One of the toughest things to do when getting to know people professionally is remembering their names. And it's also an extremely useful skill to have when you're networking. Showing a stranger that you remembered her name can portray you as someone who pays attention and even someone who cares. Here are some tricks to remembering any name:
- Ask for their business card: When you meet someone in a networking situation, ask for their business card. Jot down a few notes about the person and his appearance so you can differentiate him from the other people you've met. You can always refer back to the card if you forget someone's name.
- Repeat it in your mind: After you've met someone, repeat her name in your mind a few times until you feel like you got a hang of the name.
- Write it down: Some people write down people's names in a private place like a bathroom on a scrap of paper or a notebook.
- Ask again: At the end of your conversation, ask the person you're speaking with to repeat his name just to make sure you have it right. Hearing it again will help you memorize it as well.
- Visualize an image: Attach an image to the name. For example, if you meet a Catherine, then try to connect the image of a cat with the woman. That way, when you meet the woman again, the image of a cat will pop up, and it will be easy to work out what her name is.
- Identity associations: If you picked up an interesting or distinguishing fact about the person you're talking to, then repeat the associations in your head. For example, "Matt resells rare shoes on eBay," or "Kelly participates in triathlons."
- Inject it into conversation: Say the other person's name as often as you can during the conversation without it getting awkward. For example, inserting the name casually in sentences like "I really agree with you, John" or "John, how are you liking living in the city?" will do wonders for memorizing names.
- Rhyme it: We're more apt to remember rhymes, so try to rhyme a name with a characteristic in your head. For example, "Gary who loves dairy." Play around with the words, and come up with a phrase that will stick.