Fewer things can be more embarrassing than meeting someone for the first time and realizing seconds into the conversation that you’ve already forgotten their name. It happens to the best of us, but there are ways to help you remember so that you don’t annoy, or worse, insult someone that could very well be your next client. Here are a few of our favorite tricks that help us remember the names of everyone we meet.
Rather than rushing through introductions in order to move on with the conversation, make it a point to actually listen as the other person is giving you his or her name. Focus on the introduction and do your best to tune out any distractions. If you don’t hear the name clearly, be honest – let them know you didn’t catch it and kindly ask them to say it again.
Repeating a person’s name right off the bat will help you commit the name to memory. Rather than just saying, “It’s nice to meet you”, say “It’s nice to meet you, Bob” and repeat their name.
Ask a Question
Asking a question immediately after has an introduction serves a dual purpose. It not only serves as a great lead-in to a conversation, but gives you another opportunity to say the other person’s name. For example: “So, Paul — which seminar did you attend this morning?”
Play the Word Game
Thinking of the name in a silly or funny way is a great technique to help remember names. For someone named Stephanie Williams, you can think of Step-on-Me Will-I-Am. Don’t worry, you can take comfort in knowing that no one but you will know what you’re thinking.
Ask for a Business Card
Always remember to ask for a business card but don’t just put it away, take a second and read it and then hold on to it for the remainder of the conversation. You’ll now have a visual of their name, plus other important contact information.
Write It Down
Once your conversation is over and you’ve said your goodbyes, jot down a brief description about the person on the back of their business card. For example:
Emily Smith – Lawyer, beauty mark, from Santa Barbara, etc. This will help trigger your memory if you happen to meet again.
We hope these tips will help you avoid an uncomfortable situation the next time you meet someone for the first time. Let us know what works for you!