Want to get better at it? One of these tricks might help.
1. Repeat the name in conversation.
“When someone introduces themselves to you, try repeating their name a few times in conversation,” suggests Emily Price at Lifehacker (h/t: Smartbrief). “‘That’s really impressive, Sally.’ or ‘Bob, it was great to meet you!’ Repeating the person’s name in conversation will help reinforce their name in your memory.”
Does that feel unnatural? Don’t worry about it. Networking situations can feel a little surreal anyway. Most people won’t object to your doing whatever it takes to get their name right. And if they do mention it, you can reveal your use of the name-repeating trick and use it as an ice-breaker.
2. Make a connection to something or someone you know.
“I received a life-changing tip that was a spin on this from a speaker who spoke to my Vistage group years ago,” writes Kristi Hedges at Forbes. “After meeting the 15 people in our group very briefly, he proceeded to go around the room and repeat each of our names perfectly. His trick? As you meet someone, consider a famous person (or famous to you) who shares their first name and looks somewhat like them, i.e. Ryan looks like Ryan Gosling (if you could be so lucky.) I’ve found that it can be harder to make the association, but once you do, it’s locked in.”
“Focus your mind. Take the time to pay attention — if you’re distracted the information you want to recall later will never get into your brain’s memory storage file cabinets,” Dr. Gary Small, author of The Memory Bible: An Innovative Strategy for Keeping Your Brain Young, tells CNBC.
That can be easier said than done at a networking event, where distractions abound. But you’ll stand a better chance if you commit to focusing on the person you’re meeting, and make an attempt to tune out distractions. Not to mention the fact that you’re more likely to make a real connection if you’re paying attention.
Tell Us What You Think
Are you good with names? Tell us your secrets in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.