Why is it important to remember names?
In Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, he says, “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” We feel more respected and appreciated when someone uses our name. When we forget someone’s name and they have to repeat it to us several times, it makes them feel lesser and not important.
At work, by remembering coworkers’ or clients’ names, you leave a good impression of yourself and of your brand if you remember their name. This is especially helpful when it comes to networking (How To Network: Simple and Easy Tips) because it will show those that you’re interacting with that you are genuinely interested in them and their work and shows that they’re not just another face that you will forget immediately after your interaction. You will find that your success at work and the help you receive from coworkers will increase because you have made others feel that they are connected and important to you.
Tricks to remember faces and names
A lot of us feel like we are terrible at remembering names and it can be embarrassing to have to keep asking for someone’s name or even avoid using someone’s name all together because we don’t remember it. Here are five tricks to help you be better at remembering names:
- Pay attention. When you’re meeting someone for the first time, pay attention when they’re telling you their name. Keep eye contact and don’t be thinking about other things while they’re talking to you.
- Repeat. After they tell you their name, repeat it back to them. For example, when they say, “Hi, I’m John,” you say, “Hi John, it’s nice to meet you.” Using their name every now and then throughout the conversation will help their name stick in your brain better.
- Associate. Science says that if you associate their name with a verbal game or image that will help. For example, you had a best friend growing up named John. You can tell yourself, “this is John, just like my good friend when I was a child.” You can also associate their name with other details they tell you about themselves.
- Connect. Find similarities between you two. For example, John told you that his favorite sport to watch is basketball and you love watching basketball too! You can remember that John likes basketball (and now you can ask him to watch games with you).
- Choose to care. A lot of the time we meet someone new and already have no intention of remembering their name or seeing them around much and we’re not focused on them in the first place. If you make the decision to remember names because you care about the people you meet then you will become better at remembering names.
It might take time to get these techniques down but experts say that if you practice tricks like this that you will get better at remembering names!
What does science say about remembering names?
What do you do when it comes to remembering names of people you have met? It can be difficult to remember all the names of the people in your different circles (athletic groups, church, school, work, etc.) as well as the many different things you learn about them.
Have you ever heard that writing things down by hand helps you remember things better? Dr. Helen Macpherson from Australia’s Deakin University says that, “when we learn new information, for example, at school or in a university lecture… we have to create our own summaries and concepts.”
She then says that when we handwrite notes during a lecture we remember the content better than if we type notes. “We can keep pace typing but we can’t keep pace with handwriting… we have different ways of encoding the information, which in turn leads to richer memory.” (https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/04/21/writing-by-hand-benefits_n_9735384.html).
Writing everything down with pen and paper might be ideal, but many times when you meet someone you won’t have a notebook handy. What should you do instead?
You could repeat their name in your head over and over again after your encounter in hopes of remembering it the next time you see them but there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to recall that information when the time comes. Here’s a better solution: you always have your phone with you, use an app to remember names and everything about those you meet.
Use a tool to remember (it’s not cheating)
Dale Carnegie says, “If you want to win friends, make it a point to remember them. If you remember my name, you pay me a subtle compliment; you indicate that I have made an impression on you. Remember my name and you add to my feeling of importance.”
This is when Circles comes in handy. After meeting someone, you can pull out your phone and open the Circles app. There, you can add your new contact and note the different facts that you learned about them. For example, imagine you are at work and just met a new employee named, Cameron. After Cameron goes back to his office, you quickly put down his name, that he is from England, is married with two little boys, collects coins and is one of the new app developers at your company.
Now, the next time you run into Jeff, you’ll be able to use his name and ask him how his family is doing! He will appreciate how you remembered those things about him after just one interaction and it will make him feel good. You’ll be able to continue nourishing that relationship.
So, instead if carrying a pen and paper around to help yourself remember the people you meet, use Circles and have that information easily at your fingertips! Never forget another name or detail ever again and help those in your circles know that you care about them.