You’re meeting a business contact for the second or even third time. You remember all kinds of details about them, but their name escapes you. This all-to-common situation can be terribly embarrassing, and it might even cause you to lose a business or networking opportunity. To sidestep this issue, check out these tricks for remembering names.
Get Help From a Friend
"What’s their name?" is a simple question you might need to outsource. Consider waiting until the business contact to leaves the room and ask a friend what their name is. You can also slip out of the room to find someone who knows. Getting help is better than admitting you forgot someone’s name.
Request a Business Card
If they’ve already introduced themselves, you can get around the name issue by asking for a business card. You might say something like, "I’d love to connect again. Do you have a business card?" Then, you’ll have their name and all their other details in the palm of your hand.
Ask for a Story
So, what’s this story behind your name? When you ask this question, your business contact might share the funny or endearing tale behind their name, and and say their name as part of the story. You can also ask how to spell their name, but use the question sparingly. It works perfectly when their name is a variation of Alyssa, Kristin, or Braeden, but it might seem odd if their name is Sam or Susan.
It never hurts to apologize or admit that you’re "bad" with names and reintroduce yourself. Then, ask the person to remind you of their name. But this time, you might take an extra step to remember it like writing it down on your note pad.
If you’re like most people, you’re probably distracted when you meet someone in a business setting for the first time. You’re focusing on other things happening in the room and your just brain glosses over names. Here’s how you turn this around: When someone introduces themselves to you, pause and make sure to focus. Look them in the eye, shake their hand, and repeat their name.
Create a Mnemonic Device
When someone introduces themselves to you, take a moment to think of a mnemonic device. Some people use rhymes such as "Tall Paul" or "Flow-y Chloe," while others prefer alliteration with hints such as "accountant Annie" or "Texas Tom." Alternatively, try anchoring the person’s name to a memorable detail about them. For instance, if someone has the same name as your aunt, you may think to yourself, "she has hair like my aunt Rachel, and her name is Rachel."
Whether you’re dealing with potential clients, employees, or colleagues, knowing their names can help build relationships early on. Consider practising various tricks to remember names, because remembering the name of someone you just met is a skill. The more you practice, the fewer mishaps and embarrassing situations you’ll have.