What's in a Name?


The holiday season is upon us, and that means there may be more opportunities to mix and mingle, or in other words, network, within various professional and personal circles. Whether you’re in the market for a new job, looking to meet new friends, or about to face situations where there may be many (familiar or unfamiliar) people around, remembering names is a sure way to have others remember you!

The ability to remember people’s names is an incredibly useful skill in both the business and social arenas. It’s a wonderful way to make a great first impression and build an instant rapport. When you remember someone’s name, you’re telling that person, “You’re important.” When you forget a person’ name, you may leave the opposite impression. The following are tips on how to improve your ability to remember names, both in business and social situations:

Commit! The first step is to make a conscious decision to remember names. Many believe they are horrible at remembering names and are often proud of the fact by joking about it. By using this story (excuse?), they instantly forget without even trying. Forgetting names is due less to a bad memory than to a lack of commitment and application. You can remember names if you want to and work at it.

Pay Attention and Concentrate! You can only remember what you observe in the first place. If you’re distracted, not paying attention, or focused on yourself when someone is making an introduction, you won’t remember the person’s name.
-Make eye contact and listen when you first hear the person’s name.
-If you missed the name or forgot it a few seconds later, ask the person to repeat it.
-Ask for the spelling, if it’s an unusual or foreign name.
-Comment on the name, if possible, or verify the name the person prefers to be called.

Repeat! When you first meet someone, repeat his/her name a few times throughout your interaction: 1) Upon introduction: “Great to meet you Joan.” 2) When asking a question: “How many years have you been a software engineer, Joan?” 3) Upon departure: “Joan, it’s been great chatting with you.” (Be careful, however, not to overdo the repetition of the name or it may appear forced or insincere.)

• Before meeting with a new client or business partner, research the organization’s website to learn as much as possible about their product, industry, competitors, etc. Often, companies will post photographs and bios of key members on their team. Study their names and faces and make a great impression on your first in-person meeting.

• When making a presentation to a small group, ask for an attendance list ahead of time and the role/department of each attendee. Create your own seating chart and write a “clue” next to each person’s name (i.e. John, Accounting – red shirt.) This allows you to use the person’s name when they comment or ask a question. (“I am glad you raised that question, Mary.”)

• Before you depart from a business presentation, offer your business card to each attendee and ask for one in return. Immediately look at the card and use the person’s name. (It’s also the appropriate time to ask the name they prefer to be called and the correct pronunciation if you’re not sure.)

• If you slip and forget someone’s name whom you’ve met before, be honest and warmly admit, “Of course, I remember you, but your name has escaped me.”

What techniques have you found valuable in remembering names? We’d love to hear your suggestions!

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Ignite Wednesday, December 1, 2010 @ 11:12 AM   0 Comments

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Ignite offers a variety of transforming programs that can propel you and your organization to brilliant successes. And we have experience in a wide range of industries, so we can tailor each session to specifically address your needs and goals. To learn more please contact us.