What’s your name again?
It can be very embarrassing and awkward to forget the name of someone you’ve recently met and had a discussion with. On the other hand, you pay someone a genuine compliment if you can recall and use their name the second time you meet. Remembering and using names is an important business networking skill and gets new relationships off on the right foot.
Here are some suggestions for remembering names:
Get the name right in the first place.
If you didn’t quite catch the name, ask the person to repeat it for you. Then use it once or twice in the next few minutes – but not too often or it will seem pretentious, condescending or becomes annoying.
“So, Maria, tell me what prompted you to come to this event today.”
“Maria, you have an interesting business. Tell me how you came to go into that line of work.”
Ask about the origin of the name.
Sometimes people have unusual names and this can be a great conversation starter as well as a memory jolt.
“So that’s a lovely name. Tell me about it.”
Develop a system.
Some people associate a name with something else. If you’re a visual person, write the name down mentally. If you’re auditory, say it out loud. If you’re kinaesthetic, imagine tracing the name on the ground with your toe.
Make some notes.
If you’re offered a business card use it. After the meeting use it to jot down something to remind you about your conversation. Alternatively, immediately after the meeting, take a few notes about each person you met and perhaps something they said which you can associate with that person.
Check out social media.
After the event take a moment to check your new colleague’s social media. You might like to send a short personalised message letting them know you have enjoyed your conversation. This can also help you recall a little about the person.
Remind yourself prior to your next meeting or networking event.
When you’re preparing to attend the next meeting refer to your notes before you leave. Then spend some of your travel time recalling the people you previously met and associating the face with the name.
Make it easy for others.
When you meet someone, help them to remember your name. In my case my surname is “Paine”. I often say something like, It’s Paine, P.A.I.N.E that’s “pain in the neck with an E. It usually gets a chuckle and it helps my new colleague to remember.