How to Remember Names

Trading Business CardsYou are at a business or social event, and you meet a person. Let’s call her Susan. You have a wonderful discussion and perhaps exchange business cards.  You meet more people and exchange more business cards. Later, while you’re taking to another new acquaintance, let’s call him Sam, Susan joins the conversation. They both address you by name.  However, for all the bourbon in Kentucky, you can’t recall their names!

Scared WomanHas this embarrassing situation ever happened to you? Well, it has happened to me. When it does happen to you, do you assign the entire episode to something that you have no control over?  That is, the genic defect that you were born with is rendering you incapable to remember names!

What if I told you that it does not have to be that way?  What if I told you that there is a way to remember the names of people you meet, regardless of where or how you meet them?  Well, I am pleased to share a remarkable method that has given me a breakthrough in what I thought was impossible, how to remember names.

Don GaborDon Gabor is a communication expert and author of the book How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends.  He has developed a simple, yet effective five second strategy designed for instant name recognition and recall.  Follow these steps and you will soon be recalling names with some of the best networkers around.

The First Second: Focus on the moment of introduction

Don recommends that you give full attention to the person you are meeting for the first time.  Do these things to ensure that you are focused in the moment of introduction:

President Carter and Me 1980
President Carter and Me 1980
  • Make direct eye contact.
  • Offer a warm smile.
  • Extend a firm handshake.
  • Hold on to the other person’s hand for an extra second to focus on the next and most critical step hearing the of the name.

The Second Second: Focus and Listen for the Name 

This is the moment of truth. The most important part of anyExchangin Names introduction is the name.  In this critical second, Don recommends that you do the following:

  • Don’t think of yourself or think of what you are going to say next.
  • Concentrate with your complete attention, listening for every letter in the person’s name.
  • Pay particular attention to the first initial in the name.
  • If you miss the name, simply say, “I am sorry I did not catch your name, and ask for the person to repeat the name.
  • If the name is usual (like Marben!), a foreign name, or a name you did not catch, the second time around ask, “Can you spell your name for me?”

Don’t worry about looking foolish while asking for clarification. The key is to get the name correctly.

The Third Second: Repeat the Name Aloud

RepeatingQuickly repeat the name to make sure that you got it right.  Don indicates that repeating the name will produce several additional benefits:

  • First, it will let the other person know that you listened.
  • Second, it is flattering. Nothing is more soothing to a person than the sound of the person’s own name.
  • Third, repetition is a key ingredient in remembering the name.

The Fourth Second: Think of Someone with the Same Name 

Chances are good that the person you just met has the same name Floof someone that you know. Don says lock in on the first person that comes to mind such as a relative, a classmate, or even a famous person that you don’t know.  Experts agree that association is another key to memory.

The Fifth Second: Use your New Found Name at the End of the Conversation

ConversationUsing a person’s name at the end of the conversation personalizes the encounter, while increasing the opportunity that you will remember the name.  Don tells us that using the name at the end of the discussion completes the cycle, ensuring that you have left a great first impression and a new name in your memory.

“I call everyone “Darling” because I can’t remember their names.”  Zsa Zsa Gabor.    

Hello Marben Bland Tag

While this approach may work for a movie star, it is not a long term strategy for those of us who want and need to make positive and productive impressions.  I hope these excellent suggestions from Don Gabor will be the first steps leading to a lifetime of remembering names and developing excellent relationships.

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