The squirrel pictured here is a great example of how we all need to feel important. He pops into the photo as if to say: Hey! Pay attention to me! He might as well add – and while you’re at it, remember my name. That would make me feel important too.
Studies show that a person’s first name is their favorite word to hear. So, it makes sense that you will more easily connect with someone if you remember and use their name.
Have ever met someone and within 30 seconds you can’t remember their name? Have you ever been placed in a group of people for introductions and you are so focused on what you are going to say about yourself, that you don’t remember one single name that has been shared?
If bad name remembering is a problem for you, you aren’t alone. In fact, most of us will admit that we are terrible at remembering names. Yet, the power of using a first name and using it is huge. Remembering a name makes the interaction personal. It makes the person feel like they are important enough for you to remember their name.
It makes sense to conclude that a very easy change that you can take to improve your communication skills and build rapport is to figure out how to remember people’s names!
Here are 4 easy techniques that will help you overcome bad name remembering:
1. Don’t tell yourself and others that you are bad at remembering names!
That will certainly be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Our brains will listen to that message and we will believe it. On the other side, do tell yourself that you can remember names. Your brain will work on that message instead!
2. Listen to a name and then say it out loud three times.
When you meet someone, or see someone whose name you want to remember, repeat his or her name immediately, then use it three times right away.
Nice to meet you, Betty.
So, Betty, what do you do here?
Thank you, Betty.
You can get more creative than that example and have a lot more fun with it. But, the bottom line is that it works! When you repeat a name, you give your brain some clues that you want the information stored longer term, and weeks or even months later you can pull the stored name up fairly quickly.
3. Align the person whose name you want to remember with something.
Say the person’s name and make a descriptive statement about it out loud.
For example, say:
Betty, I love your red coat. It matches your hair color!
This gives your brain more data to sort and store, making retrieval easier at a later date. The longer your brain gets to process the information you are giving it, as in giving more details and specifics, the better.
4. Try rhyming.
For example: Betty, rhymes with Freddie, who is my crazy neighbor.
Again, this gives your brain a chance to work for you, putting information together that will later give you some clues to help you remember.
And, once you have the name figured out — use it! Sprinkle it in the conversation. People love the sound of their name and will stay better focused on you and what you have to say.
Small communication steps, like using someone’s name, can make a huge difference! Try it and watch what happens!
___________Betty Lochner is the Owner and President of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home.