Monday, April 2, 2007

Remembering Names Is Worth A Lot

One of the things I learned when I took the Dale Carnegie Course was that... 'the sweetest sound to a person's ear is the sound of their own name'. My life experiences since then have convinced me that there is a lot of truth to that statement.

I find that if I make it a point to use someones name when talking to them, things tend to go better. This is true for friends, relatives, other people in the workplace, or service people with name tags. I envy those who appear to remember names with no effort at all. I was never that lucky, I have to make a special effort.

Remembering names can help us earn a better living and is great in social circles. A person in sales or someone who is a consultant and in contact with a lot of people can really benefit from being able to remember names.

When I am successful remembering someones name for the first time, on our second meeting, it is always a treat to see the pleasantly surprised smile on their face. More often than not they don't recall my name but that's OK.

I have found a combination of techniques work best for me. You can call them tricks but they are really just learning techniques.
  • Just making a point of remembering someones name takes mental effort and that alone helps us remember the name.
  • The more facts I try to connect to the person helps as well. I try to build a mental web.
  • On occasion, on the first meeting I note something about the person's appearance and tie this to their name, using something else that I imagine, something that will hopefully remind me of their name. A really ridiculous image works best for me. For example, Jane - a cane, Dick - a stick.
  • Sometimes I make note that the person has the same name as someone else I already know.
  • A friend of mine makes up stupid, little phrases of rhyming words to help him recall names. Example- "Taylor, Taylor the little sailor".
  • I also find it helpful to write down someones name soon after I meet them. Here again, simply making that special little effort helps us recall the name later. In addition, you can always review a list of names prior to a social or business event where you might meet that person again.
In my experience, the most successful supervisors, sales people, other business people in general, and people who make friends easily, are all good at remembering names.

If anyone has any other suggestions for remembering names, please comment so we can all learn to be better at this valuable skill.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Hey, thanks for this. I'm in business for myself, love talking with people (although don't love networking so much) and am DREADFUL, I mean really dreadful, at remembering names. Your post reminded me that this is something I should continue to actively develop. I'll try out some of the tips!