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“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.

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    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:

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      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.

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      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.

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      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!

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      Last Updated on March 14, 2019

      7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

      7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

      Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

      For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

      Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

      1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

      A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

      It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

      It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

      How it helps you:

      If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

      Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

      2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

      Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

      Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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      How it helps you:

      Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

      Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

      If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

      Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

      3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

      Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

      Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

      How it helps you:

      This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

      For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

      Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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      A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

      4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

      To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

      A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

      How it helps you:

      One word: hierarchy.

      All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

      In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

      If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

      5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

      Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

      Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

      How it helps you:

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      Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

      If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

      This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

      6. What do you like about working here?

      This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

      Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

      How it helps you:

      You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

      Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

      Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

      7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

      What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

      As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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      How it helps you:

      What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

      First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

      Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

      Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

      Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

      Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

      Making Your Interview Work for You

      Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

      Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

      More Resources About Job Interviews

      Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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