Saturday, August 29, 2009

Associating a Name with a Facial Feature

Nominate Articulate Morph Entwine

In the previous blog post I wrote about the FACE method which has the goal of ensuring you get a person's name and remember it after the meeting.

But what happens when you are introduced to groups of people? This is a common scenario in business meetings or at a cocktail party. You won't have time to use the FACE method. This article describes Benjamin Levy's NAME method for associating a person's name with a facial feature. When you next see the person, the face will remind you immediately of the name!

A big challenging of remembering names is they are not inherently memorable. What images come to mind when you try to memorise Dave, Steve, Sue, Jenny, Louis, and Alan? The challenge then is to make names become memorable. This is done by morphing the name into something memorable. But more about that later.

The basis of the NAME method is converting the name to something memorable, then associating it with a prominent facial feature.

The four steps of NAME are Nominate, Articulate, Morph and Entwine:

1. Nominate

When you meet someone for the first time, look carefully at the face and pick out a feature. Maybe it is the feature that grabbed your attention when you first saw the person. But make sure you don't pick a feature that could change such as hair, glasses or jewellery.

Become aware of facial features. Look at the person's eyes, eyebrows, nose, lips, facial structure, ears, and chin.

2. Articulate

Once you have identified the feature, silently Articular precisely what you observed. This confirms your full devotion and attention to the feature you have nominated.

Over time you will develop an awareness of the structure and appearance of the human face, and a useful vocabulary for describing faces. As you observe people in public places, practice identifying a feature and describing it silently to yourself.

3. Morph

Names have no inherent meaning which makes then difficult to remember. In this stage we morph, or transform the name into something which sounds similar but memorable. For example, "Sam" sounds like "SPAM". "Geoff" sounds like "Chef". Now you can visualise a can of SPAM for Sam, and Chef's hat for Geoff.

It is important to morph the name into a word that has a strong, memorable image, usually a noun.

4. Entwine

Now that we have a strong mental image of the name, and a nominated facial feature, we need to create a memorable association between them. The goal is to create an unforgettable assocation with lots of exaggeration and action. Levy recommends including violent images, and possibly obscene or ludicrous. The mental image is only known to you, so there are no limits to your imagination.

An example of using this system is if you meet a man named David. He has a high forehead. You morph the name David into an image of a STAR OF DAVID. The star is entwined in the forehead maybe the star is very hot and burning into the forehead.

The mother of one of my daughter's classmates is named Ann. I imagined an ant walking across a particular feature of her forehead.


Now you know the NAME method:
  1. Nominate - survey the face, then choose a feature
  2. Articulate - describe the feature so you know it
  3. Morph - names don't have meaning, so change them into something similar with meaning
  4. Entwine - the facial feature and and the morphed name
You will need to practice the NAME method by regularly studying faces. Look at people in shopping centres, restaurants, public transport. Practice face studying at every opportunity! Observe faces closely and be amazed by everyone's uniqueness.

You should use the same morphs for names. I created lists of over 200 male names and 200 female names. These can be downloaded and used as the basis of your own personal name morph list:

Boys names with morph words
Girls names with morph words

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.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Memory Sports web site - how to become a memory champion

I just discovered the Memory Sports web site which focuses on learning techniques for memory competitions. For example, memorising the sequence of a deck of cards, or remembering a long number squence.

Have a look at the Memory Sports web site and be inspired!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

How to develop a Super Power Memory (book review)

How to Develop a Super Power Memory is one of many excellent books by the great memory practictioner, Harry Lorayne. I own three books by Lorayne but I borrowed this book from the library.

Lorayne has demonstrated his methods as a memory entertainer especially his skills in remembering names. This book covers a broad range of memory skills with lots of exercises and practical examples.

He starts by highlighting the importance of observation and says:
"There is no such thing as a bad memory. There are only trained or untrained memories."

Lorayne describes the Link method, Peg system using the Major system, Alphabet Peg system, remembering speeches, articles and anecdotes, playing cards, dates, long numbers, foreign vocabulary and names and faces.

This is a good introduction to many memory systems and is particularly helpful in demonstrating systems for remembering names.

How not to remember a name (humour)

This fellow was very proud of the way he could remember names by association, until he met Mrs Hummock. Mrs Hummock was quite heavy, and had a large stomach, so he decided to use "stomach" as his association.

Three weeks later, he met the same lady, glanced at her stomach, and feeling very pleased with himself, said, "Good day, Mrs Kelley!".

Remembering the digits of Pi

My favourite subjects at school were science and mathematics. I was fascinated by the number "Pi" and how the numbers after the decimal point went on for ever. Pi was my first transcendental number.

Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.

At first I was taught that Pi was approximately equal to 22/7. This is only accurate to two decimal places (3.1428571...)

I learnt a better approximation was 355/113 which was interesting because it has a pattern of repeated odd numbers 113355, split into two (113 and 355) then made into a fraction. It is accurate to sixdecimal places: 3.1415929.

For some reason I memorised Pi to 12 places (3.141592653589) using rote learning. I remembered the sounds and rhythms of saying these letters out loud.

But how can we memorise the numbers using a mnemonic?

A traditional way to remind yourself of the decimals is to use phrases containing word-length mnemonics, where the number of letters in each word corresponds to a digit.

Pi to 6 decimal places:

How I wish I could calculate Pi

This gives Pi as 3.141592

Pi to 14 decimal places:

How I like a drink,
alcoholic of course,
after the heavy lectures involving
quantum mechanics

This gives Pi as 3.14159265358979

And here's a rhyme to 20 decimal places of Pi:

Now, I wish I could recollect pi.
'Eureka,' cried the great inventor.
Christmas Pudding, Christmas Pie,
Is the problem's very centre.

This gives Pi as 3.14159265358979323846

And to 31 decimal places:

Sir, I bear a rhyme excelling
In mystic force, and magic spelling
Celestial sprites elucidate
All my own striving can't relate
Or locate they who can cogitate
And so finally terminate. Finis.

This gives Pi as 3.1415926535897932384626433832795

This useful method of remembering Pi only works up to thirty-one decimal places, unfortunately, because the thirty-second number after the decimal point is 0.

Memorising large sequences of the decimal value of Pi appears to be part of memory competitions. The number sequence is not random, but it can't be predicted. Read more about Pi at Wikipedia

Mathematics is the subject I have studied the most in my life. I have a Bachelor of Science majoring in Pure Mathematics and Computer Science, but since leaving university I have developed interests in many other areas of life.

I highly recommend the film Pi, the 1998 American psychological thriller directed by Darren Aronofsky.

Verses from "I before e (except after c) - old school ways to remember stuff" by Judy Parkinson (c) 2007

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Further techniques for remembering names

My recent article on techniques of remembering a person's name, prompted Bob Madigan in Alaska to send me a detailed insight into his strategy for recalling names. With Bob's permission I am publishing his methods.

Here are a couple of additional thoughts on remembering names based on my experiences using similar techniques. I agree that the best way to learn a person's name is to get an image of the name associated with a feature of the face.

One of the big problems I have is that introductions sometimes occur in busy social situations where a lot is going on. I can find I just don't have the mental horsepower to find a substitute word, identify a facial feature, generate the images and get everything associated in the time available.

I use a flexible strategy that I can adjust depending on the cognitive load I am carrying at the moment.

The top priority is to get the first name and, if possible, the last name. This means, as you point out, attentively listening to the name, repeating it back to the person, and looking carefully at facial features.

If I'm feeling cognitively stretched (maybe another introduction is about to occur or other activities are in play) I will not try to do anything at this point more sophisticated than making sure I bring my attention back to the new person in a few seconds and mentally rehearse the name. If I can just keep hold of the name, I can work out a longer lasting association later.

I find it's helpful to do several more rehearsals after increasing intervals (a minute then five minutes) to make sure the name doesn't escape. Sometimes these rehearsals are enough so I feel I have learned the name without the need for more sophisticated mnemonics. Other times, though, I decide I need more help, so then I work on imagery as my cognitive load permits.

I also really like the imagery technique you mention of associating a first name with a known person and it works well for me. I call this the "shadow technique" because I imagine the other person looking over the shoulder of the person I am introduced to. Now to get the association to last, the shadow and the new person need to interact in some way, but if things are busy, I just make sure I get the shadow in there and then rehearse it soon. I can work out an interaction between the two later as long as I can keep the name.

The substitute word technique is the most sophisticated strategy for me. Sometimes it is easy, but other times it can be hard. I agree with you that it is definitely worth the effort provided you have the time and focus to work it out.

Let me make a couple of quick comments on facial features. I liked your suggestions about features to look for. The best one is the one that hits you first because you want it to be a feature that will pop out next time. When I started working on being better with names and faces, I found that I didn't naturally look at faces very carefully.

Here is an interesting exercise that I found helpful in getting better at it. If you walk in a busy place where people are streaming past you, say a shopping mall or a sidewalk you can practice really seeing faces and doing it quickly. I pick someone walking toward me and look at the person carefully for a second or two with an emphasis on finding a distinctive feature. When I look away, I still have the image of the face. I choose the feature I would use if I were trying to learn the person's name. After 3 or 4 faces, I try to go back and recall the earlier faces with an emphasis on the selected features. I found that I got better at it with practice.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Remembering Given (First) Names

Doctor Bob from The Muppets - my key image for people named Bob

Nowadays it is more common to be dealing with people on a first name basis. The memory books by Harry Lorayne which have been my main reference on memory skills emphasise surnames.

Usually I don't have a problem remembering surnames because they are fairly unique. My big challenge is when I am introduced to a group of people with popular names. Men named Bob, Chris, David, Mike, Rick, Dan, Tony, Terry and Jack. Women named Sue, Julie, June, Sharon, Debbie and Amanda. I know many people with these names, and I find it hard to make the names unique.

There are several techniques for remembering given names, and I will describe two of these methods.

1. Asssociate with someone with the same name

The first method is to picture someone you know well with the same name, then associate that person with the person you are meeting. For example, you could be introduced to a fellow named George. You identify a distinguishing feature of George's face then associate that with George Bush.

A variation on this technique is to imagine the new person doing something associated with the person who shares the same name. For example, there is a fellow at my office named Bob. I have given him the name Doctor Bob after the character in Sesame Street. Nicknames can be useful for remembering names but fraught with danger which I will write about later.

2. Substitute words

The second method for remembering first names is to use a substitute word. These are generally easy to find, for example Harry could be "hairy", Clark could be "clock", Anne is "Ant" and Cate could be a cat.

Eventually you will develop your own collection of substitute words for firstnames - a personal memory dictionary of first names. It is important that the substitute word has meaning for you.
Two popular writers on memory, Benjamin Levy and Kevin Trudeau have supplied lists of substitute words for names which can be used and modified.

Examples of boy's names

Adam - Fig leaf
Alan - Lion
Andrew - Android
Bill - Duck's Bill
Bob - Bobsled
Brian - Brain
Bruce - Bruise
Cameron - Camera
Charles - Chairs
Chris - Christ on the cross
Daniel - Dancer, Dam
Dave - Dive, Diver
David - Star of David
Dennis - Dentist (holding the drill and mirro)
Derek - Derrick (large crane)
Donald - Donald Duck
Douglas - Shovel
Ed - Horse (Mr Ed)
Elliott - Eel Yacht
Eric - Ear-ache
Eugene - Ewe (sheep) wearing jeans
Frank - Frankfurt / Hotdog

Examples of Girl's names

Abigail - Bee in a pail (bucket)
Adeline - A Dandelion
Alice - Lice
Amanda - A man with a panda
Angela - Angel with wings
Anita - Ant-eater
Ann - Ant
Annabel - Ants on a bell
Barbara - Barbed wire
Belinda - Bell in a Window
Claire - Chocolate Eclair
Clara - Clarinet
Claudia - Cloud
Sacha - Red sash tied around the waist

My short-term project is to compile my lists of substitute words for my lists of frequently encountered names. I will publish this when it is complete. I encourage you to think of your own substitute words and write these in the comments.

Associating a name to a face

Drawing by Charles Cave - Carbonico pencil - scanned and post-processed in Gimp

Now that you know how to convert a name into a substitute word, here is the technique for associating the name to the face in such a way that you remember them both.

This technique requires you develop the skill of looking at all the features of a person's face then identifying the one outstanding feature. It could be anything: small eyes, tiny mouth, thick lips, thin lips, high forehead or lines and creases on the forehead.

Pick the feature that is the most outstanding for you. Someone else might choose a different feature. This is not important as the thing that stands out the most to you is what will be most obvious to you when you next meet the person.

You were probably taught as a child that you shouldn't stare because it is rude. In order to remember a face you need to look at the person's features. Make a quick scan of the face. It can be done in a matter of seconds and your observation will not look like staring.

  • Eyes - colour, shade, close or apart?
  • Eyebrows - non-existent, thin, bushy?
  • Nose - length, shape, colour
  • Cheeks - fullness, dimples, colour, cheekbones
  • Mouth and lips - thickness of lips, width
  • Chin - shape, prominent?
  • Head shape - overall impression of shape
  • Hair - colour, length. Hairstyles change so don't rely too much on this! An Indian colleague of mine got his head shaved and when I saw him next I thought he was a new employee
  • Neck - thickness, shape
Cartoonists regularly look for distinguishing features when drawing caricatures. Look at a selection of political cartoons and identify the key feature. A cartoon has an economy of line and shows the essence of a person's appearance.

Once you have a distinguishing facial feature, you are ready to associate it with the name. For example, if Mr Sachs has a very high forehead, you might visualise a lot of sacks falling from his forehead. Mr Hamper might have a big mouth, so imagine his mouth is the entrance to a clothes hamper. Miss Forester has definite lines on her cheeks, so imagine a forest of trees growing out of them. Hopefully you get the picture!

Remembering Surnames

The long term remembering of people's names first requires making the name memorable then associating it with the face. In case you are wondering about the picture of a salmon ... it is my key memory image of a fellow I worked with whose surname is Salmon.

In this article I talk about remembering surnames, and in the next article I show you how to associate the key image with the face.

Surnames can be grouped into two broad categories: Names that mean something and those that don't.

Traditional English names derive from occupations (Baker, Cook, Cooper, Carpenter and Smith), animals (Fish, Fox, Salmon), directions (North, South, East and West) or English words (Ash, Brown, Black, King and Queen). It is quite easy to think of a key image for each of these surnames.

There are names that by themselves don't have meaning but they suggest a strong mental picture. Maybe it is the surname of someone famous or notorious. For example, Todd (I went to school with an Alan Todd) suggests Sweeny Todd (Tim Burton's recent film of Sweeny Todd). Lincoln suggests American president Abraham Lincoln and Keating suggest a former Australian Prime Minister, Paul Keating.

The surnames that don't suggest an image require you to use your imagination to make the surname mean something to you. The technique is to convert the name into something memorable by using substitute words.

No matter how strange the name may sound upon first hearing it, it can be broken down into a substitute word or thought. Simply think of a word or phrase that sounds as much like the name as possible. For example, I used to work with an Indian gentleman with the surname of Venkataraman. This reminded me of the song Day-O by Harry Belafonte: "Come Mister Tallyman, tally me banana". The tally-man reminded me of taraman. After 5 years, I still remember this fellow's name.

Break long names into syllables and see what thoughts and ideas you get. Use whatever you think of first as this is the most memorable image. You can be as silly or as rude as you want. You don't have to tell the person your mental image if you are complemented on your skill at recalling names.

Names such as Cameron suggest a camera, Renard reminds me of a fox, Heath reminds me of the vegetation on the moors of Scotland. McCulloch suggest a brand name of chain saw. The surname of Corneil (not to be confused with Cornell!) suggests a corn cob and a slippery eel.

So what do you do with this key memory image? The next step is associating with something memorable about the face.

Get a person's name in every meeting you have

It is very important to be interested in the person in order to remember his or her name. Devote your full attention to the person when you meet. Don't take the attitude that the person is unimportant because you are unlikely to meet the person again.

Every person you meet is important. You just don't know how this person could be part of your life in the future. This is especially important in business situations.

Here are guidelines for meeting people and remembering names:

1. When introduced, make sure you hear the person's name in the first place. Don't be afraid to ask the person to repeat the name. If you are uncomfortable about asking, use self-deprecating comments before the question, for example, "It is noisy here, I did't quite catch that. Would you mind repeating your name?"

2. Once you have heard the name, ask the person to spell the name. This helps imprint the name in your memory and may lead to further conversation about the name. Names which are supposedly common have a variety of spellings: Ian/Iain, David/Dafywd, Cate/Kate.

In business situations, the introduction may be accompanied by the exchange of business cards. Use the card to start a conversation about the name now that you can see the name written clearly.

3. If you know something about the name, or it is similar to a name you know, then make a comment. For example "My aunt is named Joy". Be careful to don't offend, "We gave that name to our bulldog!".

4. Ask for more information about the name, particularly if you are curious about the origin of the name. Don't assume someone's nationality based on the name. It is always best to ask questions and let the person do the talking. Your goal is to remember the person's name as well as getting to know them, so let them do the talking.

5. Repeat the name as often as you can during the course of the conversation, but don't overdo it!

6. Use the name when you finish the conversation and say good bye.

In my next article I will describe techniques for continuing to remember the name long after your introduction.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Remembering Names

Do you have trouble remembering names?

Do you find yourself saying "Oh, I know your face, but I just can't remember your name!"

The most common complaint I hear about memory skills is the ability to remember names.

In this series of blog articles, I will show you some techniques to ensure you will never forget a name again. Knowing and using people's names is important for your business, social and personal life. You meet people continually (unless you are Robinson Crusoe living on a deserted island) and want to remember the names of the people you meet.

A person's name is his or her most prized possession. The most pleasing sound a person hears is their name being used and remembered by others. So don't embarrass yourself by saying to people you have previously met "What is your name again?".

What is the real problem with remembering names?

Studies have shown we can remember thousands of faces. In one experiment, people were shown several hundred photos of faces. Next, they were shown the same photos again with some new images added. The people were asked to identify faces they had not seen in the first pass, and the recognition of unfamiliar faces was quite easy.

What this experiment shows is that we don't seem to have an issue with remembering the face. The brain is highly skilled at remembering images. The challenge we have is to remember the name associated with the face.

The main reason that most people forget a name is because they never remembered it in the first place. This often happens because they never even heard the name in the first place!

Often the person doing the introduction mumbles the name or doesn't give the name. I have been in situations where a new employee is brought around to be introduced. The conversation goes something like this: "This is Charles and Bill and Jim who look after the system". Charles, Bill and Jim are now wondering who the new employee is until someone takes the initiative and asks "I didn't catch your name". Shame on the person responsible for doing such a poor introduction!

Sometimes we are so worried about creating a good first impression or wondering what to say to the person that we don't listen to the introduction.

The first technique for remembering names is to be sure you hear the name in the beginning of the introduction. Listen carefully and don't worry about how you are going to respond. If you are not sure of the name, ask the person to repeat it.

If you are still not sure, ask the person to spell the name. Asking about the spelling of the name is a good conversation starter especially for names with several spellings like Katherine - Catherine - Kathryn. Even names like Ian and John can be spelt differently (Iain and Jon), so demonstrate your interest in the person by asking about the spelling.

You may realise that the name is similar to a friend or relative of yours, so mention this fact. This helps impress the name in your memory and builds more assocations. I used to work with an Elizabeth Taylor (it was her married name) and she told me how challenging it was to book a restaurant with ther name. The usual response was "I suppose your husband is Richard Burton?". I have also worked with a Kieran Kearing whose brother Paul visited from Ireland. Having the same name is a former Australian Prime Minister caused an airline to reject a booking on the pretext it was a hoax!

I live in Sydney which is a very cosmopolitan, multi-cultural society. I hear names from Asia, Europe, England and Ireland. In my office there are Indian names: Anil, Shruti, Himali, Vasu, and Shoba; European names: Mikhail, Vitaly, Ergun and a selection of more familiar names of English origin: Alan (2), Andrew (2), Chris (5), David (4), Diane, Daniel (2), John, Sue and Mark.

Once you have established the name, use it in the conversation. This will help you better remember the name as well as showing the person that you know his or her name. But don't go crazy with repeating the name, or you will drive the person crazy. When you finish talking with the person, say something like "It was good to meet you Vladimir".

Make it your goal to know a person's name even if you think you are unlikely to see them again. Following this principle will cause you to show respect and be interested in others.

When you introduce people, make it easy for everybody by stating the new person's name several times and give some background to use as a conversation starter. For example, "Hi everybody. I would like to introduce Robert who is starting today. This is Bill, Charles and Jim who look after the systems. Robertused to work at Microsoft so I am sure you will have a few questions for him".

  1. Make sure you hear the name of the person of the person at the time of introduction.
  2. If you are not sure of the name, ask the person to REPEAT it.
  3. For further clarification, ask the person to SPELL the name.
  4. Make a comment about the name - someone you know with that name, or a famour person.
  5. If the name is unfamiliar, ask about the origin on the name.

And here are some tips for introducing yourself.

  1. If your name is hard to pronounce, make it easy for people to pronounce your name. My wife's name is Etsuko and she tells people it rhymes with "Let's Go", otherwise Australians want to say "Ett-SUE-Ko".
  2. If someone asks you to repeat your name, help them out. I heard of a situation where a lady with an unusual name rudely told the person "I am not going to repeat my name!". She was then introduced to a group as "Elizabeth with a surname I cannot HOPE to pronounce!" (voice dripping with sarcasm).
  3. Foreign names pronounced differently in English. The German composer Richard Wagner has a surname pronounced "Vargner" in German. However this name is usually pronounced "Wag Ner" (like "Wag your tail") in Australia and America. If your surname is Wagner and you want people to use the German pronunciation then make sure you emphasise the pronunciation!

In my next article I will write how to make any name have meaning using a substitute word and how to associate it with the person's face.