I conducted a completely unscientific experiment some time ago and I’m convinced my findings could be a networking game-changer for millions of Americans. Read on to see how you can increase your chances of being memorable…
Here’s What I Did…
It all started when I went in to my favorite salad and sub shop (that’s a hoagie or grinder for you folks in other parts of the country), to grab some takeout for my family. The man behind the counter was wearing a super cool hat. I don’t know why, but I blurted out, “That is an awesome hat, it really suits you.” A big grin crossed his face and a warm thank you gushed from him immediately. I paid for my food and was off.
A week later, I was back in for takeout, the same man was there working the counter. However, when I walked in this time, his face lit up and I got a warm, “Hello, nice to see you!”
We started chatting and I learned he was the owner. We talked about the business, how long he had been cooking, and so on. It was if we were old friends. This continued each time I went in for food. Around the sixth week (What can I say? My family loves the food!), my new friend and I exchanged pleasantries. As he handed me the food, he said, “I noticed you’ve never tried our roast beef. It’s the best in town. I put one in there for your family to try.”
I was stunned, what a kind gesture. And, yes, it was delicious!
As I sat thinking about this pleasant surprise, I realized it all went back to the day I decided to give an unsolicited compliment to a total stranger. And, it made me wonder, “Could this success be replicated?”
Experiment = Compliment 5 Strangers And Track The Results
I decided the only way to see if this was a fluke was to conduct a controlled test. (Someone please tell my dad I’m finally putting that Engineering Psychology degree to good use!) I selected a few places where I knew I would come in contact with strangers and decided to try to compliment each one. Here’s the breakdown. I told the:
- Toll booth lady in the morning I loved her leopard-print eye glasses because they framed her face nicely and made her look hip.
- Guy I’ve never met with an office down the hall from me that I liked his coffee cup.
- Check-out girl at the grocery store I loved the pale purple nail color she had on.
- Grocery bagger I liked the way he organized my food in the bags.
- Toll booth gentleman on my way home I liked his leather gloves.
The next week, I followed the same route and purposely tried to run in to these five people again. It worked! They ALL had big smiles for me and asked me how my day was going. They definitely remembered me. Coincidence? I think not! Sadly, no more free stuff came my way – but that’s not the point. The point is my simple compliment made me memorable in a positive way.
When’s The Last Time You Complimented A Stranger?
For some reason, as adults, we are trained to avoid acting like a “brown-nose” or “kiss-&!@#” because it makes us look desperate or insincere. I think my test proves otherwise.
Yes, maybe if you are stalking someone and showering them with compliments as a way to grease the way for a favor, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the simple act of noticing (a.k.a. listening with your eyes), and commenting on something about a person that’s intended to be nice. Sadly, I think we are all so self-absorbed and caught up in our own lives we forget how good it can feel to make someone else’s day. And, as this study shows, doing so can have great rewards.
Networking With Strangers – Find The Good And Tell Them
Where I think the results of this study have the greatest impact is when we look at networking. What is wrong with pointing out something we admire or respect in a person? And, what if in doing so we could be more memorable, making the ability to connect and build a relationship down the line with this person easier? This seems particularly true for people who are shy or feel they are bad networkers. If they applied this technique, they just may find it a lot easier to connect with fellow professionals.
My Challenge To You: Pay A Compliment And Share With Us
I invite all our readers to do their own experiment with this and then post the results in the comment section below. Let’s see if we can’t get enough quantifiable proof to make this a scientific fact! You just never know what can happen. Not to mention, I think spreading compliments during these tough economic times can have an even greater impact – I just need to find a way to scientifically prove it! Any suggestions?
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