Rahzel, beat-boxing pioneer and former member of The Roots, told Business Insider that he’s consistently amazed by the way his friend Jon Levy remembers meeting the hundreds of people he’s connected with through his networking group, the Influencers.
“Jon can pinpoint people and the places and exact time he met them,” Rahzel said.
Levy is a marketing consultant who has spent the past six years building a network of over 400 interesting and impressive people ranging from Nobel laureates to Olympic athletes.
Twice a month, Levy holds private dinner parties and TED Talk-like salons in the sprawling New York City apartment he inherited from his parents.
When we shared Rahzel’s comment with Levy, he laughed and said that he wishes he remembered people due to an innate brilliance rather than a simple technique he’s adopted.
“For the most part, our memory is visual, and it works based on novelty for something to really stick out,” Levy said. “If there’s somebody I meet that I really want to connect with, I try to create a moment that’s memorable and that can serve as tradition.”
So rather than walk up to people and ask how their day is going and who they work for, Levy will approach in an unforgettable way. This may entail arriving with a bottle of liquor to take a shot, or introducing them to another impressive person they would enjoy speaking to.
You can also make introductory conversations unforgettable by simply asking an interesting question that, in the rote conversations common at networking events, no one else thought to ask.
For example, Levy told the story of how he met an executive from the dating app Tinder and asked her, “What’s the first question people ask you when they find out you work at Tinder?” She laughed and said men often nervously ask her if Tinder employees have access to users’ personal messages to each other, with the unsaid understanding that they’d be mortified if that were the case. “Now I’ll never forget her!” Levy said.
In all instances, Levy makes a mental note of where and when he first met someone, and can draw on that experience the next few times he sees that person. That way, he can avoid awkward re-introductions by instantly triggering the visual memory in both parties, and giving them a story to begin their next conversation with.