By Maxine Hurt
For some people, being memorable is effortless, an unconscious act of nature. They may have a certain hitch in their walk or lilt in their accent that distinguishes them. Or they may just say the darnedest things that somehow work their way into your memory. These folks are the lucky ones; they have the ability to network as if it were a class they mastered in the first grade.
Although I’m not one of them, I’ve met enough of these people in the meet-and-greet jungle to know that they don’t have to tap dance in stilettos to be remembered. They have other ways of being unforgettable we can all learn from.
One of my friends is effortlessly quotable. At least every tenth sentence of hers includes a short stream of thoughtful and engaging words that I file away in my journal. The quotes can be devastatingly true, entertaining, or outrageous. They always resonate, making not only the quote memorable, but my friend as well. Her latest quote, which she stated in a wry tone after scanning a room of men at a trendy Los Angeles bar, “I don’t like men who decorate themselves,” still has me smiling.
Quotes work in part because they evoke an emotion, which is perhaps one of the most powerful elements necessary for creating a long-term memory. According to researchers, we are most likely to remember things that are unusual and emotional as well as things that involve all of our senses. So taking time to sit down and craft a couple of personal quotes is a good idea, but if you come up blank, borrow from the pros. Here are a few quotes from notables that are sure to spark a memorable conversation:
- "Marriage is too interesting an experiment to be tried only once or twice." —Eva Gabor
- "For most of history, Anonymous was a woman." —Virginia Woolf
- "I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." —Maya Angelou
Be Odd, Be Proud
Boring people are rarely remembered and when they are, it’s usually due to the extremity of their dullness. On the other hand, people have an easy time remembering those who are quirky or unconventional. For example, look at the following list:
2. Screw driver
3. Albino peacock
Now close your eyes for twenty seconds, then recite the list. Chances are, you remembered the albino peacock.
Because we remember things that are unique, it will help if you reveal a personal experience, trait, or unique observation that you would not readily share with people for fear of being considered odd. (Odd can be good as long as it doesn’t swing too close to creepy.) Keep in mind that what you do for a living, where you’re from, and where you earned your degree are pertinent pieces of information, but sharing with someone that you apprenticed with a cobbler for a summer in the Ukraine will ensure that you’re remembered.