Once upon a time, I wasn’t so bad with names. Back in high school, a friend could introduce me to ten people at once and I would instantly remember their names. Perhaps because all I wanted was to meet new people and I could have cared less what they thought about me, or how I looked while I was in front of them, or whether I said something stupid.
How often have we said the excuse, “I’m terrible with names!”? The problem isn’t usually poor memory; this is normally because of poor listening, lack of attention, and perhaps an inner dialogue going on with you at the time. When you’re at a company party and you’re expected to mingle and memorize several strangers’ names at once, here are just some ways so you don’t go whispering to your friend, “Who was that guy again?”.
4. Focus on the person you are meeting for the first time.
Whether one of you initiated the introduction or someone else is introducing both of you, put all your attention on the person you are meeting at once. This psyches your brain into storing this information into long-term memory.
3. Repeat their name after they’ve said it.
Whether it’s something like, “Paul, wow that’s a great name!” or even just “Mark, it’s nice to meet you”, repetition makes you store new information better.
2. Associate their name with a striking feature of theirs.
Link their name to a feature of theirs that strikes you very quickly — whether it’s the color of their eyes, or their outfit, or even the gestures they make, so you immediately associate them with that the moment you try to jog your memory afterwards. Striking people make an impression on us and are hard to forget, so any attempt to make them memorable to you at all would help.
1. End the conversation with their name.
When wrapping up the introduction, end the conversation with their name, such as, “It was lovely to meet you, Joyce”, as it makes for added repetition. If possible, you may ask for a business card afterwards.
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