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How to Avoid the Awkward Moment When You Forget Someone’s Name

April 13, 2012

Dale Carnegie Win Friends Influence PeopleDale Carnegie, author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” said that a person’s name is the “sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

Whether in a business networking situation or a friendly party, being able to remember people’s names is an important skill for your career and your social life.

Here are a few tips for cementing those names in your memory so that you never have to be embarrassed again:

Use Their Name Right Away

As soon as someone introduces themselves to you, try to use their name naturally in the conversation as soon as possible. For example, if they say, “Hello, I’m Peter,” you can say “Nice to meet you Peter, I’m John.”

This solidifies the name in your mind and associates it with them, before it slips away out of your memory. If you can, try to call them by their name a few times in the conversation to reinforce the name in your mind.

Only do this if it comes naturally however, because they might think you are strange if you say their name too many times.

Make an Association

Another way to hold the name in your mind is to associate it with a physical characteristic of the person. For example, if you meet a guy with red hair named Ted or a really tall woman named Samantha you can repeat “Red Head Ted” or “Six Foot Sam” in your mind when you want to remember their name.

Make sure that you choose a characteristic such as eye color, size, hair color, or a facial feature rather than clothing or accessories because “Purple Sweater Pat” might not be wearing the same sweater next time you meet her.

Be careful not to say these physical attribute nicknames out loud, because others might find them offensive.

Write it Down

If you are at a conference or a networking event where you are meeting lots of different people, you can make notes on a small notepad or on the “Notes” function of your phone to help you remember names.

Write the person’s name down and a few details about them such as what they do for a living, what they look like, and how you met them.

Remembering names can seem difficult, but if you try these easy tricks you will avoid the awkwardness and be able to greet people by the right name every time!

 

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