(This is Part 2 in the Now You Can series. Read Part 1 here.)
Here’s a good life skill that’s easy to improve: remembering names. If you’re a person who says, “I’m just not good at remembering peoples’ names after I’ve been introduced”, allow me to push back. It could be that you’re just not good at wanting to remember their names.
If You Want to Remember Their Names…
If you remember to want to remember their names, you’ll have a much better chance at actually remembering them, so here are a few ideas I’ve picked up and practiced over time that really seem to work.
- Go into a situation with some intentionality. “I want to remember the names of the person or people I’m about to meet.”
- When you hear their name, ask them to spell it out loud. Or spell it yourself out loud and ask if that’s how they do it. “Is that M-A-R-S-H-A or M-A-R-C-I-A?” No matter how simple the name is, clarify the spelling. Explain, “I know, it’s funny that I ask that, but it really helps me to remember people’s names.” People really respect that because it shows humility on your part, and it establishes common ground, because everyone wants to improve this skill.
- Look at them, and rehearse their name mentally, in your mind. “Fred. Fred. It’s Fred. F-R-E-D. Fred.” Say it a time or two out loud as you meet them, but, above all else, rehearse.
- Signal in advance that you may be asking again, and don’t hesitate to do so. “You know, I really do want to remember your name, so I apologize in advance if I have to ask you again.” That’ll draw a chuckle. Even if it’s at a subsequent meeting, at another time and another place, don’t hesitate to ask again. If you need to say, “I’m a little embarrassed. I know we were introduced, but your name is escaping me.”
A little bit of intentionality will go a long way. You will be more confident, others will feel affirmed, and you may be on the way to a meaningful connection. Easy peasy.