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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 January 24, 2021

      How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

      How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

      Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

      For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

      But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

      It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

      And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

      The Importance of Saying No

      When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

      In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

      Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

      Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

      Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

      “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

      When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

      How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

      It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

      From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

      We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

      And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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      At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

      The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

      How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

      Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

      But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

      3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

      1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

      Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

      If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

      2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

      When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

      Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

      3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

      When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

      6 Ways to Start Saying No

      Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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      1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

      One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

      Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

      2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

      Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

      Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

      3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

      Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

      Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

      You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

      4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

      Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

      Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

      5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

      When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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      How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

        Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

        Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

        6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

        If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

        Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

        Final Thoughts

        Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

        Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

        Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

        More Tips on How to Say No

        Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
        [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
        [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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