As we move toward the peak of holiday season, there seems to be more and more gatherings to attend. This means more and more people to meet and names to remember. Don’t get me wrong, holiday functions are a great place to build your network, but the task of keeping everyone you meet straight can be a bit daunting. Here are a few tips to help train your brain to remember the people you meet:
1. Repeat the person’s name after he/she says it. For example, “Hi, Taylor. It’s nice to meet you. I’m Sara.” Easy enough, right?
2. After the introduction, “write” the name on your leg. I don’t mean you should grab a pen and actually write on yourself, but it is helpful to trace the name subtly using your finger on your leg. If you feel awkward doing this, visualize yourself writing the name on paper or simply spell it in your head. This will help make a stronger correlation between the name and the face, so next time you see the person you can greet them confidently with a, “Hi, Taylor! It’s great to see you again!”
3. Use the name at least a couple times in the conversation. It’s easy to do this by working the name into a question like, “Taylor, what type of business are you in?” or “What type of business are you in, Taylor?” To help make the person more memorable, try using open-ended questions that will spark more personalized responses, making Taylor easier for you to recall later. Just remember, to avoid coming off as insincere, don’t overuse the name. Just use it as it seems natural and appropriate.
4. Capitalize on an opportunity to introduce Taylor. If a co-worker of yours comes and joins your conversation say, “Hi Judy, do you know Taylor?” This approach shows that you’ve been listening and have taken interest in both people.
Since it’s almost inevitable that the moment will come when you see someone you’ve met before and don’t remember his/her name. Don’t panic. When you greet each other simply say, “Hi! It’s great seeing you again!” It may even be appropriate to say, “I’m sorry, but I’m having a memory lapse and can’t recall your name,” depending on the situation. This acknowledges that you remember meeting in the past while prompting a re-introduction. Chances are they’ll appreciate your honesty.