Saturday, August 15, 2009

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.

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