How important is your name to you? How do you feel when people get it wrong or mispronounce it? How do you feel when it’s obvious that someone you’ve met before can’t remember your name? I’ll bet that you feel like you’re not important to them and that they don’t care who you are. How does that make you feel about them? The fact that they’re not interested enough to recall your name is probably going to result in you not being very interested in anything they have to say.
If your goal is to develop relationships with people and persuade them to buy from you, how important is the ability to remember names? It is absolutely vital! If this is an area that you have trouble with, then you need to do something about it now.
So what can you do about it? Well, to start with you can read this article and learn some simple habits and techniques that will help you. Then if you really want to get good at remembering names, you’ll make a conscious effort to practise these techniques every time you meet someone new until they become automatic habits.
The four keys to remembering people’s names are:
- Impression – get a clear picture in your head of their name and face.
- Repetition – repeat their name at short intervals.
- Association – Associate their name with an action picture in your head, if possible involving their business.
- Write it down as soon as possible!
Here are 5 simple techniques that will help you remember names:
- When you first meet somebody, say their name, and say it as often as possible (though not in an obvious, annoying way). If you’re not in the habit of doing this, then it may seem a little strange at first, but do it anyway! Everybody loves the sound of their own name! “Great to meet you Mary!”. “So who was it you said you work for Mark?”
Hard to pronounce? If their name is difficult to pronounce, don’t avoid it! Try it straight away, and if you’re not sure you got it right, ask them – they won’t mind a bit. It shows that you care about their name and want to get it right. I find people are glad to help you get their name right. Ask them to spell it if you need to. If it’s unusual, ask them about where their name comes from. They’ll appreciate that you find it interesting, and it will make it much easier for you to remember.
- Repeat their name to yourself silently in your head.
- Make an effort to think about their name again within twenty minutes of saying goodbye – this will greatly aid your recall later.
- Write it down at the first opportunity you get. If they give you a business card, use the back of it to make some notes about them as soon as you can. Leave it until tomorrow and you will have forgotten. If you’re meeting lots of people very briefly, then even just leaving it for half an hour can lead to you getting mixed up and forgetting who is who.
- Before you attend an event, try to get hold of a list of attendees and their companies, and spend time studying it. If you can do this for even just a few minutes the night before, and again in the morning prior to the event, you’ll be amazed how much easier it becomes to remember the names of the people you meet. When someone tells you their name at the event, it’s already familiar to you. You’ll also be able to pick out people you want to meet and have a chance to think of something to talk to them about before you meet.
Finally, keep in mind that everyone else has trouble remembering names as well. Help them out! If it’s someone you’ve only met once before, you might say, “Hi Phil, Richard Grant – don’t know if you remember me, we met at ….”. If they remember your face but not your name, they’ll be quietly grateful.
Do you want to be remembered? Read our post “3 Techniques to make sure people remember you”.