Have you ever met someone new only to realize a few minutes later that you have forgotten their name? You may be able to muddle through the initial conversation without giving away your lapse, but what if you meet them again later on? “Hey, how are you doing, er, friend?“ It can be awkward and embarrassing, right?
Let me tell you, I’ve always had a great memory for faces. I don’t know why, but I have. The problem was, I was terrible with names, particularly if I ran into somebody outside of the context I originally met them in. I’d think to
myself, “I know you. How do I know you and what is your name?”, and then try to fake it as best I could until I could figure it out.
If you’ve ever had a similar experience, then this Social in 7 workout is for you. Here are five simple steps you can practice to become a name wizard and never forget a name again.
The Name Wizard Workout
The next time you meet someone new, practice this technique. You can even
deliberately put yourself in a situation where you are meeting new people. In a few minutes or less you will remembering names and making new connections.
The technique is simple. Just Care and S.A.V.E.
Experts tell us that the number one reason we don’t remember names is
that we don’t make it a priority. Genuinely care about the other person
and see them as worth remembering their name. Focus on the persona and
make remembering their name a priority.
2. Say it. When someone tells you their name, repeat it back to them. “Nice to meet you, Susana.“
Ask about the name – how it is spelled, pronunciation, preferred name (ex. Jim or James), origin, etc. In the appropriate situation, ask for a business card so you can glance at the name periodically. If you’ve already forgotten it, ask them to repeat it.
Create associations between the name and things they tell you about themselves (”Paul likes to paint.”) or between name and something in your experience (”David – I had a roommate named David”). You can also create mental pictures, create rhymes (”Jane has a cane.”), use alliteration (”Mark manages marketing.”), etc.
Use their name periodically throughout the conversation. Don’t overuse it. Close the conversation with their name. “It was nice talking with you, Alejandro.”
If you like, you can practice this on somebody you already know and who you trust not to laugh at you (laughing with you is okay). Just tell them what you are doing. It only takes a few minutes and most real friends will be glad to help.
Giving credit where credit is due, this technique was developed from the work of Jim Kwik, Colin Rose, and Benjamin Levy.