Steps to Networking – Step 92: Remembering names

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 19th, 2010

STEP 92: Remembering names

During our research for this book, people repeatedly explained that they were not good networkers because they couldn’t remember the names of people they met. Successful networkers also revealed that they constantly struggle to remember names. Since most of them had some loose memory system, most of which didn’t always work, so we turned to an expert.

Public speaker and marketing consultant Ken Glickman suffered from a faulty memory for names so he created a system that has trained him to remember well over 100 first names. Glickman concentrates on first names, which he feels is sufficient for networking meetings and events. However, he is clear that his system is a short-term approach. So don’t expect it to work when you come across someone out-of-context who you met briefly at a conference last year.

According to Glickman, “Most people don’t remember names because they don’t really listen in the first place. However, they do remember people they like and admire because they pay attention to them.”

“Everyone’s favorite word is their own name. So if you want to make others feel important and good about themselves, call them by name.” Glickman explains. “You can’t make them feel special if you don’t remember their name. And if you pretend that you know someone’s name, you’re usually going to get caught and no longer seen credible. People infer that if you’re lying about that, what else are you untruthful about?”

To address his inability to remember names, Glickman developed a three-step technique that forced him to concentrate and listen. By mastering Glickman’s system, you can teach yourself to remember those you meet. You can also avoid embarrassing moments when you can’t recall the name of someone you just met. Improving your memory for names should help you network better and more confidently.

When Glickman meets someone new, he:

1. Deliberately shakes his/her hand and repeats his/her first name several times during their initial conversation. For example, he might say, “Joe, it’s nice to meet you. Where are your from Joe? And how long will you be here Joe?” Or, he will introduce Joe to someone else and say, “Joe this is Harry. Harry, Joe is here for the meeting.”

2. As soon as he/she walks away, but within 10 to 15 seconds, Glickman visualizes the person’s face in his mind and repeats his/her name.

3. About 30 seconds later, Glickman looks around the room for that person and when he spots him/her, has says his/her name.

Glickman’s process requires you to listen, focus and connect the names and faces in your mind. The more you do it, the better you get.

When Glickman forgets peoples’ names, he goes right up to them and states, “I’ve been having trouble remembering names,” and he asks them their names. Glickman believes that when you admit not knowing their names, you can create a mental block and the quickest way to clear that block is to immediately ask.

Similarly, when you meet someone and can’t remember his/her name, don’t bluff or pretend. Promptly say, “I remember your face and I enjoyed our conversation so much last time, but I’m sorry I’m having trouble with names and I can’t remember your name.” Provide whatever context you can to show that you only forgot their name, not them. Then when they tell you their name, repeat it during the remainder of your conversation.

(Excerpted from NETWORKING MAGIC: Making Connections That Will Change Your Life By Rick Frishman and Jill Lublin With Mark Steisel)

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