I remember when I went into Tiffany and Company in Beverly Hills, one summer in August. I was with my two kids Matthew and Anna after a day at the beach. I wanted to look into getting my wife Elisa a pendant for her birthday which was in October. The store was the one in “Pretty Woman”, right across the street from the Beverly Wilshire on Rodeo Drive. I was in shorts and a tee shirt, not really looking like the ideal client. I got some help, explained that I was not going to buy anything at the moment but would come back and get it closer to my wife’s birthday. Two months later I went back and the clerk said ‘Hello Mr. Johnson”. I said to myself, there is no way that I am not going to get that pendant now. She remembered my name. She made an effort to remember my name which demonstrated to me that she cared. She made a great impression on me and I wanted to give her my business.
Dale Carnegie said it best when he said “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language’. So here are four tips I use to remember people’s names.
- Number one is that I focus 100% of my attention on the person I am meeting and listen to their name. If I did not hear it clearly, I will ask them again one more time.
- Number two is that I repeat their name in conversation, beyond just meeting them. I try to use their name in the conversation if possible. Even if only to say, “it was nice to meet you Clyde.” That is better than nothing.
- Number three is that I create an association for their name. I use some mechanism to remember the name, a rhyme, thinking about someone I know with the same name, or I link the name to an image that can trigger my memory. For example, I work out at 5:00 in the morning at the Bay Club in Manhattan Beach. I see the same people all the time. I have made a commitment to remember their names because I see them three to four times a week. There is Dan the man, cup of Joe, Marky Mark, Frank the Tank, I like Mike, George of the Jungle, Peg leg Craig. You get the idea.
- Number four is that, if I forget someone’s name, I ask them for their name again. I found that this is safer to ask them for their name again rather than not being able to remember it and being embarrassed.
I have met countless people that have said “I am just not that good at remembering names”. It seems like a lot of work to get good at it but the work is worth the effort. You know the feeling you get when someone remembers your name. They feel the same way when you remember theirs. What to do? When you meet somebody, give them 100% of your attention, use their name in conversation, create a way to remember their name, and, if you forget their name, it’s okay to ask. The time is now!