It happens at the worst time …. you’ve just met someone, they told you their name then poof! It’s gone!
Or you’ve known someone for a long time and your brain just freezes.
Here are a few tips ….
- Get it right the first time. When someone introduces himself or herself and you haven’t heard their name, simply ask them to repeat it.
- Use the name. In the first few sentences, use the person’s name once or twice. Don’t do it too often or it appears pretentious and can quickly become annoying!
- Look at their business card. Too often we pop someone’s card into our pocket. Take a look at it, comment about the logo or location while double checking the name.
- Ask a question. If you know someone with the same name, ask if there is a relation. Or ask what the derivation of the name is. We have become so politically correct we don’t want to offend anyone; on the other hand we’re willing to walk around mispronouncing someone’s name.
- Write the name down. When you are in a meeting and people go around and introduce themselves, write their name in the same order they are seated.
- Create a system that works for you. If you remember things visually, mentally write their name down. If you are an auditory person, say it out loud. If you are a kinesthetic learner, write it with your toe in the carpet or imagine it in the sky.
- Spell it back. This shows you are genuinely interested in getting it right.
- Connect the name to something. If you know someone with the same name, make a note of the connection. For example, I used to work with someone named Susan Fleming –like Ian Fleming who wrote the Bond books.
- Slow down. One of the main reasons we forget is that we are going too fast.
- Be cautious about your word association. There was someone named Chip and he could not remember the nickname especially since it was for a woman. So he thought of his favorite chip – a chocolate chip cookie. The next time he saw her, he smiled, and said, “Hi Cookie!”
- $100 per name. Remember Benjamin Franklin – his face graces the $100 bill. If I promised to give you a $100 bill for each name you remembered, would you try harder? Whatever motivates you to learn names, do it! Really try!
- Be human. Forgetting someone’s name happens to all of us. Be realistic. Work on the hints above! Good luck!