Remembering someone’s name is an important aspect of any business relationship. Besides being embarrassing, you do not want people to perceive your forgetfulness as indifference, causing them to think they are just another client, employee or prospect.
Remembering names is not always easy in the heat of business. We are often required to pay attention to many different things at once; and when we are introduced to someone, a name can literally go in one ear and out the other because we’re focused on other things. Unfortunately, this has happened to most people at one time or another.
The key to remembering anything requires making connections outside of just your sense of hearing, but remembering names sometimes takes extra practice because you are often introduced to someone while otherwise engaged. To help you remember someone’s name, here are four tips from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Edmonton:
1. Develop a Genuine Interest in the Person — When you meet someone, you need to stop what you are doing for a moment and purposely focus on that person’s face. Give them your undivided attention and actively listen by asking questions about their statements and using their name in the process. If the situation presents itself, ask personal questions about their hometown or their family, or what they prefer to be called. Try to find a commonality during your conversation, which will allow you to identify with that person even more.
2. Use Word Association — Remember elementary school rhymes and mnemonic devices? They work when remembering names, too. Say the person’s name is Jessica and she appears disheveled. You might remember that Jess is a mess. If Joe Smith moves around a lot, use alliteration — Jumpin’ Joe Smith. If a woman’s name is Stella, think of Marlon Brando yelling, “Stella!” in the movie Streetcar Named Desire. Whatever it takes!
3. Create Visual Associations — Pull in your other senses and use images to help you remember names. If the person’s name is Frank, envision them inside a hot dog bun. Dawn can be remembered by a sunrise behind her head. And, of course, a man named Joe would be holding a cup of coffee. The more elaborate a picture you associate with the person’s name, the more the image will stick with you. For example, for the very common name “John,” you might picture a commode sitting on his shoulder. Yes, it’s a bizarre image, but you’ll see that image in your mind every time you meet that person and you’ll never forget his name is John!
4. When All Else Fails, Ask Again And Use Their Name In A Sentence — There is no shame in politely asking someone to repeat their name, or even to spell it for clarification. Upon relearning the name, say something positive about them personally and try to repeat their name in a sentence.
Some people have a natural ability to remember a new acquaintance’s name while others have to work at it. If you spend a little time and put a little extra thought and effort into remembering names, you will be remembered for making someone feel special.
For more information on remembering names, join us for our “Dale Carnegie Course: Effective Communications & Human Relations/Skills For Success” in Fort McMurray, Alberta on May 8, or in Edmonton, Alberta, on May 23.
Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net/Ambro