In your professional life, you probably want to be known as smart, successful, and competent. But to even get to those adjectives, you have to make it over one huge hurdle: You have to actually be known and remembered. But how do you ensure that you’re not another suit in the crowd?
Own the Room founder Bill Hoogterp has the secrets for how to be memorable — and, unsurprisingly, they’re not really secrets at all. They’re just tips from television and the stage, which can be repurposed for your elevator pitches, meetings, presentations, and networking events.
First, he says, increase the number of senses that your audience is using while you talk.
“Normally, when there’s a speaker, how many senses does the audience use? Just two. So when you have any other prop coming into play, it deepens learning. Hearing is one of the weakest senses; touch is one of the strongest.”
For your meetings or presentations, consider incorporating another sense, like touch or taste. Bring snacks, incorporate one of your products in your pitches, or bring a piece of marketing material for your potential clients to hold. Just by adding another sense, you’ll remain in the memory of your audience more deeply. At networking events, make sure to shake hands with people you meet, and maybe even add in some light touching (body language expert Vanessa Van Edwards says that touch on the lower arm is the safest way to professionally make contact with a person you are cordial with).
Another way to make yourself better stick in the minds of people you meet? Start from the middle, and pique the curiosity of your audience.
“When you start your presentations, meetings, or pitches with ‘Hi, I’m really glad to be here, here’s what we’re going to talk about, let’s get started,’ mentally, where does the audience go? Even if they like you and like the topic, mentally, they go away. It’s filler. Their filters go up.”
Instead, says Bill, begin in the middle.
“Every pitch, every presentation you ever do should start with a scene.”
A scene can include a joke, a skit, a quote, a question, a problem, or almost anything other than an introduction and an outline. Just so long as it’s different, punchy…and thus, memorable.
Of course, it would be weird at a networking even to walk up to a stranger and start in the middle of a story; instead, borrow this tip by keeping at least one good, light, fun story or joke chambered for just such an occasion. Keep it brief, keep it light — and, you’ll notice, you’ll keep your audience engaged for longer.
And, finally, says Bill, practice. Practice, practice, practice — especially if you’re doing something difficult, like asking a client for money. Otherwise, your nerves will likely show, and, if they do remember you, it’ll be because you made them feel weird.
“When you feel comfortable, the audience feels comfortable,” says Bill, so the most essential thing to do is make sure you’ve got your words and your moves down pat. Wear something you’re comfortable in, take some time to get to know the space you’re in, and then proceed with confidence.
Going into meetings, pitches, presentations, and meet-ups with these tools in your back pocket can help you not only own the room, but feel the confidence to know you’ll be the person people are talking about even after the lights go down.