The Importance of Remembering Names

July 28, 2011

Remembering names. It seems like a simple concept. But how good are you at actually doing it? And how important is it really? If you want to improve your ability to remember names, you must convince yourself that it is an important skill to master. You’ll get better at remembering names, learning to ski or developing practically any other skill if you strongly desire to do so. Dale Carnegie Training teaches us to increase our desire to remember names by constantly reminding ourselves how the ability to remember names will:

  • Enhance your popularity.
  • Help you in your business or profession.
  • Help you win friends.
  • Give sparkle to your social contacts.
  • Help you practice the Golden Rule by “doing unto others…”
  • Prevent embarrassment by showing you are genuinely interested in others.

Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest sound in any language; it is a badge of individuality. Barnum, the circus entrepreneur, liked his name so well that he offered to give his grandson, C.H. Seeley, a huge sum of money provided he would call himself “Barnum” Seeley. James B. Duke, the cigarette king, offered to give Trinity College in Durham, North Carolina, forty million dollars if the college would change its name to Duke University.

One way that Dale Carnegie Training teaches us to be better at remembering a person’s name is through repetition. Mr. Carnegie himself would tell us that you can remember anything if you will only repeat it often enough. There are eight ways to engrave a name on your memory through repetition. They are as follows:

  1. When you are introduced to a person, repeat the name immediately.
  2. Use the stranger’s name several times in conversation. For example, you might say, “Well, I never thought of it in that way but perhaps you are right, Mr. Blank.” If you make a point to do this, you are not only engraving the name on your memory but you are also pleasing your listener.
  3. Repeat the stranger’s name silently to yourself while he or she is talking. When introduced to Mr. Leonard Townes, I keep saying to yourself rapidly, “Leonard Townes… Leonard Townes… Leonard Townes…”
  4. If working on a list of names, work with only a few at a time and repeat them to yourself several times before attempting to remember additional names.
  5. Refresh your memory of people’s names immediately before you are to see them. That is what Dwight D. Eisenhower did when he inspected his troops training in England, preparing for the invasion. Each morning before General Eisenhower set out on his tour of inspection, he would study a list of names of the officer he was scheduled to meet that day.
  6. If possible, talk about the name of the person you have just met. If it is an odd name, which you have never heard before, why not say so? If you had an old sweetheart by that name, say so. If possible, make conversation about the person’s name.
  7. When you leave the person you have just met, say the name again. “I am glad to have met you, Ms. Blank.”
  8. Review the names you really want to remember each night before you retire. Try to “see” the person’s outstanding characteristics as you recall the name. This reviewing is most important because we forget as much in the first eight hours after we have learned something as we do during the next thirty days.

So the next time you find yourself in a the midst of a networking opportunity, remember just how important it is to remember the names of the people whom you meet. Remember someone’s name could mean the difference between closing a sale or blowing the deal. It can be the difference between making an important connection or being forgotten as soon as you leave the room. Remembering a person’s name is one of the best business moves you’ll ever make.

This post brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Birmingham, Alabama.  We would love to connect with you on Facebook.

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