Most of us have been in an awkward situation where we’re talking to someone who has no idea who we are, despite having been introduced to us on a previous occasion. But if you often feel overlooked or forgotten, you might want to learn how to be more memorable. In this guide, you’ll learn how to leave a positive, lasting impression.
Friendly, welcoming people often leave a good impression that makes them more memorable. When you greet someone, make eye contact and smile to show that you’re pleased to see them. If someone shakes your hand, shake their hand firmly in return.
Here are some things you can say to make it clear you’re pleased to see someone:
- “Hello [Name], I’ve been looking forward to meeting you.”
- “Hi [Name], it’s great to see you again.”
- “Good morning [Name]! [Mutual friend] has told me so much about you.”
People appreciate being remembered. Making an effort to remember someone’s name might make them more likely to remember you.
Here are some ways to help you commit a new name to memory:
- Repeat the name when you first hear it. For example, if someone tells you their name is Amanda, say, “It’s great to meet you, Amanda.”
- Associate the name with something or someone else. This could be an object, a famous person, an animal, a character, or someone you know. For example, if you meet someone called Henry and your family used to have a dog with the same name, imagine your pet sitting next to the person you’ve just met to cement the association.
- Use their name when you say goodbye.
Confident body language will help you come across as a positive, socially skilled person, which may make you more memorable.
Here are some ways you can appear more confident:
- Sit or stand upright; maintain good posture.
- Hold your head up; do not stare at the ground.
- Do not hold an object in front of your body to form a barrier between you and the other person because you may come across as aloof.
- Avoid fidgeting or playing with your bag, glass, or any other object.
- Make eye contact during conversation, breaking it briefly every few seconds so that you don’t come across as too intense.
Check out our guide on confident body language for more advice.
Many people are poor listeners. If you can make someone feel heard and understood, they will probably remember you.
To be a better listener:
- Do not interrupt. If you catch yourself speaking over the other person, apologize and say, “To get back to what you were saying…”
- Signal that you are engaged by making eye contact, occasionally nodding when they make a point, and leaning forward slightly.
- Don’t be too quick to fill in any silences. Make sure the other person has finished speaking before you respond.
- Ask clarifying questions if you aren’t sure what the other person means. E.g., “Just so I’m clear on this, you moved home last spring and two months later got a new job, is that right?”
See our article on how to be a better listener for in-depth advice.
In general, people will appreciate and remember you if you show a genuine interest in what they say. One way to make them feel special is to follow up on previous conversations.
For example, let’s say you are talking to someone new and they tell you that they love cooking. Before you can dive too deeply into the subject, someone else comes along and steers the conversation in a new direction. If you meet your new acquaintance later in the evening, you could pick up your previous conversation by saying something like, “So earlier, you mentioned you love to cook. What’s your favorite type of cuisine?”
It can be easier to remember people when we share common ground. It’s not always obvious what you and someone else have in common, but if you are willing to talk about several topics, you may find one that you both enjoy. When you’ve discovered a shared interest, you might be able to have a deep conversation.
See our guide on how to find things in common with someone for practical tips.
Enthusiasm and positivity are attractive, popular qualities, and research shows that happy faces are memorable.
Here are some ways you can come across as more positive:
- Do not criticize, complain, or condemn unless it’s absolutely necessary.
- Try to find something positive to say about your surroundings, even if it’s a simple observation like “They’ve done a good job repainting this room” or “That’s a cool pot plant.”
- Make a point of looking for good traits in others. You don’t have to like everyone, but most people have at least one or two positive points, even if it’s something as simple as always being on time.
For more tips, read our article on how to be more positive.
Being knowledgeable doesn’t automatically make you a great and memorable conversationalist. However, it’s easier to contribute to discussions with different types of people if you expand your worldview.
Here are some ways you can broaden your horizons:
- Keeping up to date with current affairs
- Listening to podcasts about topics that are completely new to you
- Reading books on a range of non-fiction subjects
- Change your viewing habits; watch a new movie or TV show that wouldn’t normally appeal to you
- Taking an online course in something you know nothing about
If you’re talking to someone and they bring up a passion or interest that is completely new to you, invite them to tell you the basics. Most people love talking about the things that are important to them, and they might remember your conversation for a long time.
You could say, “I admit I’m a complete beginner when it comes to [their favorite topic], but I’d love to ask you a few things about it.” If they seem enthusiastic, you can then ask them a few questions.
When you use this strategy, the other person will likely remember you as a humble person with an open mind. Because you’ve already made it clear that you have no background knowledge at all, you can go ahead and ask very basic questions.
For example, if they love gardening, you could ask:
- “What type of things do you plant at this time of year?”
- “So I’ve heard it’s easy to grow your own vegetables. Is that true?”
- “Are most gardeners into organic gardening these days?”
Sharing jokes or funny quotes can make you more likable, which in turn could make you more memorable. Try not to rely on canned humor; the best jokes are often based on observations about the situation you’re in or reference shared experiences.
However, try not to put too much pressure on yourself; you don’t have to be witty all the time. For example, if you’re on a first date, you may feel too nervous to make jokes. But you can still show your sense of humor by smiling or laughing when the other person says something amusing.
For an in-depth guide on how to use humor in social situations, read our article on how to be funny in conversation.
There are certain questions that tend to come up in most social situations when you are getting to know someone. Many people give short, uninteresting answers. If you want to stand out, it may help to rehearse more intriguing or entertaining responses to common questions such as “Where do you live?” “What type of work do you do?” or “Do you have children?”
For example, let’s suppose someone asks you, “What job do you do?”
- Example of an uninteresting answer: “I work in a call center.”
- Example of a more interesting answer: “I work in a call center. I’m the person people rely on to fix their computers when the screen goes blank.”
Or let’s say someone asks you, “Do you have children?”
- Example of an uninteresting answer: “Yes, I’ve got a son.”
- Example of a more interesting answer: “Yes, I’ve got a two-year-old boy who wants to be a dinosaur.”
Stories are memorable. Therefore, if you learn to become a good storyteller, people may be more likely to remember you. An unforgettable story is short, relatable, and ends with a twist or punchline. Tailor your stories to your audience. For example, a story about a drunken night out may be fine for a casual party, but not at a professional conference.
Check out our guide on how to tell a story in conversation for more tips. Don’t try to tell stories as a way to impress people because your listener might think you are bragging.
Many people are socially anxious, particularly around people they don’t know very well. If you can make them comfortable, they will probably remember you as someone who is easy to talk to.
Here are some ways you can be easy to talk to:
- Do not give “Yes” or “No” answers. If someone asks you a question, make it easy for them to keep the conversation going by giving them some material to work with. For example, instead of just saying “Yes” when someone asks you if you live nearby, you could say, “Yes, I live close by. My house is next to the lake. I only moved in recently, but I like it there.”
- Ask meaningful questions. Make it easy for someone to open up to you by asking questions that encourage them to talk about their lives, interests, and dreams. Our article on the F.O.R.D. method may help if you struggle to come up with questions.
- Be positive and encouraging. When someone opens up to you, take their opinions seriously, even if you disagree. Practice one or two tactful phrases you can use to keep the atmosphere pleasant, such as “That’s an interesting perspective!” or “It’s always good to talk to people with another point of view. I’ve enjoyed our chat.”
When you help someone out, they will probably remember you as a kind, thoughtful person. If you’re in a position to lend a hand and doing them a favor won’t cost you too much time or effort, then go ahead.
For example, let’s say you’ve met someone who is thinking of retraining as a lawyer, but they aren’t sure whether it’s the right choice for them. You could say, “I’ve got a friend who just graduated from law school. If you’re thinking of a law career, he’d be happy to give you some advice. I could give you his number if you like?”
If you speak in a monotone, it’s unlikely that people will remember most of what you say. Improving your delivery may help you become more memorable. Try to vary the pitch, tone, and volume of your voice to hold your listeners’ attention.
See our guide on how to fix a monotone voice for tips.
If someone asks for your opinions or thoughts on a topic, share them. People who go along with the crowd are generally not as memorable as those who think for themselves.
However, do not be provocative just for the sake of getting peoples’ attention. You want to be remembered as someone with opinions of their own, not as a person who offends others for no good reason. Be honest but not confrontational, and accept that other people may not always agree with you.
Having a passion for something can make you stand out, especially if you have an unusual hobby or interest. For example, if you enjoy lockpicking or making miniature glass vases, it’s likely that people will have questions about your hobby if it comes up in conversation.
If you don’t already have a passion, set aside some time to try something new. You might need to try several things before you find a hobby or interest that you love. Look for courses online, check out the classes available at your local community college, or try Meetup and find a couple of interest groups to join.
A follow-up message after an important meeting, interview, or phone call isn’t just good manners. It can also make you stand out from other people in your industry or workplace.
For example, after a sales pitch or presentation, you could send a brief email to your potential client, thanking them for their time and reminding them that you are happy to answer any questions they might have about your business or services.
This kind of message makes you memorable because it shows:
- You respect the other person’s time
- You pay attention to detail
- You are invested in the outcome
Someone who underpromises and overdelivers not only does whatever they promise to do—they go the extra mile. If you underpromise and overdeliver at work, you may get a reputation as a reliable person who takes the initiative, which can make you stand out.
For example, let’s say your boss asks you to finish a rough outline of a report by Thursday afternoon. If you finished the outline and sent it to your boss by Wednesday, that would be overdelivering.
However, it’s best to use this strategy only occasionally. If you overdeliver too often, it can backfire and cause you stress. For example, in the workplace, you may set the bar too high if you often overdeliver. Your colleagues may come to expect more than you can realistically give.
People like to be appreciated, and they like others who make them feel good about themselves. A compliment can make you memorable.
As a general rule, it’s better to compliment someone on their abilities, talents, accomplishments, or style rather than their looks. Complimenting someone’s face or figure can make you appear creepy or inappropriate.
Here are some examples of suitable compliments that could leave a positive, lasting impression:
- “You make awesome cakes. You have such a gift for making desserts!”
- “Your talk was great. You made the complicated stuff really easy to understand.”
- “You always wear the coolest hats.”
Don’t overdo it; if you give lots of compliments, you may come across as insincere.
A statement accessory isn’t a substitute for good social skills or an interesting personality, but it can help set you apart from other people.
Here are some things you could wear that may make you more memorable:
- A brightly-colored scarf or hat
- A bold piece of statement jewelry or an unusual watch
- A distinctive pair of cufflinks
- An unusual pair of shoes
An accessory or piece of jewelry can also kickstart some interesting, memorable conversations. For example, if someone compliments you on a vintage broach you inherited from your grandmother, you could end up talking about jewelry in general, fashion trends through different periods in history, or family ties.