Career Coach: How to Remember Names -- Don't I Know You?
"A person's name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language."
-- Dale Carnegie
I've written a lot about networking and how important it is. But making connections and building relationships is hard to do when you can't remember someone's name. Remembering names opens the door to successful relationships.
My 13-year-old daughter worked as a Sky ranger last summer at Soaring Colorado, a zip-line attraction near Durango (http://www.soaringcolorado.com). She had to learn and remember at least 30 new names every day. Every time she had contact with someone she used his or her name. Guests at Soaring Colorado are always amazed and impressed that the Sky Rangers can do this. It also makes the guests feel that they have not just had an adventure, but made some friends.
Improve your ability to remember names by following these four steps, which spell out the acronym Clue: Commit, Listen, Use it, Embed a link
1. Commit: The first step to remembering people's names is to commit to it. If it's important to you, you'll be able to do it. And if remembering other people's names is not important to you, why should remembering your name be important to them?
2. Listen with focus: Listen to the person's name. If you find a few moments later that you've already forgotten it, say, "I missed your name. Can you give it to me again?" If you still have trouble with it, say, "Would you spell that out for me?"
Often when we meet someone we may think we may never see him again and so we don't invest the effort to memorize the name. Pay attention when someone introduces himself. Make eye contact and make a connection with the person.
Take the time and make the effort to remember someone's name when you meet him. Treat him as if he is the most important person in the world during that first conversation and it will be easier for you to remember him if you see him again.
3. Use it: When you hear someone's name use it soon as possible in conversation. Repetition helps engrave the name in your memory. Say the name quietly to yourself a few times.
Say it out loud. Add it to the beginning or ending of your greeting to that person: "It's a pleasure to meet you, Holly" or "Tunde, how nice to meet you."
Associate the name with something someone tells you about himself or herself. To help you remember, introduce him or her to someone else right away using the association. Repeating it out loud, "Jan, the marketing diva," or "Susie, the pastry chef," makes it more real and memorable.
Don't tax your memory. Write notes to yourself at the time or later.
When you get a business card, honor the person like the Asians do by studying his card for a moment. This will also help you create a visual to remember the person's name. Write on the back of the business card. (Don't write on the front of someone's business card. In some cultures it's perceived as defacing their person!)
* Use the name immediately.
* Repeat it silently to yourself.
* Comment on the name.
* Use it occasionally in the conversation without overdoing it.
* Use it when leaving. "I've enjoyed speaking with you Paul."
* Write it down afterwards.
4. Embed a link with the name: It's hard to learn names by simply hearing them. Our memory works better when images, action and emotion are involved.
Concentrate on forming a clear, detailed impression of the person. Use all your senses to observe people's physical characteristics. The more vivid the impression, the more likely you are to remember them.
Find some clever way to remember a name by associating it with something unique about the person. Here are some ways to embed a link with the name.