State your name. Your full name. Or you may as well stay home.

“There Is No Point Going Anywhere If People Don’t Remember You Were There” – Patricia Fripp

Your last name matters much more than you think

Any time you meet someone new, do yourself a favor and share your first AND last name. I know it feels formal. I also know that many of you have names which are hard to say, or hard to spell. There are a lot of reasons why people choose to keep their last names to themselves. Heck, when I first started networking, I used all of them! It was VERY uncomfortable for me to state my first and last name in the beginning. However, it didn’t take me long to realize that if I wasn’t sharing my last name with people. I might as well stay home.

The trouble is, if you don’t give people your last name, they will not remember you. Or worse: if they remember you, they will not be able to find you again.

Your last name is critical for networking. If you’re a job seeker, it’s even more important. Still wondering why? Here’s a great example for you:

His name is Steve. I have a job for him, but I cannot find him.

A while ago, I met a guy named Steve at one of my events. I have a job for him, but I have no idea where or how to find him. I really enjoyed chatting with him. He is a financial analyst, and he is looking for a new job right now. I remember him, even though we only spoke for a few minutes. He made a positive impression on me, so I remembered him two weeks later when …

A friend of mine (head of recruiting for a big company) sent me a LinkedIn message and said “Hey, I need a senior financial analyst. Do you happen to know anyone?” I thought of Steve immediately. That should be a slam-dunk. I should have been able to introduce the two of them, and get Steve hired into that job. The problem is, I had no idea what his last name is, and I could not find him! He didn’t have his last name on his nametag, and he only introduced himself to me as “Steve.”I even tried doing a search on LinkedIn for “Steve” and “financial analyst.” Do you know how many financial analysts named “Steve” came up on LinkedIn? Ugh! There I sat, with a hiring manager (former coworker who trusts me and my referrals) in one hand and a candidate in the other (both probably a great fit for each other) and I was not able to make the connection. All because of a missing last name on a nametag.

I hate it when this happens! And it happens all the time to me! I speak to large groups often, and networking is a big part of what I do for a living. So, I meet a ton of people. I try to remember then all, but it is simply not possible. And without a last name, the chances of me finding someone again goes down to almost nil.

State your name. State your full name. Put your last name on every nametag. And, while we’re talking about effective networking … make sure you include your full email signature every time you send an email. I promiseyou: it will pay off!

P.S. LinkedIn can help you stay in touch. Next time you meet someone you want to stay in touch with, state your full name … and take things one step further. Ask to connect with them on LinkedIn. Right then. Right there. It takes 10 seconds, and it makes it so much easier to stay in touch. If Steve had connected with me on LinkedIn that day, I might have been able to find him in my 1st-level connections.

Catherine Byers Breet
Mon, 05/06/2019 - 07:00