5 tips for remembering names in business situations
The ability to remember names is an important skill in the business world, and can mean the difference between standing out amongst your peers or blending in as just another PR girl. There are few moments in life more uncomfortable than standing next to someone you know you have met and not being able to recall his or her name. Memorizing the names and titles of the people you meet at networking events, people from different departments within your organization, media contacts, your clients, or even your boss’ youngest child, can create a lasting impression and make you stand out from your competition.
Plenty of business deals or pitches have been stalled because of someone’s inability to remember the right name at the right time. In the world of PR, it could even cost you an entire account or client. And in an industry based on interactions and communication, not remembering names makes it challenging to build relationships, and even more challenging to create successful campaigns or projects.
Being able to use someone’s name in a face-to-face situation can help you build good rapport and will make you come across as confident and authoritative. Having a good memory is a skill that can be acquired; here are a few simple tips to help you along the way!
Repeat the person’s name out loud immediately after being introduced
One of the best tricks for remembering names is to repeat the person’s name as soon as possible after your introduction. “So nice to meet you, Susan,” or “Karen, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” can add to the conversation and be a non-obvious way of making sure you memorize that name. Repeat his or her name throughout the conversation to really make it stick in your memory, just make sure it naturally flows in the conversation and you don’t overdo it.
Repeat the person’s name silently
As you continue your conversation, repeat the person’s name silently in your head a few times. This will help you connect a face to a name, which is one of the best tricks to remembering a person’s name. As you’re repeating their name in your head, make sure you show that you are still listening by continuing to provide nonverbal cues and interest in what they are saying.
Write it down!
As knowledgeable and experienced PR girls, we know it’s essential to keep a pad of paper and pen on hand at all times. Take advantage of your preparation by quickly jotting down the person’s name during your introduction. Just make sure that you aren’t constantly glancing down at the paper every time you address that person, and the written name will be a helpful tool during your conversation and beyond.
Associate the name with information you learn during your interaction
As you talk to a person, listen for facts or information that stick out in your mind as interesting. Maybe Susan likes singing, or Karen enjoys kayaking. Connect their name with these interesting hobbies, their job title, their favorite food, or anything they talk about that will instantly make their name click in your head the next time you see them in the hallway or at a press event.
Just ask! Many times, we are so focused on our own role in the conversation or what we should say or ask next, that we forget to focus on the person we are conversing with. If you suddenly draw a blank, simply ask for someone to repeat his or her name. As embarrassing as it sounds, it’s better to get it out there, rather than leave the conversation not knowing whom it was you just spoke with, and ending up in the same predicament next time you see them!