When we remember names we say that we are interested in and honor the person we’ve recently met. Read on to learn some tested techniques to help you with this skill.
Remembering Names by Laura Miller
Do you hate it when you can’t remember the name of a person you’ve recently met? Do you cringe with embarrassment when you have to admit to them that you’ve forgotten their name and ask them to repeat it? This happened to me a couple of weeks ago when someone forgot my name and had to ask me what it was. I told the person not to feel bad, because I had actually forgotten theirs too. It was at a social gathering and we’d met each other a month or so before so we should have know one and other’s names, but we were both in the wrong and forgot. This was the last thing I wanted! So, after apologizing, and relearning my new friend’s name, I got to work thinking of how to remedy this problem so I wouldn’t make the same mistake again. Finally, I came up with eight different ways.
1. Be in the moment: Whether we’re meeting people for work or for social reasons, we’re there to connect. Remember to be aware take in the situation for what it is, a party, a meeting, or an interview- you’re there to learn about others and learn something. Don’t get distracted by the music, the lights, items in the room, or other people. Remember you’re there to connect.
2. Trust Yourself: stop telling people you’re not good at remembering names. When you do this, you’re actually telling others that you won’t remember their name because you are flawed in some way. Unless you have a diagnosed memory problem, you can remember names. Believe that you can.
3. Repeat aloud and use it- without sounding wacky: When someone introduces himself or herself to you, repeat their name in a phrase. For instance let’s say the person’s name is Hamid, you can say, “It’s nice to meet you Hamid, how are you?” Using the name aloud solidifies its sound in your mind and your body.
4. Repeat silently and take a mental snapshot: A great technique to help remember something is with a mental snapshot- use your mind as a camera, concentrate, and snap. A friend of mine once told me that she didn’t want to forget a minute of her wedding, so she stopped from time to time taking mental snapshots. She now recalls details that many others forgot. Mental photos work. For remembering names, silently say the person’s name in your mind and at the same time click a detailed mental snapshot of them, right where they are. This helps you remember the moment you met, the persons hair color, the place where you spoke, etc. and associate it with their name- who they are.
5. Associate phonetic parts of the name with words that you already know. Once you’ve been introduced to someone you can quietly say the person’s name in your mind and then decode the word for it’s sound parts. For example- you’ve just met Enakshi. Break her name up in to parts that you can associate with word that you know En- the letter N, nak-nak (the Hindi word for nose), shi- the word she. You will then remember- N, nak, she, and finally Enakshi.
6. Create a rhyme. Like thinking of word associations, you can create a rhyme that has something do to with the sound of that persons name. When you hear the name Shoma – think of what rhymes and create a phrase. “Coma” rhymes with Shoma so you could say Shoma had a coma when she heard this rhyme! You never have to tell your new contact about the trick you’ve created to remember their name, it is just a technique. Don’t worry if your rhymes are wacky if they help you remember.
7. Spell it: When someone introduces himself or herself to you, you can ask them right then and there how they spell their name. This technique helps if it is a name you’ve never heard or is difficult to pronounce.
8. Write the name down: Just the other day I was going into a luncheon meeting. I didn’t want to take a notebook because I wasn’t sure if it would be easy to write during a luncheon. I finally decided to take it because I know that writing things down helps people remember. It just so happened that I was introduced to someone new at lunch, so when I had moment I wrote the person’s name down along with the date so I could refer to the details of the meeting later. You don’t have to do this as soon as you’re introduced, you can write the name down when you get home or back to the office. You can even create a short Word document with names and dates on it. This especially helps for business contacts.
9. Create a gallery in your mind! One great way to remember names is to imagine a place in your mind where you display framed photos of people you meet. Let me explain what I mean by this. When you meet someone new, the first thing to do is take a mental picture of them, add a frame to your photo and then after they tell you their name, imagine it written beneath their framed photo in your mind. Once you get to know them you can add them, you might also want to categorize them based on what you learn about them. You can imagine them in a gallery with friends, colleagues, or possible clients.
The skill of remembering names is not as difficult as we make it out to be once we remember our intentions. Connecting with others is what life is all about and when we work at more effectively remembering names our respect and consideration of others shines through. So go for it, try one or two techniques the next time you meet someone new and see how it works for you, and don’t worry if you slip up and forget, it’s okay, most people are more forgiving of others than we are of ourselves. Take it easy and enjoy meeting new people!