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“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” —Dr. Seuss

People don’t remember much unless they have a repeated experience of a person, idea, experience, or place. Research about the Forgetting Curve by Ebbinghaus illustrates the rate at which the average person forgets: approximately 40% the first 24 hours; 60% the next; then down to around 20% or less after about 4-5 days.

If you want to be remembered, you must be memorable. You must stand out: not only in a crowd of people, but in a crowd of experiences, ideas, and places, all of which will slowly disappear from someone’s memory in a short time.

We all have qualities we can use to be more memorable: the way we look, how we talk, the ideas we have, our style, our personality, and more. The same holds true for our businesses.

The more aspects of you (or your business) that you can put together to stand out the better. And the research tells us the more frequently you can reinforce someone’s memory of you, the more likely their memory of you will become more permanent. Optimally, that first reinforcement takes place within a day or two: a follow up contact. Then another day or two with another follow up.

That’s the how of making the memory happen. But what will they remember? Given the difficulty in becoming a memory for people, I recommend creating a set of qualities you consistently bring to interactions, with one being the most important and the other 2-3 being supportive of that one.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you have a great tutoring program that reliably increases the math test scores of high school students. Some qualities of you and your business might be your intelligence and aptitude for math yourself, your ability to make teens feel comfortable and have fun with you, your organized approach to the task. Of those three, your own aptitude and your organization are table stakes to even be considered – so they are supporting players. Your ability to get teens to want to spend time with you raises your memorability considerably!

Try this out for yourself: pick 3-4 attributes of who you and/or your business are, then choose which stands above the others in being more memorable. And of course, this could be different for different people. But the key here is that one attribute needs to consistently be reinforced to create memory most easily – more than one and you’re having to reinforce that over short time periods with other attributes and it quickly becomes a much bigger task (not impossible, just not a good starting point).

What’s mine? I’m earnest, I care about helping other people, I’m energetic, I simplify and streamline concepts and actions, and I’m smart. Which stands out? Likely the simplification and streamlining – because what I’m after there is an AHA moment for people, and that can be memorable if successful. The rest are table stakes to play with creating AHA moments.

I’d love to hear about what makes you memorable – or even have an email conversation about that. Just leave a comment below.

“You don’t get results by focusing on results. You get results by focusing on the actions that produce results.” —Mike Hawkins

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