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We've all experienced it. That awkward, uncomfortable moment when you've forgotten someone's name. You've heard it once or twice before, been introduced by a friend or co-worker, but now, when you need to remember it most, it's simply vanished from your memory. For some of us, remembering names is a seemingly impossible feat. But the good news is that there are a few tips and tricks that can make these uncomfortable moments a thing of the past (or, at least, greatly decrease their frequency).
The first step to remembering someone's name it to focus when being introduced to them. When meeting someone for the first time, be completely present. Shut out any outside distractions or conversations, if possible. Position your body to face theirs completely, extend your hand for a hand shake, keep eye contact, smile and be listen. It may seem simple, but many people fail to truly listen and be in the moment when being introduced to others.
Repeat the Name
Repetition breeds memorization. Try to repeat your new acquaintance's name a few times throughout your conversation. A perfect time to repeat that name is immediately upon hearing it. Saying something like, "It's really nice to meet you, Mike" sounds natural and goes a long way in helping solidify your memory of the name. Try working that name in a couple more times throughout the conversation. Try not to sound forced as this could create a negative first impression.
Learn About the Person
The more details your can learn about someone, the more information you have to associate with their name. Once you learn that John plays on his company baseball team, you have more details to store in your mind than just a name. Taking interest in someone as a person help make them more three dimensional in your mind and increases your likelihood of remembering his name. As a bonus, you'll also have a talking point for your next encounter. Being able to ask John about his team's record for the season is a great way to solidify a positive relationship.
Create an image in your mind. Include the person whose name you wish to remember and anything that might help you to do so. For instance, when you meet Alice, you could imagine her in Wonderland. Fill the scene with details. Put Alice's dress on her. Imagine her at a tea party with The Mad Hatter. By painting an elaborate scene in your head, you're almost guaranteed to remember Alice's name next time you meet her. Remember, these details are just for you to remember someone's name. Be careful to not confuse your fictional story with real-life details about the person.
Get it in Writing
There are many different options to get someone's name in writing or print. When networking, ask for a business card from people you meet. After the conversation, take a moment to jot down a few details about the person or your conversation on the business card to help you remember. If you weren't given a business card, do the same on a piece of paper or napkin. Not only will you have the name for later, but the act of writing also increases your odds of remembering it down the road. Another option is to ask the person to program his name and contact information into your phone. Assess each situation to determine the most appropriate method.
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