losing. Wake 'em up to a problem they didn't really know existed (not coincidentally, a problem you solve).
- Tell a customer success story. Everybody loves a story -- especially one with a happy ending. Who doesn't want to hear about someone coming out on top? Be sure to make both yourself and your customer look good (and get their approval first, too).
Wake up their brains to stay top of mind long after the networking event is over!