Standing Out in a Crowd

Make Yourself Memorable: 6 Communication Can-Do’s

The desire to be memorable doesn’t necessarily represent ego. It might, sure. But helping your clients, coworkers, or even your friends keep you top of mind may be more about making decisions, winning contracts, getting votes, or even changing the other person’s own harmful habits. Whatever the specific situation, being memorable represents the first step in getting a message across. People are not likely to be influenced by a message they can’t even remember.

So to be memorable, master these six communication tips.

Be a Doer; Not a Talker: Talkers create white noise. After a while, they blend into their surroundings. Doers, on the other hand, attract attention. They provide information. They find a way to get you the access you need to other people or other groups to make things happen. They make introductions. They find the funds. They solicit the sponsors. They negotiate the deals. They may nix the deal. They may halt the partnership. They may veto the decision. In short, action follows on their heels.

Surprise People: Their power of surprise may take the form of a quick wit, a contrarian point of view, a humorous line at an otherwise somber occasion, a serious sentiment at an otherwise lighthearted occasion, a staged entrance or exit, a non-acceptance, acceptance speech––or just about anything atypical that catches people off guard.

Paint a Picture; Use Colorful Language: What’s up with this tip? Just so you know, at the end of the day, it’s got to be a win-win for the thought leader and the followers—no matter the paradigm and level of employee engagement. Buzz words, jargon, clichés. Garbage! Keep communicating like the first two sentences and your message will fade from memory like the 8-track player. Instead, add metaphors, similes, puns, and color phrasing. Don’t leave a stark white house with unfinished sheetrock walls; paint a colorful scene, room by room. Help your listeners hear and see what you’re saying.

Tell Stories:  This memory principle is easy to test. Watch a 2-hour documentary, and then watch a 2-hour movie. Tell a friend what you remember from each. I rest my case. Whether in meetings, hallways, or speeches, if you make a habit of telling stories to get your message across, you’ll increase the memory factor many times over.

Help People:  After the next terrorist attack or serial killer is arrested, listen to the media interview the attacker’s neighbors. “He was a nice guy. He helped me fix a flat tire once.” Or: “He helped me shovel my driveway after that big snow storm.” Or: “She helped raise money for my sister when they set up the fund at work.” Do something nice for people and they remember.

Dress to Stand Out, Not Blend In: Stand out in a sea of sameness by wearing something other than the generally accepted uniform. Consider what’s left—typically, classy and colorful. Some people brand themselves by always wearing the same color—everywhere, every day, year in and year out. Recall Steve Jobs’ black pants and pullovers. Others become known for luxury and classy dressing—the same expensive designer suits or ties. (Of course, you always have the choice of standing out tastefully or standing out oddly.)


Unless you plan to commit a crime, being memorable can be a very good thing.

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