Remembering Names is a Skill

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!

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Soft Skills, You, and the Changing Workplace

This is a piece I wrote for a city newspaper and find it appropriate to post after reading the special feature License to Skill by Ahona Ghosh, in the Economic Times. You can link directly to her article from MissMillersInstituteLink’s blog.

All of us at Miss Miller’s Institute are very excited to open our campus in New Alipore next week, where we’ll hold our first on site class on the 4th!  I hope you enjoy the article!

Soft Skills, You, and the Changing Workplace

Nearly every day we hear “soft skills” talked about in the news. Businesses all over the world recognize the importance of soft skills and recruit people that use them well. Soft skills are sought after now more than ever. The fast paced changing global market place demands the talents that come from having soft skills.

So why are soft skills in demand? Simply put, work has changed. Changed from the industrial brute strength driven place it once was, to a place where business thrives on building positive relationships. Business is not just about creating and selling products and services, it is about the fluid exchange of efforts and the execution of details.  Products and services alone do not make for a successful company, the human element is essential. The modern workplace is still a place of excitement and competition, but the skills that the modern worker must possess are different. Excellent soft skills are what give us the power to do this new and exciting work.

As this global phenomenon of a new kind of workplace evolves, so must its work force. Applicants must not only have the education and hard skills to get the interview, but the soft skills to show employers how well they will work with others be it clients or peer professionals. Employees must be able to assess situations and think things through systematically to solve problems on the spot and over time. They need to think with creativity, to innovate, and with flexibility to gain insight from others. They must share their ideas thoughtfully and in an organized manner. They need to be able to write and communicate convincingly with confidence and charisma. Today’s workforce must have much more than technical skills; they need to hone their emotional and social skills.  They must practice and perform excellent soft skills.

As India makes its impressive mark in the sophisticated global workplace, constant upgrades are underway. All over the country technologies, trade, and infrastructure are making changes to push India forward. People are furthering their education, and more students than ever are seeking degree programs. The opportunity for individuals and companies to advance, learn, innovate, and succeed is ripe. Yet people, especially young graduates state how difficult it is to get the job they want, and CEO’s and managers continue to state that they need more talent and versatility from their employees. Statistics say that between 10 and 25 percent of college graduates are hirable, the rest are lacking the soft skills to get and keep the jobs they want.  As the excitement in India grows so must all facets of its talent.

So now the big question looms. As India advances, will you? The answer is yes, you will succeed if you honestly reflect on the skills you have, the skills don’t have, and those you need to polish. You need to be adaptable and honest, unafraid to go beyond your current potential. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself hard questions like: Am I acting as a team player in the office, working toward company goals? Am I just getting the job done or am I getting the job done well? How does the way I compete look to others? Am I too aggressive with clients? Am I not aggressive enough? Is my body language telling people one thing even though I am feeling another? Did I understand the issue correctly before I hung up the phone with that client? Did I let a client slip away because I wasn’t really listening to their requests? Why did the girl next to me get the promotion even though we do the same work? Do I have the job I want?

Once you’ve answered these questions decide if you’re happy with your results. If you are exactly where you want to be; receiving the promotions and accolades you deserve, then read no further, but if you are not where you want to be then it is time to make some changes to advance your soft skill set.  Remember, the way you present yourself, frame and project your ideas, and communicate through various mediums may be keeping you from the job or career that you want. Make sure your soft skills are working for you.  Make sure all of your skills are helping you advance.

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Miss Miller’s Piece on Effective Body Language- Telegraph, Kolkata November 2, 2010


Imagine for a moment that you are a formal observer floating outside yourself trying to gather information through sight. Look at yourself. What is your body language saying? What is this soft skill communicating to others? Are you aware of how you are presenting yourself to employers and work peers? Are you sending people the messages you intend?

Your body language is conveyed through both subtle and grand gestures. Your actions, movements, facial expressions, habits, ticks, and posture communicate something, whether you know it or not. Your posture and mannerisms are telling people things about you that you may or may not intend. People are forming opinions of you based on your conscious and subconscious actions. They are gathering information about you through the way you animate your speech, movements and expressions. Whether your expressions are subtle or strong, inborn or acquired, people learn a lot about your personality through your body language.

Imagine a theatre of people watching a scary movie. They all exhibit something about who they are at that moment with their body language. You’ll see many people with furrowed eyebrows and squinting eyes as they sit with their faces slightly averted to the screen, and shoulders curved in to hide from the horror. Others may sit straight up and stretch their arm around their nearby friend, all the while staring closely at the screen. There may even be some that are sleeping or chatting amid the scary visuals and sounds. Their body language tells you different things — they are scared, excited, fearless, disinterested, or bored.

The beauty of body language is that there are so many expressions that we can control as the situation demands or as we deem necessary. You don’t have to exhibit the same body language all the time. You can learn to change and control what your body language is communicating.

Now imagine you are floating outside yourself, this time at work. Is your body language working for you here? How is your posture when you’re standing? When you’re sitting? Do you slouch at your desk? Sure, your back tends to curve downward when you get tired or when you’ve been working for a long time. That is normal, but slouching also comes from another part of your psyche. Unless you have a medical issue in your back or spine, slouching indicates insecurity or nonchalance. Remember at work, to notice how you are feeling and how your body is expressing that feeling.

Think of other things people at work can see about you from your body language. Are you making eye contact with people when you speak to them? If so, it tells people that you’re paying attention, concentrating and listening. When you don’t, the opposite is exposed and can show you are distracted. Do you tap your feet, bite your nails, or fidget? If so, you are telling others that you are nervous, insecure, or disinterested.

Luckily, with a little practice you can use the power of your body language to your advantage! Think of how you would like others to think of you, then, honestly notice how you are presenting yourself. Remember, it may help to imagine looking at yourself as if you were a floating observer.

If you want to project confidence, remember this: using your body language is a skill, a soft skill you can adapt and change to fit the demands of a situation. The first step is to practise exhibiting the behaviours that demonstrate confidence. Gently smile, use eye contact, and subtly animate with your hands and head while speaking. Be sure to stand or sit up straight with a relaxed composure. Definitely lose the bad habits, don’t fidget, pick your skin, or chew your lips or nails. Instead, substitute a bad habit by taking a deep breath to gather composure.

As you master your body language, you will be able to use it to your advantage in any situation. Let the soft skill of body language work for you!

Laura Miller teaches soft skills at Miss Miller’s Institute. Send your queries to her at
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Hello and Welcome!

Who is Miss Miller?

Miss Miller is a born educator whose experience and enthusiasm ensure that students easily absorb new knowledge. Her open and friendly teaching style combined with her commitment to student achievement, guarantee that you will learn great soft skills and truly enjoy the process.

Born in New York, Miss Miller had a passion to become an educator at an early age.  With a concentration in philosophy and education, Miss Miller earned a Bachelor of Arts from The State University of New York at Potsdam, and later received a Masters of Science in Education from The College of Saint Rose, in Albany, New York. Finally she obtained a Post Graduate Certificate as an Educational Trainer and Coordinator from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Miss Miller has over ten years teaching experience. She began her career working with inner city children and adults in Bronx, New York. There her emotional intelligence, patience, and commitment were crucial in overcoming the daily obstacles of teaching in one of American toughest school districts. During her time teaching in Hudson, New York, she moved quickly through the ranks and was chosen to be a teacher trainer and then granted tenure by the state of New York.  Following her passion for knowledge and understanding, she moved to India where she became the head teacher and principal of the American School Kolkata before founding Miss Miller’s Institute.

Personal Statement: I believe that everyone has the ability to channel the dynamic person they have within themselves through confidence, focus, and practice. The sincere joy I feel as a teacher comes from fostering the process of each student’s journey to succeed. I am truly fulfilled by helping my students to be the best that they can be. I can not wait to share the knowledge I have of soft skills and emotional intelligence with you. I am thrilled to be living in India and it is my strong desire to help many people achieve their full potential by teaching them excellent soft skills.

Mission Statement:

To teach my students excellent soft skills so they can achieve their full potential.

Goals and Vision

Our goal is to help our students get the jobs and promotions they want. Miss Miller’s Institute unlocks the potential that all students have within themselves, by providing essential lessons and practice with soft skills. Our vision is to help students achieve their full potential and be best employees they can be. This is not an easy or automatic process but through proper training, technique and hard work it is something that everyone can achieve.


We are born educators and believe in the power of all individuals to better themselves through education. We are not affiliated with any religion or particular school of thought. We are not self help or motivational speakers. Our trainings and methods are derived from scientific research and best practices for learning, that are accepted world wide. There is no magic formula here, if students put in the time and hard work necessary, they will achieve the desired results.

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