In his famous book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie says, “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
When you meet someone new, how often do you have an entire conversation with that person, learn a ton of information about them, their family, job, interests, likes and dislikes, and then go to leave, only to forget their name?
It happens. But it shouldn’t.
If you find this happening to you, it’s most likely because you’re too worried about what YOU are feeling, thinking, or going to say, and not what the other person has said to you.
Follow these five habits, and you’ll never forget someone’s name again:
1. Repeat it back to them
Simple enough. You stick out your hand, say your name. They say theirs back. You say, “Nice to meet you, John.”
2. Ask them how it’s spelled
This one doesn’t work all the time, especially if they have a common name where it would be really awkward to ask.
For instance, my wife’s name is Jessica, so no one ever asks her how to spell her name. However, people always ask me if my name is spelled with one T or two. That one works well.
3. Say it to yourself three times
Repeating their name to yourself three times helps ingrain it into your brain, and it also forces you to focus on it, and not on what you’re going to say or ask next.
4. Introduce them to someone
Often times, we meet people at social gatherings where others are around as well. This is a perfect example where if you don’t remember someone’s name, and there’s an opportunity to make an introduction, you just downright look bad by not remembering their name.
5. Use it in conversation
This is to be used sparingly. We’ve all seen people that go to conferences or read a book on sales, and you can tell they’re trying WAY too hard to execute key fundamentals they just learned.
However, using a person’s name 2-3 times in a 10-minute conversation is not overkill at all.
Commit to the process outlined above, and you’ll never walk away from a first-encounter blanking on the person’s name. You’ll separate yourself from the rest, leave a solid first impression, and create a habit that will benefit you for years to come.
What are your best tips for remembering people’s names? Feel free to comment with thoughts and feedback below.
Bret Barrie was a Hall-of-Fame and President’s Club-winning sales rep and is a top-producing sales leader in the medical device industry. He is also the author of The Selling Edge: How to Reach the Top in any Sales Industry. A baseball enthusiast and fitness junkie, he is happily married with three children and lives in the greater Sacramento area. For more information, visit bretbarrie.com.