I was 19 years old, a sales account executive for a chain of Marriott hotels attending my first ever business networking event and wondering how to be memorable to anyone at this function. I was frightened, puzzled and intimidated. I felt out of place and did not know what to do. I brought a bunch of business cards and a passion to be memorable.

Little did I know that it was going to be my first networking event of many over the subsequent 14 years of my career. Over the years I created an amazing network of champions that believe in my mission in life…but, exactly how did this young Latina do it?

Here are key items for you to consider that will accelerate your popularity in your network and help you learn how to be memorable to those you meet. They are proven and they work!

Be Authentic

There is no other more powerful way to create a connection with someone than by being authentic. When I was young, one of my mentors told me “tone it down,” as he witnessed my exuberant excitement at a marketing/PR meeting. He said, “In meetings, you don’t need to be so energetic and overly optimistic. It will not be good for your career.” I remember walking away from that meeting feeling devastated. My enthusiasm at the meeting was merely the representation of how I felt about bringing value to the client and the success we could create. I did not think there was anything wrong with showing my emotions and being authentic. Later in my career, I met another mentor who said “Be yourself, be authentic. People love your high energy and you should never change that.” For me, my high energy is how to be memorable. I am happy that I did not listen to my first mentor.

Showcase Your Energy

Energy is everywhere.  People can perceive a negative attitude miles away. The energy you display in every interaction allows you to further connect and create possibilities. Everyone has issues and many of those might happen right before walking into a networking event. What do you do? Do you bring them with you? Do you tell everyone about your issues to see if they can help you? NO. Absolutely not. It is your burden and not theirs and truthfully, they don’t really care. Dale Carnegie once said, “People will forget what you said, but not how you made them feel.” It is very true. After years and years of networking at hundreds of events, I still find people that tell me I know how to be memorable in their lives and they never forgot my high level energy.

Ask Questions

There is one thing that everyone likes to share, regardless of the context or environment: their story. You can ask several questions in a conversation and not share anything about yourself and the person you are interacting with will think you are the most memorable person they have ever met. Why? Because almost everyone is competing for a space to share information about themselves, but very few people stop and listen. Asking questions will allow you to create a common ground, connection and is a sure fire way to become memorable!

Compliment

I used to think that complimenting someone would take away something from me. As I started this amazing habit of genuinely complimenting others, I found how grateful the people were and the connection that it immediately built. Complimenting people is definitely how to be memorable to others, and feel good too! The more I compliment others, the more my heart is filled with joy. It’s truly magical. The key to giving compliments is that they have to be heartfelt and not considered an obligation. You can start making this happen as soon as today! You will notice how your life is filled with more joy than ever before!

Follow through

One ingredient that has been a catalyst to my success more than any other is my impeccable follow through. You see, while you network, you might find yourself having side conversations that might seem mundane and non-transcendental. It is following through on these conversations that has given me my most important advantage to build my powerful network.  For example, in a conversation at a networking event, someone would mention their passion for golf.I first would fold the upper right hand corner of their business card to identify it as a card with a “action item required,” then I would write a note down on the back of the business card upon my return to the office and proceed with a personalized “thank you” card noting their comment about golf. Finally, I would find someone in my network passionate about golf or perhaps someone that works at a golf course and hosts tournaments and connect them. Time and time again, I would get comments like “I cannot believe you remember,” or “I am so grateful I met you. You have added more value to my business in two days than most of my network,” “I am impressed with your commitment to follow up on your promises, nobody does that.” Many years later, a lot of those encounters at networking events have turned into meaningful relationships and strategic alliances. Cultivating your follow through skills can help you learn how to be memorable.

Be grateful

4,000 hand-written, personalized thank you cards. Yes, you read it right! In a period of three years as a director of marketing for a popular, successful private chain of Brazilian restaurants, I wrote 4,000 thank you cards to the people that I met at networking events. Each one of them was personalized and sent for the intention of adding value or at least bringing a little bit of motivation to the recipient. I had no idea that this practice of gratitude that took place every Friday afternoon would cultivate a powerful network that would carry me through many obstacles as an entrepreneur. Many of those recipients of my thank you cards are now my clients, vendors, strategic alliances, believers, cheerleaders and friends. It is amazing!

The most important thing you can do as you learn how to be memorable is to make every relationship count. You never know what might come out of it as your career evolves and grows.

For those of you who are embarking on your professional business careers, take these principles to accelerate your success. For those of you with years in business or professional positions, it is never too late to incorporate them and learn how to be memorable. Then you can begin enjoying the success you truly deserve.