How to Remember Names

One of your favorite tunes just popped up on your music stream.

You’re singing along loudly. But you cannot for the life of you remember who sings that song, and it is driving you nuts.

All you’re trying to recall is a name.

The same thing can happen at networking events and when networking online. Group Zoom or breakout rooms anyone?

You remember her face, you think, but the name escapes you. And she is not wearing a name tag. Or you met through a Zoom event only this person had no video and shared only their first name on the screen. Shoot!

What s in a name? It’s the one word that’s music to your listener’s ears. If you’re great with faces but have a tough time remembering names. Here are some steps you can take to help make remembering names easier for you:

 

Introduce yourself first.

Use your first and last name. The person you re connecting with is probably having a tough time remembering your name too. Introducing yourself first will put him or her at ease.

 

Listen well.

You’ve given him your name, now it’s time to remember his. Listen for it. The reason most of us immediately forget other’s names is that we weren’t really paying attention in the first place.

For example, “Hi! I’m Wendy Terwelp, nice to meet you. And you are?”

“I’m Bob Smith, likewise,” says Bob.

Repeat the name immediately. Repeat it aloud if you are meeting someone, “Bob Smith? Great! What brings you to this event, Bob?”

Do not over-repeat. I once went to a networking event, and someone must have heard this tip. I think he said my name at least three or four times in a short amount of time.

It sounded like this, “Wendy, great to meet you Wendy. How s everything going, Wendy?”

I thought to myself, “Now that was a bit over the top.”

If you’re in a meeting where everyone is introducing themselves, repeat the name to yourself silently.

 

Anchor the name by attaching a physical action.

A firm handshake is perfect if the interaction is personal, but if you are simply listening to a round of introductions, spell out the person’s name with the forefinger of your writing hand in the palm of your other hand as you mentally repeat the name to yourself.

During meetings, I m a big note taker, so I like to write down people’s names if I am at a group meeting or participating in a group Zoom call or webcast. Writing the name helps me remember, plus I’ll make a note about the person, what they do (if it’s mentioned), what company they work for, and so on. This helps me reconnect with them later.

“Bob, great to see you again. How s everything going for you at ACME?”

 

Review all the names.

Mentally recall each new person during introductions. If there are more than 20 people, keep reviewing the most recent 20 people’s names as the introductions continue. If you are interacting with one person, use that person’s name several times, but don t be too obvious.

Another technique in reviewing a person’s name is to introduce that person to others.

For example, “Bob, have you met Janet? Janet, this is Bob Smith.”
 

Associate the names.

Alliteration is especially helpful for large groups or if more than one person has the same first name. Barbara in blue, Mary the mortgage broker, or Frank the financial planner can help you remember who is who.

I’ve also associated a person’s name with someone famous, “Oh Justin, like Justin Timberlake? Great to meet you.” “Ruth, like notorious RBG? Cool. Great to meet you.”

During your brief conversation you may discover interesting facts. Put this on the back of the person’s business card. For example, Mary speaks seven languages. Ramona used to be a professional juggler!

If you don’t get a business card or this is an online networking event, you can make a note on a notepad (writing helps with retention) or in your smartphone’s notepad section. You can also connect later via LinkedIn and mention what you learned in your personalized invitation to connect.

“Hi Jean, great to meet you at the BBB online networking event today! Fun to hear about your business and interest in live music concerts. Let’s connect here on LinkedIn and keep the conversation going.”

 

Follow up.

If you make promises to others during your networking event or meeting it is important to follow up promptly. If you promised to send them an article on their topic of interest, jot that down on their business card or in your notes, then do it the next day.

 

Coaching Challenge:

Time to test out your name recall techniques. Schedule your next networking event or Zoom group meeting and use the tips to ensure you remember attendees’ names for fast and easy follow up.

Share in the comments! What’s one of your best tips for remembering names?

© 1998 – 2021 Wendy Terwelp | Opportunity Knocks of Wisconsin, LLC | All rights reserved. | Excerpt from Rock Your Network®.