Question: Hey, Bob, I loved the start of this discussion on connecting. I struggle with remembering names. Do you have some tips for that would help? Jim, Olathe, KS
BOB: Glad you asked, Jim. I do.
Remembering names is a critical skill – especially your own! Seriously, everyone appreciates those who remember their name and, of course, we all want others to remember our name. A time-proven way to remember a name is to train yourself to form a mental word-picture of the name. For example, you meet a fellow named Bill Fisher. You then form a mental picture of, say, a big duck bill holding a big fish (only be sure not to call him “Big Duck Fish” the next time you meet).
We can also train ourselves to be proactive about teaching others to remember our name. Consider the following vital aspects of effective name teaching:
Be repetitious: e.g. “Hello, the name is Bond…James Bond.”
Be articulate: A common error is to pronounce both names as if they were one: “Hi, my name is Horatioalger” instead of “My name is Alger, Horatio…Alger.”
Be unforgettable: Come up with a tagline relating to your name that will be remembered, e.g. “Hello, my name is Fred Gunn (with two ‘n’s) and I am loaded!” Note: Fred avoids using this tag line at AA. meetings and when going through airport security.
Be selective: Do you want the other person to remember your first name or your last name? Whichever it is, give them additional information about that name, e.g. “The name on my birth certificate is actually Montezuma, but my friend’s call me Monty.”
Be designing: Design a way to teach the connection between your name and your business, e.g. “My name is Payne, and I specialize in Payne-less dentistry.”
Be animated: If you appear to be nonchalant or bored and are just going through the motions, the other person will get the message. Keep in mind that this may well be a Million-Dollar Moment in the making.
Be helpful: If your name comes from a different culture, is difficult to pronounce, or is hyphenated, be ready with additional help.
Your new acquaintances need all the help you can give them to remember your name. However, in spite of your best efforts they will often forget what you have taught them, so never assume they’ve got it down. Trade business cards and look for additional opportunities to reinforce your name in their thinking. For example, sending them an email relating to something you talked about will often cement your name – and business – in their memory.
BOB’s Challenge: Make a New Year’s resolution (even though you’ll be a bit tardy) to be proactive about learning the name one new person every day – and be sure to teach them your name at the same time. Also, recruit a friend and 1) practice forming a vivid word picture of each other’s names and 2) practice all seven aspects of effective name teaching (especially #3 and #5).