What is your name ?

One of the things that most people love to hear most of all when being spoken with is the sound of their own name. Yet it can be very easy to forget that when you may have so many other ulterior motives for starting a conversation.

I recently completed a two-question survey with a group of approximately 350 attendees at a sales conference at which I was presenting. The first question I asked was: “How many people fail to remember someone’s name when first introduced to them?”  Over 90 percent of hands were raised.

The second question I asked was: “Do you find that embarrassing when you see them again and therefore sometimes avoid contact with them?” The same hands were raised.

If yours might have been one of them, the following information might help to avoid that rather awkward situation ever again.

What happens when most people are first introduced to someone else or introduce themselves is that they are so focused on what they want to say or ask next and so do not even listen to, let alone remember to remember that other person’s name. Therefore the first technique you should use is simply to tell yourself to listen and remember it. Say to yourself as you approach them or they approach you: ‘I must listen for and remember this person’s name’ and then do just that.

The second technique is to repeat it back immediately. So for example if someone says to you, “Good morning, I’m John Smith, who are you?”, you should immediately respond, “Good morning John Smith, I’m (your name)”. Having done that, repeat their name over again several times, very quickly and silently to yourself whilst looking at them and locking their face alongside their name into your long-term memory.

The third technique is to repeat their first name several times during your conversation with them and their full name at the very end of the conversation when you say goodbye.

Remembering people’s names will impress them and help you to have far more effective communication with them. As Dale Carnegie so eloquently put it: ‘The sound of their own name is pure music to most people’s ears’ – so make music.


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