Not everyone is equipped with the ability to remember someone's name; however, remembering another person's name, when being introduced or reconnecting, can make a tremendous impact. Name recall is especially important in business for making and reinforcing a positive impression. Implementing the following exercises will help you commit a name (and face) to memory.
- Say the other person's name out loud. As soon as you are introduced to a client, repeat her name. You might simply say, "It's very nice to meet you, Amy," or, "Maria, it's a pleasure to see you again." Using a person's name reinforces it in your mind.
- Utilize a nametag. If you are a visual learner, picture your new client's nametag and make an effort to commit the handwritten name to memory. Continue to focus on the client's face, making note of the nametag. Repeating the name during your conversation offers you a better chance of remembering should you meet again, or need to introduce the contact to another person.
- Employ word association. Connect a person's name with a familiar picture. For example, you meet someone named Jack, and think of Jack Sparrow, picturing the person wearing a pirate hat. You meet someone named Eleanor, and you find a connection with Eleanor Roosevelt -- perhaps her smile or her pearl necklace. If you are having trouble relating the name to a well-known public figure, you may want to compare the name to a familiar object. Use associations relevant to your own learning style and personality.
- Ask for a reminder. If you find yourself at a loss, don't be afraid to own it. It's better to be honest than to appear distracted and feel uncomfortable. Say, "Please remind me of your name -- I've gone blank." The other person generally is not offended, and you will come across as interested and genuine.
- Repeat the name often. Find ways to re-introduce the other person's name into the conversation. Every time the name is repeated, you are more likely to remember. After discovering a new fact about the person, continue to use her name in your responses, such as, "Olivia, your trip to Spain sounds fascinating. How long was your visit?"
- Take an interest in particulars. Ask for specifics such as, "Scarlet, are you originally from this area," or "Daniel, what has been the greatest challenge taking over as CEO of the company?" Encouraging the person to share background information will offer further assistance with name recall as you make a more personal connection.
- Create a spreadsheet. If you enjoy making lists, consider creating a spreadsheet for new contacts. After you get back to your office, add the person's name to your database and include distinctive characteristics and facts about the individual. The spreadsheet is for your eyes only and is an additional memory tool.