Advertising
Advertising

“Friendly greetings!” The Power of Personal Catchphrases

“Friendly greetings!” The Power of Personal Catchphrases

Friendly greetings, I'm Torley!

    One of the nicest things you can do for other people is make yourself easy to remember. Instead of burning their brains trying to recall who you are and what you stand for, a personal catchphrase is a elegant anchor to the rest of you. It serves as a compact memory assistant that melts mental blocks. You don’t need to be a celebrity, but you do need to have personality.

    Ever heard of Rodney Dangerfield? The man said:

    “I don’t get no respect!”

    thousands of times (are you seeing him in your head as you read this?), and he literally built a prosperous and durable comedy career based on that catchphrase. Let’s make no mistake, he was a versatile performer who chillingly portrayed an abusive father in Natural Born Killers, but to many, his sheer lack of received respect coupled with mannerisms like tie-tugging helped him be recognized and succeed.

    Advertising

    Whether you love, hate them — or otherwise — Donald Trump’s “You’re fired” and Paris Hilton’s “That’s hot” are unlikely to leave your head anytime soon. And you can’t get much briefer than 2 words. As a type of meme, catchphrases’ brethren include LOLCATS and other Internet phenomena like the many parodies of 300’s “This… is… Sparta!” which are immediately accessible, and thus, spread easily. As Internet marketing guru Seth Godin (who’s coined catchphrases) sez:

    “Ideas that spread, win.”

    My catchphrase is “Friendly greetings!”, and I use it to introduce my Second Life video tutorials (with almost 3 million views) and other public activities. If you google for it in quotation marks right now, you’ll find I’m the #2 match with this image:

    Friendly greetings!

      Without quotes, I’m still in the Top 10. This didn’t happen all at once, but in waves. Here’s my advice on popularizing yourself through a personal catchphrase so you can reap the rewards:

      Advertising

      Your catchphrase must be natural

      Don’t hunt for the obscure: just about all catchphrases consist of simple words that are easy to remember. And even alien quips like “Klaatu barada nikto” have a singsong quality which is pleasant, especially if you’ve not just read, but heard the original. If you have an opportunity, record yourself saying your catchphrase. It adds a dimension that’s impossible in text alone, and almost all catchphrases originated from being said out loud.

      I stress that being creative doesn’t mean being alien — by appropriating words already familiar to other people, you’re well on your way. In fact, I’d hedge on “go for a catchphrase that sounds like it couldn’t be any more obvious”. Most people psychologically make the mistake of thinking “obvious = bad” when it can clearly be the opposite; my “Friendly greetings!” is certainly a fine example. And obviously, you need a catchphrase you’d say without sounding forced and artificial. It should connect with the surrounding conversation. This is why “Friendly greetings!” is such a strong lead to the rest of a discussion.

      You can’t overuse your catchphrase

      Family and friends may get tired of seeing your catchphrase, but the world has over 6.6 billion people and you’ll never, ever reach everyone who could possibly be interested in you and what you have to offer.

      Note that I mentioned “personal catchphrases”, because while there are a lot of similarities to advertising slogans, your catchphrase is dependent on your delivery, not an inanimate object’s. If someone else says it, they’re likely either parodying or paying homage, thus spreading it further.

      Also consider if others can be proud of sharing your catchphrase with their friends, bringing them in on you. You, first and foremost, must be willing to commence that fun.

      Advertising

      You must often hear your catchphrase being said back to you

      I feel sorry for Wayne Knight because of how Seinfeld typecast him with “Newman!”, but it’s better to be known than forgotten.

      One of the simplest ways to tell if a catchphrase is working is if you put it out there and hear it echo back. I get awesome people saying “Friendly greetings!” back to me everyday, and one of the reasons it works so well is it’s an icebreaker and it’s comfortable to say.

      Target audience matters too: Beavis (Butt-head’s buddy) may have had an affinity for proclaiming “I am Cornholio”, but it’s unlikely buttoned-up academics will be chanting that phrase too (unless they have a wild, secret, subversive streak).

      Take 3-4 seconds and think about whether your catchphrase is something the people you target (whether it’s kinds of friends you want to make or a market niche you’re aiming for) will be able to relate to. If it works for you, it’ll attract like-minded people, I guarantee.

      And be brave to throw away dead-end catchphrases (yes, you can have more than one — I’m working on boosting “Yayzerama!”); it’s pretty easy to tell in weeks if they’re starting to work or not, so drop the weight.

      Advertising

      Your catchphrase must have a purpose

      Even if your catchphrase doesn’t state the purpose, it’s pointless to have popularity without followup results. Is your catchphrase a hook to help you move product, get you gigs playing at parties (and hot dates afterwards), or simply to make you smile?

      They can sound nonsensical and stupid, but catchphrases absolutely must do something good for you, and desirably, your fellow humans. Otherwise, why bother?

      Share your catchphrase just about everywhere

      If you can put your catchphrase in a blog post title and make it flow, more power to younumerous SEO strategies observe that Google and other search engines weigh titles heavily. Flickr picture titles (as the one I showed you) and other opportunities to get your catchphrase seen matter, too. From experience, I’ve found this to be true.

      If you’re self-employed or otherwise have creative control, your catchphrase should be on your business cards. This gives you a fab opportunity to create rapport by saying your catchphrase out loud as you give your card to a fresh acquaintance. (Alas, if you work for a company that already has strong branding and isn’t in the business of letting your personality help boost them, your individuality can’t shine as much.)

      Remember the above steps and keep it terse yet memorable. All the best being catchy, and let me know your catchphrases in the comments!

      More by this author

      How to Love Yourself, Even if No One Else Does Determine Intent & Destroy Misunderstanding 4 Firefox Add-Ons to Ease Your Online Life Be a Comment Rockstar: 10 Terrific Tips! Life Lessons You Can Learn From The Joker

      Trending in Communication

      1The Gentle Art of Saying No 217 Ted Talks for Kids to Inspire Little Minds to Do Big Things 310 Toxic Persons You Should Just Get Rid Of 4Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts 5Being Self Aware Is the Key to Success: How to Boost Self Awareness

      Read Next

      Advertising
      Advertising

      The Gentle Art of Saying No

      The Gentle Art of Saying No

      No!

      It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

      Advertising

      But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

      Advertising

      What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

      Advertising

      But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

      1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
      2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
      3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
      4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
      5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
      6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
      7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
      8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
      9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
      10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

      Advertising

      Read Next