Saturday, August 29, 2009

Getting and using names with the FACE method

Benjamin Levy (shown in the photo) in his book "Remember Every Name Every Time" describes two techniques for getting and remembering names. He uses acronyms to remember the techniques and the first techniques is called the FACE technique.

FACE stands for the four essential steps in the process of remembering names and faces: Focus, Ask, Comment and Employ. Levy says that if you 'follow these four simple steps and you will never again say, five minutes after meeting, "What was that guy's name?".

In this article I will give a summary of the FACE technique. However I highly recommend you buy Levy's book as it is a complete name remembering course.

1. Focus

This is the phase where you can you do some preparation. If you are attending a conference or you have access to a guest list, read through the list and look at the names. Familiarising yourself with names will prepare you for the actual introduction.

It is very important to have the attitude and interest when you meet strangers. Be genuinely interested in knowing their names and getting to know them. Don't take the attitude that the meeting is not important because you will probably never see them again.

Levy writes, "The wonderful thing about meeting strangers is that you never know if the next one is going to have a profound impact on the rest of your life. Assume value! That's why you should approach each new meeting as an opportunity for career advancement, every stranger as a potential benefactor".

When you do meet the person be focused on the person you are about to meet. Don't worry about trying to make a good impression or think what clever, witty thing you are going to say. When you shake hands with the person, get your name out quickly so you can concentrate on the name you are going to remember.

I find that when the person doing the introduction is a bit slow at saying my name (maybe they have forgotten my name!) I help out by saying "Hello, my name is Charles." Usually the person will respond promptly with "Hello, my name is ... ".

Never let go of the handshake until you have got the name, and never commit the sin of looking around to seeing if there is anyone more important, attractive, or interesting than the person you are meeting.

2. Ask

Now that you have focused on hearing the name and you are positive you heard it correctly, it's crucial to ask to hear it again anyway. This can confirm you didn't mistake hearing Tom for Don, or Julia instead of Julie.

Getting the other person to say their name also helps reinforce the name in this phase of remembering. You can confirm the name by repeating it back, "Robert?". If you are still unsure, you can make up an excuse about yourself to ask the person to repeat the name. For example, "I'm sorry, my hearing is not the best. Did you say Robert?".

Just make sure you have heard the name correctly and to imprint it into your short term memory. In the next step, you will elaborate on the name to make it become a more permanent memory.

Now that you have the name, it is time to ask some questions about the name. The answers will help make the name more memorable by giving you more information to make lasting associations.

Levy writes, "It is a delicate art, asking people about their names: there's a fine line between sounding curious and sounding like a stalker. Be careful to keep your tone light, not urgent."

People are usually flattered when you ask about their names as it shows you are interested. There are all sorts of questions you can ask:

- Clarify the spelling, for example Catherine .. is that a C or a K?
- Stephen. Is that spelt with "ph" (Stephen) or "v" (Steven)
- Do you like being called Robert, or do you shorten it to Rob or Bob?
- Is Ann short for anything? My friend Annaliese now likes to be
called Ann.

Note how each of these questions uses the person's name and this helps make the name more permanent in your memory.

3. Comment

Our memories are built up by associating new information with information we have stored already. The goal of this phase is to make some comments about the person's name. Perhaps the name reminds you of someone famous, or a friend or family member. I used to work with an Elizabeth Taylor (it was her married name) and she told me the comments she got when introduced. "I suppose your husband is Richard Burton?".

Become interested in names and build up a mental encyclopedia of name facts. Look at the names of actors, actresses, sports men and women, politicians and world leaders. Collecting names and facts is a fascinating pastime. When you meet someone, say that you have bene reading a blog about remembering names and you would like to learn more about their name!

4. Employ

Now that you know the name, use it in the conversation, but be careful not to overdo it. A good way to use the name is to introduce the person to someone else. if yo are at a cocktail party, you could say "Can I get you another drink, Julie?".

When you finish speaking with the person, make sure you use the name at the end of your conversation: "Well, it was great meeting you Julie".

Levy's summary from the book:

The essentials of maintaining FOCUS:
- Be prepared
- Assume value
- Focus on the other person, not yourself

Reasons for ASKING:
- Confirm that you heard the name pronounced correctly.
- Clarify the spelling
- Discriminate between the full name and its diminutive.
- Ask for more information - flattery will get you everywhere

COMMENT in order to:
- Categorise
- Cross-reference
- Connect

Try to EMPLOY the other person's name in any one of four ways:
- When possible, make the other person's name the topic of your initial conversation
- use it once in the course of talking
- Introduce the person to others
- Say goodbyte using the name

Every time you see a new face, think FACE.

In the next article I will introduce the NAME method for storing these names in your long term memory.

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