(Also posted on Medium)
“Hey Dan, great to see you again!” My stomach dropped, what was their name again?? I know we had met before and, they remember my name but I can’t recall theirs. Embarrassing!
We’ve all been there. We’re introduced to someone and 5 minutes later we have forgotten their name.
Remembering people’s names is important. It demonstrates that you care and respect them. As noted in Dale Carnegie’s iconic book “How to win friends and influence people” he puts it
“A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” — Dale Carnegie.
Here are three things you can do to help remember people’s names and also when you do forget how to graciously recover.
- Realize remembering people’s names are tough. But you can do it. This is one of those fake it until you make it things. Literally just believing you will remember someone’s name prepares your subconscious mind to receive a name.
- If you are into programming it’s like creating a spot in memory for an array in preparation to store data
- If you are into gardening it’s like digging a hole in preparation for planting a seed.
- If you are into running it’s like stretching before you start
When you get into a situation where you know you will be meeting new people. Say to yourself “Remember names is tough. But I can do it”
2. Now that you are fired up and prepped to remember new people’s names. Repeat the person’s name back to them. Really focus on what they look like and repeat their name back to them. Don’t worry about telling them your name yet.
“Hello David, It’s a pleasure meeting you.”
Also as you repeat their name back to them focus on the name. Does it jog any memories? For example, in my mind, I may be like, David like David Hasselhoff, from Knight Rider. That is a dope show. Sweet. Quirky, but it works.
3. During your conversation practice bringing their name up again. Now, this is a bit of an art because you don’t want to sound like a weirdo. So don’t repeat it too often. But this will help reinforce the person’s name in memory. A great time to mention their name is when the conversation is over.
“David it was great meeting you.” (David, like in Knight Rider, awesome)
Lastly, if you forget someone’s name. Own it. If you don’t ask right away it may get weird and worse, fast.
“Shoot I feel embarrassed I know we met before. Can you please tell me your name again?
Before you head out into a social setting read these tips to refresh. Meeting new people is one of the most interesting and valuable things we get to do. And good on you, you are taking the effort and working to be consistent.
When you meet people, show real appreciation, then genuine curiosity.