You’ve just met someone for the first time (maybe even a particularly pretty someone). You give your name and ask for theirs. Then 2 seconds later, it’s gone—the name—poof, gone. We’ve all been there, and boy is it embarrassing. But there are some pretty simple things you can do to learn how to remember a person’s name as well as what to do when you can’t remember it.
Why Is It Important?
Shakespeare, the greatest poet and playwright of all time, once said, “There is no sound so sweet as the sound of one’s own name.” And who can argue with Shakespeare. People want to be called by their name, not “Hey, you!” Learning how to remember a person’s name shows that you care, that you value the other person. That concern can lead to more than just an acquaintance; it can be the start of a romantic relationship, a business partnership, a friendship.
How Is It Done?
Repetition is the key. Repetition is the key. Every business forum, social networking conference, or let’s get acquainted meeting talks about the importance of remembering names and how to do it. Although there are countless mnemonic devices, jingles, and mind games you can play to help you remember someone’s name, the simple act of repeating the name immediately is the most effective way to lock it in. For example, you’ve just met Bob. Instead of the typical “Hi, how are you?” response, try saying, “Hi, Bob. It’s nice to meet you.” Or “What do you do for a living, Bob?” Again, the repetition not only helps you focus and learn, but it also shows the other person that you value him enough to learn his name. You can also ask for a business card or have them add their contact info into your phone. You can make an association or connection from your experiences to a particular name. If it is an unusual name, you can even ask them to spell it or explain the significance of their name. But in the end, repetition is the key.
What to Do When You Can’t Remember?
No matter how hard we try, there are times that a name just escapes us. Don’t despair. You do not have to go into hiding or hope you never see that person again. If the forgetting is immediate, just ask the person to repeat the name again: “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that. Could you repeat it?” If some time has elapsed before you run into Bob or Jane again, don’t be afraid to say, “I’m sorry, I know we’ve met, but I just can’t remember your name.” Then give them your name because most likely they are in the same boat as you; giving your name first could very well relieve their stress level.
Knowing how to remember a person’s name and what to do when you can’t is the foundation for building relationships. Don’t let lack of concentration or inattentiveness deprive you of a friend, a partner, . . . a wife.