- Flickr/Pedro Ribeiro Simões
We all strive to be memorable. But leaving a lasting impression on someone we’ve just met isn’t always easy.
It also isn’t impossible.
As it turns out, with the right words and actions, almost anyone can create a captivating presence.
To help you figure out how to do this, we looked at the answers posted on Quora in response to the question “How do I become more memorable when meeting someone for the first time?”
Here were some of our favorite tips for making yourself memorable when you first meet someone new:
Natalie Walters contributed to a previous version of this article.
- Flickr/Garry Knight
1. Put on your talking hat
It’s easy to stand there and let other people carry on the conversation, but you will never stick out in people’s minds if you just listen, writes Julian Reisinger, dating expert and founder of Lovelifesolved.com.
Don’t let the fear of looking like a fool keep you from speaking up and asking questions, telling your own stories, and sharing your own opinions. Go for it, and make a lasting impression.
- Theo Wargo/NBC/Getty Images
2. Be blunt, slightly controversial, and completely honest
Most people avoid saying anything controversial – especially when meeting someone for the first time – because they want to play it safe to ensure everyone likes them.
But if you really want to be memorable, you may want to make a statement – without insulting anyone or saying something offensive, of course.
“People remember extremes, not mediocrity,” writes Reisinger.
He recommends speaking up and stating your opinion firmly and clearly, even if it makes some people slightly uncomfortable or mad. This will make you more interesting – and thus more memorable.
- Reuters/Michaela Rehle
3. Be a little bit unusual
Breaking out of the cultural norm is an easy way to stick out, Reisinger writes, but try to stick out in a positive way.
For example, he suggests coming up with humorous and unusual answers to the typical introductory questions such as “How are you?” or “What do you do?”
While coming up with scripted answers may seem like a pain, he points out that you will have to answer these questions thousands of times throughout your life anyway, so it’s well worth the effort.
- REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
4. Use confident body language
Rob Riker says confident body language does more than make you look good – it makes you more memorable.
To do this, Riker, the founder of The Social Winner blog, suggests having a firm handshake, standing up straight, and maintaining eye contact both while listening and speaking.
If you aren’t talking with anyone for a few minutes, then he says you should look out in front of you, rather than at the ground. “You are engaging with the world, not hiding from it,” he writes.
He also says you should “own the space around you.” This means not sitting on the edge of a bench so other people have more room than you, or acting embarrassed if your arm touches someone else’s arm. “Take what’s yours without being a jerk,” he writes.
5. Trigger emotions
This piece of advice from Reisinger stems from author and poet Maya Angelou’s famous quote: “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.”
In order to leave a deep impression on someone, you need to make them feel something – preferably something good.
How do you do that in a casual conversation? Reisinger suggests showing vulnerability, making them laugh, making a mistake and apologizing for it, stroking someone’s ego, telling stories, being helpful, or discussing a topic in a heated manner.
- flickr / decoded conference
6. Be an engaged listener
We mentioned earlier than you should talk – not just sit back and listen the whole time. But when you are listening, be attentive and engaged.
This is harder than it seems. Most people are constantly thinking of what to say next and looking for a break in the conversation for when they can jump in and say it.
Like Reisinger, Blanton says we remember how people make us feel, and when you truly listen to someone, you will make them feel important – and they’ll remember that.
- Natasha d.H/flickr
“When first meeting someone, you want to be smiling,” writes Riker. “This shows that you are happy, in a good mood, enjoying life and happy to meet them. Smiling also triggers the other person’s mirror neurons which produce the feeling that their own smile would provide – a happy feeling!”
8. Ask questions and be interested
Don’t just listen. Show you’re interested in the person.
“I’m a very memorable person, because when I meet someone I ask them about themselves, what they’re interested in and what they enjoy doing,” writes Quora user Kevin Moriarty. “I try to understand everything the other person says and ask significant questions related to whatever their discussion topics are.
“On the flip side, when I’m simply speaking about whatever I’m interested in, I am a super intelligent weirdo who has developed an independent perspective on many topics rather than having assimilated cultural norms. It makes me memorable, offensive, or jarring, dependent on the listener and their intellect and developmental level.”
9. Use their name in the conversation
It tells them you were paying attention and that you care.
“A really effective way to be ‘memorable’ to the other person is to use their name in conversation,” writes Kara Ronin, a social skills expert and Udemy instructor.
“Our name is intrinsically linked to us. Whenever we hear somebody use our name we immediately think, ‘Oh, he/she must really like me because they remember what my name is.’ Of course, you don’t want to use their name with a tone of voice that suggests you’re reprimanding them.”