Do you remember faces but forget names? Have you ever avoided saying “hello” to someone because you forgot their name? I mean, literally, turned your head to pretend you don’t see that person, so you can avoid having to admit you forgot their name?
We all feel gawdawful about it when we forget people’s names. We all grew up with Dale Carnegie telling us that to get people to like us and be successful, we had to remember peoples’ names. And we had to use them a lot.
Well, we failed, didn’t we! “Dale!! I can’t do it! I can’t get people to like me & I’ll never be successful!” sniffle, sniffle, wail, wail.
Almost nobody remembers names.
That’s not me; actually, I remember names because I have an insane auditory memory. But I cannot remember your face to save my life.
So I tell people this when I meet them sometimes. “It’s so great meeting you; you’re awesome, but if I see you in the supermarket, I may walk right by because I don’t remember faces.”
And do you want to know what the response is 100% of the time?
“I don’t remember names.”
OK, so, I just got through telling you I have a bizarre disorder where I can’t see faces, and you tell me you can’t remember names?
Many human characteristics went into my design for making small talk, and this is one of them. People like to talk about themselves. And that’s OK; let’s just use it to our benefit.
Yes, successful people remember names and make others feel good.
You know the guy who has an incredible executive presence. He always knows what to say. Or the woman who is so compelling every time she opens her mouth to speak, everyone immediately stops to listen.
They’ve practiced the techniques to be engaging and magnetic. And they’ve practiced remembering names. But they don’t always remember names. So let’s look at some techniques to dealing with that situation.
People forget names all the time! But don’t avoid talking to someone. Networking is alive and well despite co-veeeed. It’s necessary for your success.
4 Steps to turn "forgetting names" into a positive:
1. Walk up to the person smiling, and offer your hand to shake and shake firmly (not like a dead fish but don’t break his/her hand either).
2. Greet them warmly with a remembrance of when you met: “Hi! Good to see you! “That was a great party/meeting,” or “How was your daughter’s confirmation?” or “We had a great conversation when I met you last!” Along those lines. You get it.
Look, Dale Carnegie was right. We do have to make people feel good when we communicate with them. But it’s not 1936 anymore! We encounter thousands and thousands of more people now than we ever did. So don’t beat yourself up.
And there are lots of ways to make people feel good. And soon you’ll know their name, and you’ll use it to a fare-thee-well.
I guarantee you they forgot your name, too.
3. They probably forgot your name too. Frequently, and with luck, at this point, the person will probably say, I’m so sorry; I am so bad with names I forgot yours. You reply with, “Not a problem at all! These things don’t bother me. My name is Monica. And yours? (with a cheeky smile.)
Now you’ve got some fodder for small talk. Anything’s better than talking about the weather.
4. Before leaving your new friend, say, “If you forget my name again, come right up to me! Have no fear. I don’t mind if you forget my name as long as you enjoy my company.” Or something like that.
But I’ve almost never met a person who doesn’t tell me they forget names. Maybe 8 in all the folks I’ve met! People tell me that they don’t remember names all the time
Ask around. It’s a great conversation starter.
And this way you can make a pact that if you forget that persons’ name you won’t e afraid to tell them and you promise not to avoid them.
How to remember names
1. When you meet someone for the first time, shake their hand (when you shake hands, the soft spot between your thumb & index finger should touch) and make eye contact with a smile on your face.
2. Whilst shaking hands, say the person’s name. Often once someone says their name, we just go and say ours. But it doesn’t work like that. Repeat their name.
Here’s the scenario: Guy comes up to you while shaking hands says, “Jean. Jean Blanco.” You say, “Jean Blanco. Jean Blanco. A pleasure to meet you.”
Then you say your name. Use their name a few times during the conversation.
3. Now you can say, Jean, I’m terrible at names! When I see you again, and I forget your name, can I still say hello?” Jean, of course, will laugh and say yes. You have brought your relationship to a much more relaxed place than it would’ve been.
4 you can do pneumonic devices for remembering names. Think about what the name means to you, or think about what it rhymes with. If you have to keep a notebook and write the names down, do it. By the 3rd time you meet, you should have it down pat. Pat?
Stop beating yourself up for not remembering names.
Remember, it’s all about the relationship. Work on making other people feel good; there are lots of ways to do this.