Do you struggle to remember the names of people you have just met? This can be a problem when networking and interviewing with employers during your job search and professional career. The ability to recall the names of new colleagues and acquaintances shows employers that you have strong interpersonal skills and can easily build relationships with others. To avoid the mental lapses and uncomfortable name faux pas, consider these top tips:
1. Focus on the other person: Rather than being so engrossed in what you are going to say, focus on the person you are meeting. Listen to their name and repeat it in your head. Try to visualize yourself writing the name so you can imprint each letter in your memory. If you are meeting several people at once, perhaps in an interview, try to associate the person’s name with their seat in the room.
2. Verify: Confirm that you are pronouncing the name correctly or ask if they prefer a different version (i.e. “Do you prefer Katherine or Katie?”). This will give you an opportunity to repeat the name immediately.
3. Say the name: Use the person’s name in your conversation when you first meet, when you ask a question, and when you leave. Avoid repeating the name too much though so as not to make the person feel uncomfortable. Aim to use the name about 3-4 times in the course of your meeting. Ex: “Katie, you previously mentioned the annual performance evaluation. Will I have the opportunity to discuss my performance with Company X throughout the year?”
4. Use word association: Think about a rhyme for the person’s name or associate them with an iconic image or famous person. For example: “Katie is a sweet lady” or imagine Mr. Jones dressed up in Indiana Jones explorer garb.
5. Ask again: With all of the people you’ll be meeting, you’re bound to forget a name or two. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask the person for their name again. If you come back for your first day on the job and can’t remember any of the people you met during your interview, you may say, “Great to see you again. I remember meeting with you before, but your name has slipped my mind.” Chances are the person won’t be offended and will appreciate you asking rather than referring to him as “Whatshisname” for the next few weeks.
Finally, try to get a business card from the people you meet at a networking event or in aninterview. This will guarantee you have the names on file for future meetings, emails, or thank you cards. Also, write brief notes about the people you meet during your job search so that you can remember them in future encounters. Try these top tips and you can avoid many awkward situations when names are forgotten.
Sources: Kate Lorentz, Career Builder.com; Karen Coster; Forbes.com