The last time you were introduced to someone new, did you remember their name, afterward? What about when presented to a small group of 4 to 6 people? Could you remember each person’s name later that evening or the next day? If remembering the name of someone new is difficult, relax and read on to learn eight handy tips that can help you, today.
Each person’s name is fundamentally important to them. Your name is tied to who you are as a person, to your identity, thoughts, beliefs, and to your accomplishments. A person’s name is an extension of who they are, and it represents them in personal associations and the business world.
Referring to someone by name shows that you cared enough to remember and use their name. When you hear your name spoken, you know that the other person is referring to you personally.
There are many reasons why we don’t remember a person’s name after being introduced; here are the two most common:
• Distraction, focusing your attention someplace else, such as what’s happening around you, concerns, or thoughts about how you will reply.
• Impatience, when you are so eager to introduce yourself or to talk that you aren’t focusing on the introduction and giving it the attention it needs.
The following are memory tips to help you remember a person’s name after the introduction. Use these while networking, during a job search or job interview, or meeting your coworkers once you’ve landed that new job or promotion.
1st Memory Tip
F-A-C-E it—This super easy method uses the mnemonic cue—F-A-C-E, with each letter representing the words Focus, Ask, Comment, and Employ.
- Focus on the person’s face and actively notice what they look like, and then make and hold eye contact during the introduction.
- Ask a question or inquire about something of interest — “Nice to meet you, Richard. My brother-in-law has the same first name, and he likes to use Rick. Which version of the name do you prefer?”
- Comment by saying something about their name and cross-reference it in your head. An example: college roommate’s name was Ted.
- Employ it by putting the name to use when you speak to them, “Nice to meet you, Ted.”
Using the F-A-C-E method will help to drive a new name into your memory bank so you can recall it later.
2nd Memory Tip
Repeat it—One of the best strategies to help you remember a person’s name is to repeat their name both in your head and out loud as soon as you’ve been introduced. Just like in the F-A-C-E method above, find a way to use that person’s name in conversation. “I’m delighted to meet you Carol; I’ve read all three of your books.”
3rd Memory Tip
Trigger it—Here are three ways to use a trigger to help you remember a person’s name.
- Connect their name to something they just told you about themselves. For example, Posey likes to write poetry. Jack is a lawyer. Steve is an auto diesel mechanic.
- Describe something that they’re wearing and connect it to their name such as, John in the green suede jacket or Susan wears rimless glasses.
- Associate their name to someone you already know or to someone famous. You might think, “Shirley Stevenson makes me think of Shirley Temple, or Jack Michelson makes me think of Jack Nicholson.”
4th Memory Tip
Rhyme it—use a rhyme or a literary device to help you remember a person’s name. End rhymes are easy to think of and to recall; Claire has blonde hair or Fred with red glasses. Alliteration is a literary device that uses words that begin with the same first letter. Here are examples of how you can use alliteration to remember someone’s name, Karl with a “K” from Kansas or Ira works in IT.
5th Memory Tip
Spell It—Ask the person to spell their name, especially when it is a name that is unfamiliar to you. Using this tip is particularly helpful if you will need to communicate with them via email or writing. For example, if a man’s name is Carl it can be spelled two ways, with the first letter that is a “C” or using the “K.”
6th Memory Tip
Pronounce It—another way to help you remember their name is to pronounce it correctly. Don’t be afraid to ask a person to repeat their name more than once when it’s an unusual pronunciation. Perhaps you couldn’t hear them clearly because you were in a noisy restaurant or meeting. People would much rather repeat their name two or three times so that you get the correct pronunciation.
7th Memory Tip
Write it— when you’re being introduced to a person jot down their name on a piece paper by writing the letters of their name, it will help again to get that embedded into your memory.
8th Memory Tip
Admit it—if you just can’t remember a person’s name don’t be shy just admit it. Say something like,“I’m sorry I don’t remember your name, and it is important to me that I do. Would you please tell me your name again?.” By admitting that you don’t remember their name and asking them to tell you again shows that you do care who they are, and you’re not taking a chance on using the wrong name or an incorrect pronunciation.
Being able to use a person’s name and to pronounce it correctly will set you apart from other job seekers and careerists. It’s easy just remember to F-A-C-E it, Repeat it, Trigger it, Rhyme it, Spell it, Pronounce it, Write it, and Admit it!
• How To Talk To Anyone About Anything by Jill Spiegel
• Remember Every Name Every Time by Brian Levy
• How To Talk To Anyone by Leil Lowndes