Gabriel Mizrahi (@GabeMizrahi) joins us for this deep dive into the five keys to being unforgettable — what makes you memorable, common pitfalls that may make you unforgettable for all the wrong reasons, and what you can do to maximize the chance that you’ll be unforgettable for all the right ones. [Photo by EfE]
What We Discuss with Gabriel Mizrahi:
- How the competitive edge of authenticity aids in making you unforgettable.
- Strategic vulnerability versus authentic vulnerability.
- Why generosity is the backbone of networking and making you stand out from the crowd.
- What leveraging intrigue does to leave someone curious to know more — and remember more — about you.
- How contrast between you and your surroundings can be a double-edged sword that makes you unforgettable in ways you’d rather not be (and how to better ensure it cuts in the right direction).
- And much more…
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“How do I make people remember me?” is one of the most common questions we get around here. Men and women all over the world — from salespeople on the road to authors in pitch meetings, young people on first dates to veterans returning to the workforce — want to understand how to make a lasting impression. No matter who we are or what we do, we all want to be able to enter a room and make ourselves unforgettable.
So what does make us unforgettable? The answer is these five key principles that tap into who we really are in a way that creates a lasting impression with other people. It’s taken years to discover that these foundational ideas — more than looks, more than assets, more than techniques — are the qualities that make you unforgettable. Here, we’ll explore each one, and see how they work in practice.
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Ready? Here are the five keys to being unforgettable. We hope you find them…memorable!
The one competitive advantage you have in life — the one competitive advantage we all have, paradoxically — is the ability to be truly ourselves. Skills, expertise, talent, and opinions can all be possessed by multiple people. But the ability to be authentically you: that is a singular gift.
But what we remember isn’t just the person. We also remember ourselves. We remember how their authenticity sparked our own authenticity — how we felt more real, more connected, in their presence. We remember the people we were when we were with them. We know how rare and powerful that experience is, and we want to experience it again.
So the first step in becoming unforgettable is committing to authenticity — responsibly, organically, and in the right places and amounts, of course — as much as possible. No other quality will make you more unforgettable than the simple act of being yourself.
If authenticity is the state of being our true selves, then vulnerability is the act of sharing our true selves with another person. The two go hand in hand. And when we find ourselves in the presence of both — someone who’s being their authentic selves and sharing that authenticity with us — the experience tends to leave an impression.
But vulnerability is a tricky quality. Unlike authenticity, it requires more calibration and stronger intention to work in our favor. A friend who bawls during a wedding toast or a candidate who confesses their insecurities in a job interview is definitely being vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean we’ll remember them for the right reasons. Not all vulnerability is created equal.
If we open up to achieve something specific, be seen a certain way, win someone’s approval or sympathy, or even be more unforgettable, then we’re not truly being vulnerable. We’re being clever and attempting to use strategic vulnerability as a means to an end. But if we open up in order to be more connected, to be ourselves, to be authentically vulnerable with other people — purely for its own sake — then we tend to create a more lasting impression.
As we discuss constantly on this show, generosity is one of the core engines of social capital. It’s a mindset and a habit that generates value, cements relationships, and propels ideas, people, and projects forward. It’s also one of the best ways to be unforgettable, but people overlook it far too often. While they try to master their appearance and technique, they forget that the most profound way to stand out is to give someone just what they need, right when they need it. Of all the keys to being unforgettable, this one might be the profound.
In a world where most favors are ultimately self-interested, and offers to help turn out to be quid pro quo agreements in disguise, an act of true generosity without any immediate expectation of return stands out. We remember those moments, because they’re simple, meaningful, and rare.
When you’re genuinely generous, you’re discerning people’s needs, then finding solutions to meet those needs — that, in a nutshell, is the lifeblood of networking. It’s also the raw energy of relationship-building. And as a result, it’s one of the best ways to be unforgettable.
An old principle of psychology says that while humans are very comfortable with ignorance, they hate feeling deprived of information. In other words, tell someone very little or nothing about a story, and they won’t care. But tell them half the story, and they’ll feel compelled to know the rest.
Give away too much information and you fail to pique their interest. Why? Because you’ve answered all their questions in advance. But give the right amount, and you pique the perfect amount of interest. Why? Because you’ve created questions, invited the other person to explore them, then answered them in a way that creates new ones.
Understanding how to generate curiosity in the people you meet is one of the most powerful ways to become unforgettable. Have fun with the way you share details about your life. Consider what information to share and when. Learn how much information is interesting and how much is unnecessary. Give people part but not at all of what they want, and observe how they respond. Pay off their intrigue when you receive it, and be open to having the same experience with them. The exchange of mutual curiosity is called attraction, in the broadest sense of the term. It’s also a key to being unforgettable.
Seeing a bright pink Lamborghini racing down an empty country road would create a vivid memory in your mind. But seeing a bright pink Lamborghini inching through an exotic car show in a big city probably wouldn’t turn your head.
Similarly, you’d probably remember witnessing someone have a meltdown on the subway. But if you saw the same person break down in a group therapy session, it probably wouldn’t stand out in your mind. What we find memorable depends on context, so we can’t really talk about being unforgettable without talking about the time and place in which people meet us. Our surroundings are an integral part of the impressions we make.
Just like vulnerability, this principle cuts both ways. We can stand out from our surroundings in a way that creates a lasting positive impression, or we can stand out in a way that creates a lasting negative one. We can come across as funny, spontaneous, and witty, or we can come across as brash, random, and disrespectful. The difference between these two impressions often comes down to the contrast between ourselves and our surroundings. Once again, the key to avoiding this pitfall is a strong dose of self-awareness.
To become truly unforgettable, you have to take risks, you have to make mistakes, and you have to learn from them as you calibrate the impression you make. At the end of the day, you can’t fully control how other people see you. All you can do is work on your side of the equation as much as possible, and relinquish control over how other people — the world at large — decide to see you.
Ultimately, the only winning strategy we have for being unforgettable is to be ourselves — and nothing more.
To dive even deeper into being unforgettable, make sure to read this episode’s companion article here: How to Make People Remember You.
THANKS, GABRIEL MIZRAHI!
If you enjoyed this session with Gabriel Mizrahi, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com.