You know how at a party, you can suddenly hear your name being spoken even at the other side of the room?
We love hearing our own name spoken so much we can pick it out in a hubbub of voices.
This is why remembering names is an incredibly useful skill in direct sales, because in our business it’s all about relationships.
I like to use people’s names when I’m running a direct sales event or party. I regularly get comments about how great am at remembering people’s names. But I don’t actually have any special talent or amazing brain for remembering names. It’s a skill that I’ve developed over the years once I realized how useful it is.
On the flip side, it can be embarrassing to call people by the wrong name or to blank out and resort to the generic “love” or “doll”. Calling someone by their name makes them feel special and valued. After all, you’ve made an effort to remember their name!
Most of us find it hard to remember people’s names. That’s because your brain finds it hard to remember “random” bits of information. And a name of a person you’ve never met before has very little connection to anything else in your brain.
So the name “Brian” will likely just slip your mind just as soon as Brian introduces himself. This is even worse at parties where you meet many new people with new names in a short period of time.
However, there are a few tricks you can use to become a Name-Memorizer-Grand-Master. (That exists, right?) You can find many strategies when you search the Internet, but these are my personal favorites and have worked really well for me.
Start by deciding that you’re going to be great at remembering names. Many of us tell ourselves that we’re bad at remembering names…Stop it! Be nice to yourself and remember that it has very little to do with talent and everything with developing a skill. Start with your attitude. When you go to a direct sales party, just before you get out of car or just before guests arrive tell yourself: “I will make my best effort today to remember everybody’s names.”
- Repeat, repeat, repeat
Once someone introduces themselves, repeat the name: “Hi Jasmine, so lovely to meet you”. You can make a comment about how pretty the name is, that your niece has the same name, or something else that’s a compliment. If it’s an unusual name, you can ask for the spelling or the proper pronunciation, that way the person repeats the name so it will stick in your brain better. Make sure you do this in a warm and interested manner, don’t make them feel uncomfortable because they have an unusual name. You could say something like: “Sorry, I can’t hear too well with this noise in the background. Could you repeat how to pronounce your name?” or “That’s a very pretty name. I’ve never heard that before, could you say it one more time so I get it right?”
Often the reason a name slips your mind 2 seconds after hearing it, is because we’re not focused when we’re introduced to someone. That’s the reason you want to start with a change to your attitude. If you change your attitude to a genuine desire to remember names, you will focus when you are introduced to someone. Often a “bad” memory for names isn’t a memory problem but a focus problem. Work on focusing fully on the person you’re being introduced to. As someone is about to be introduced to you, make sure you concentrate. Remind yourself that you really want to learn their name.
- Lucky Door Prize
Get all event guests that arrive on time to fill out their name on a card to go in the draw for a lucky door prize. This way you have their name written down!
- Jason Bourne
Jason Bourne your way to their names. I mean, listen in to conversations and mentally note what name people call each other. That way you can pick up names you’ve missed or forgotten. This is especially useful is there’s a rush of people arriving at the same time and some people weren’t introduced to you.
By connecting a person or a name to something else that’s already in your brain, you’ll be more likely to remember it. You can connect a person or a name to a celebrity (Brian looks just like Ryan Gosling, and the names rhyme too), to a characteristic (Jasmine smells lovely), or to their job (Margarita works in a bar). Connections like that will help a name to stick in your mind.
These are my favorite tricks for remembering names. However, the tricks aren’t the most important step to remembering names.
For me the most important thing was the decision to start making an effort to remember people’s names.
Once I had made the decision, my attitude changed. I focused more and I was more present during the introductions. The other tricks were just extra little ways to help my brain remember names.