How to stand out in the mind of strangers you meet

Financial planning
If I were starting my career, going to an event, and wanting to stand out in the minds of the new people I meet… Here’s how I’d do it:
First off, in your 20s, I think it’s important to say yes to almost everything. This dramatically increases your luck surface area—you wind up in a lot of situations with new and interesting people. But you need a playbook for thriving in those situations. A few ways to do it:
Say people’s names back to them. When you’re talking to someone new, make a point of saying their name back to them naturally in conversation. Two benefits here: (1) You’ll remember their name. (2) Everyone loves hearing their name. You’ll immediately stand out in their mind.
Ask a few engaging questions. It’s good to have a few trusted questions in your back pocket. If a conversation is floundering, pull one out. My favorites: What are you working on that you’re most excited about? What’s your favorite book you’ve read recently? It works…
Repeat & add on. After you ask a question, listen intently to the person’s response. When you have openings, repeat their response back to them in your own words and add on your own perspective or impression. Make mental connections. It shows presence and independent thought.
Make situational eye contact. Eye contact is funny. Too little and you look shaky. Too much and you look scary. I like situational eye contact: Deep while they speak, organic while you speak. It’s ok to gaze off while you think, but use eye contact to emphasize key points.
Creative follow ups. Identify creative areas for follow up coming out of a conversation. Then follow up on them… I used to talk about my favorite books with new people. Then I would send them a copy of it with a handwritten note to their office. I found many mentors that way.
Those are just a few quick thoughts on how to stand out when you’re meeting new people early in your career. I hope you try them out and find them as useful as I did! Follow me @SahilBloom for more writing on business, careers, finance, and growth.
I’m getting the “just be yourself” response a lot… IMO it’s unfair to assume that this comes naturally to everyone. Maybe to some, but not to everyone (esp. natural introverts). Having a playbook is helpful if it doesn’t come naturally. I don’t think that makes you phoney.
Also, I always appreciate and enjoy good faith pushbacks and disagreements on Twitter. Too much arguing in bad faith on this platform, so we need to support and endorse good faith disagreements. Thanks @RobSilver @yhassan00 for that.
Oh, and on the saying people’s names back to them one… As people have correctly pointed out, this is definitely easy to overdo and come across as very fake/manufactured. As a rule of thumb, cap it out at ~1-2 times in a conversation—max!