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How To Leave a Great Lasting Impression

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” — Albert Einstein

The most common business advice you will hear is “start networking.” Traditional advice would be to put on a suit, get some business cards, and start shaking hands. That works for most people, but that hardly worked for me. My idea of networking is “giving value.” Giving value is the best way to make sure every interaction you have with someone will get a return. No matter the situation.

What is exactly is value? Value is anything that brings a positive transformation to someone’s life, big or small.

I had a hard time networking. I’m what most people call an ambivert. I’m comfortable in social settings, but more comfortable when I’m alone, being creative. So I had to find a way to start attracting individuals using my creativity, rather than my business card. Giving value allows you to use creativity and become magnetic. When you’re magnetic you don’t have to chase people or opportunities, they chase you.

Being magnetic means you are a giver. The most successful entrepreneurs I know are the people who give constantly. Givers are confident in their hustle and don’t mind helping someone else become successful. Givers receive, they don’t take.

Takers are insecure. Takers believe they can’t help someone else because that would give that person an edge on them. Takers pretend to be givers until they get what they want. Takers don’t understand that there is enough for everyone to eat. One man’s success doesn’t limit others. Don’t be a taker.

I accomplished one of my personal goals this year. This particular goal was to leave a lasting impression on every person I came across. I wanted to inspire, bring increase, and value to as many lives as possible. In short, be a giver.

I went to a networking event, filled with people I met at various moments through the year. There were also people who knew of my work just from the internet. I was almost surprised when these people told me about something I created or said that helped them. It felt good to hear that. Especially since my intention was always to leave a lasting impression.

I also want to be clear that there is a difference between a first impression and lasting impression. A first impression is what someone thinks the moment they interact with you. A lasting impression is what someone thinks long after they interact with you. A first impression can be a lasting one, but not in all cases.

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Give a Damn

You have to care about the well-being of people. When you care, people can tell. When in conversation pay attention, don’t look away. When giving a presentation, give it everything you got. When teaching, go over every detail as possible. People will remember you went the extra mile to help them. This is whether they met you in person or even just watched a video of you.

I used to study a small group of internet marketers. I was always amazed at how these guys were making so much money with little details about who they were. They would put up popular logos to establish credibility, but no real background information. Yet, they made six figures and up a year. What was it?

They actually cared. They would go the extra mile giving you content, tutorials, step-by-step checklists, and more. They wanted to establish that they were an authority in their niche by teaching you. When you teach someone something, they will remember you long after the interaction. Especially if what you taught brings actual transformation to their life, big or small. They’ve built trust, and background information mattered less.

Show passion. Dr. Eric Thomas is a motivational speaker from Detroit who rose to stardom from a YouTube video. In the video, he’s challenging a group of troubled youth about how dedicated they are to success. He is being aggressive, calling them out for their partying and lack of effort. His voice is loud and even straining at times. He cares, it’s clear he gives a damn. That passion has led him to well over 50 million views, and that’s a modest estimate.

You don’t have to to be loud like Dr. Thomas. But, you should still find a way to emotionally connect with who you’re speaking to.

Make connections. In the 90’s, stores referred customers to a rival, if they didn’t carry an item. It was great marketing, helping to build trust. You should do this when it comes to building relationships. If you know two individuals who should connect, make that introduction. When you help create a new opportunity for someone, that shows them you actually care.

Don’t be stingy with your network. That’s the sign of a taker. When two people match up well, and you refuse to make the connection because you think you get nothing out of it. I have made countless connections that turned into six-figure deals and even marriages. Those same people have come back and made life changing introductions for me in return. But I didn’t expect a return either. I’ll dig more into later.

Tell Good Stories

“Once upon a time…” — Every story that was written

Nothing sticks better than a good story. Research by Jeremy Hsu for Scientific American, found “personal stories and gossip make up 65% of our conversations.” This is the reason TMZ, Media Takeout, and National Enquirer are huge platforms. I’m not a fan of gossip, but I’m a fan of personal stories. Stories you use to teach, connect, and sell helps to create a great lasting impression.

Stories that teach. Martin Luther King Jr. became memorable because he preached in parables. Parables are small stories like Jesus told in the Bible. They serve as metaphors for a moral or spiritual lesson. Those are some of the earliest stories told that teach lessons.

Most of the early childhood cartoons we watched were stories laced with a lesson learned at the end. You can still borrow from those techniques to do the same as adults. One of my favorite books is “The Richest Man in Babylon” a fiction about money that follows a narrative.

When you use a story to teach, you connect with someone on a spiritual level. You sync up, the receiver connects with the storyteller emotionally and even biochemically. You ever tell someone something and they retell you the same story later? They forgot you were the one that told them in the first place. Yes, that’s what happens when you use narratives.

Stories that sell. Some may consider this your brand. Speaking with branding expert Marty Neumeier I learned that a brand is a gut feeling. That definition tells you everything that you need to know. If you can tell a story that shows people how to feel, you may just capture that sale. The best story is a story that your potential customer can see themselves in. Paint the picture.

Look at Apple. Apple has one of the greatest lasting impressions. Steve Jobs has crafted a gut feeling that has lasted way beyond his death.

Copywriting is also a great skill to learn. You don’t have to be a master at this but, get the basics of a story that sells down. There is a formula most marketers use that dates back to the 1800’s called AIDA:

A — Attention (Awareness): attract the attention of the customer.
I — Interest: raise customer interest by focusing on and demonstrating advantages and benefits (instead of focusing on features, as in traditional advertising).
D — Desire: convince customers that they want and desire the product or service and that it will satisfy their needs.
A — Action: lead customers towards taking action and/or purchasing.

You got jokes? Who doesn’t love to laugh? Being someone with a great personality helps in making a great lasting impression. Laughter makes people happy, the most valuable feeling in the world.

“Books are the cheat code to life” — Anthony Frasier

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Read, Read, and Read

You don’t need to know everything but know enough to have interesting conversations. The best way is to feed your curiosity on different topics. Read books ranging from history to psychology. I remember reading a blog from dating expert Tariq Nasheed. He emphasized every man should have what he called a “mouthpiece.” In other words the gift of gab. That goes beyond dating, you need this skill if you want people to remember you in any situation.

Everyone you meet has a challenge they are dealing with. Some people have small challenges, some people have large ones. The more you read, you are able to help solve their problem by recommending or using knowledge from a book.

Forget About It

This is the most important step of them all. Too many people are looking for “credit” or some form of repayment. The best way to become magnetic is to go hard providing value to people, and then move on. Don’t look for praise, recognition, or hook ups. Just do good.

The spiritual way of thinking about this is Karma. Karma simply means: do good things and get good things in return. You reap what you sow. Karma doesn’t discriminate, it also works for bad things.

Another way to think of it, strategy. Bestselling author Ryan Holiday calls this the “Canvas Strategy.” His advice is to “Find and make canvases for other people to paint on.” Clear their path to victory. Instead of just making people look good, help them actually get better.

This chapter gave you all the tools. Give people great books to read. Connect them to people they will flourish with. Teach them new ways to deal with their challenges.

The Roman’s had a loose word for the concept: anteambulo and it meant a person who cleared the path in front of their patron. If you can do that successfully, you secure a quick and educational power position. — Ryan Holiday

The After Wow

Everything is by design. John Maeda celebrated designer and technologist taught me to design for the “after wow.” Design for the lasting impression and feeling people will have with your product. Life should be designed the same way. When you create relationships that give real value you create an effect that can last for a lifetime. Many call this a legacy.

The moment you embody this philosophy, your life will change. I promise.

This Medium post was a chapter from my book “Don’t Dumb Down Your Greatness” A young entrepreneur’s guide to thinking and being great. If you liked it, be sure to check out the book available now on Amazon