A long time ago I first understood the power of the Dale Carnegie quote:
“A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
Although remembering names isn’t directly a contributor to developing mental toughness it certainly helps with self confidence and in building rapport when using someone’s name effectively but sparingly in conversation.
Instantly remembering names when meeting people again on the street or at a function can be tricky and although I can get away with ‘mate’ at the Sunday BBQ it obviously doesn’t work with a female contact at a client briefing.
More recently, after stumbling on a few names, I now more consciously use word association techniques, or ‘mnemonics’, to assist in memorising names but I am always looking for more effective suggestions.
I currently use three simple approaches when meeting new people:
1. Focus on finding out your name
On meeting you for the first time I’m consciously focused on finding out your name as soon as I can, either through asking you, listening for an introduction or reading your nametag.
2, Repetition of your name
Once I learn your name then I am internally repeating it to myself for 30-60 seconds to commit it to memory. If I’m looking pretty vacant just after I have met you that is probably the reason!
3. Word association
Once I have remembered your name I then try to create a link between your face, your name and a word or visual association to the two that I can then also remember and hopefully instantly recall. This association can be anything – sport – music – literature – history – nursery rhymes but for me its most likely to be a location that ether rhymes or somehow relates to your name – Jane could be Spain, Bill a hill, Phillip a map of Port Phillip bay off Melbourne and so on.
Usually, but not always, if I can recall your first name then your family name will easily follow in my memory, although since I know a lot of Andrews, Toms and Nicks the association could be family name first.
Can you help? Do you have effective mnemonics techniques that you use and can recommend?