Culture, How To's

What’s in a name?


From our earliest moments, hearing our name is profound.

It’s a sweet sound. It’s the most basic of human interactions. It’s part of our social fabric across the planet. Everyone has a name. So why do we botch this most basic step time and time again?

You know that feeling when you scramble your brain to find someones name just in time for them to walk past you and the moment is lost. Missed opportunity. Or worse, they come up to you and remember YOUR name and you stumble around like an idiot and can’t introduce them to your boss. Majorly missed opportunity.

If someone says, “I swear, I’m just horrible at names.” This translates to, “I don’t care enough about you to remember your name. Your most personal and basic trait.” Don’t let this happen.

Remembering people’s name is a skill you must master in life. I dare say, it is imperative for your future success professionally and personally. So how do you get there? How do you practice and improve your name recall?

Hello my name is stickers

Like anything else, you can train your brain and come up with a method for transferring names into your long term memory. Here are a few I like:

Make it a game

  • Turn people’s name into a rhyme. Like, Dayna Neumann. Dayna is a pain-a because her Neumann is so annoying.
  • Attach a silly reference based on where or when you met them (this is a Dale Carnegie technique called Memory Linking).

Attach something meaningful to their name like a number or phrase

  • If you meet a person with the name Brenda Bentley, it has 2 B’s and she loves the way the bees buzz buzz.
  • Especially if you are a numbers person, turning their name into a number combination may be just the trick for your brain.

Repeat their name

  • When they say, “Hi, I’m Jared Nickerboker, nice to meet you.” You say, “Hi Jared!! The pleasure is all mine. I’m Dayna Neumann.”
  • It transfers the name to your long term memory and allows you to hear their name again.

Look ‘em in the eye

  • Committing their name to memory takes focus. If you look them in the eye while you are being introduced you are more likely to maintain focus and remember their name.

Whatever your technique, whatever you need to do, remember people’s names. You will find a world of opportunity open up to you. People will trust you. You will feel better about yourself. And you will spare yourself that sweaty anxiety of forgetting someone’s name when you see them at your next event.

P.S. – If you must, have your backup plan firmly in place. Discreetly ask a friend or someone in your group for an assist if you can’t recall a name. But save yourself the humiliation and practice remembering names. It’s the first step toward Total World Domination!

Dayna Neumann

boundless. curious. renegade. founder @ execuity

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