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How to Remember Names

Hi. I can't remember your name either.

One of the best ways to make a personal and lasting connection with people you meet at networking meetings is to remember their name. Over the past several years, I have found that by taking the following simple steps, I have become much better at remembering people’s names:

  1. Pay Attention: When you first meet someone, listen to what they say especially their name. Be calm, be present and stop thinking about what you are going to say, and just focus on them.
  2. Repeat Their Name: I’ve heard of studies that say if you repeat a word seven times, you won’t forget it. Of course, if you repeated the name of someone you just met seven times, they’d probably think you were crazy, but, repeating their name a couple of times in your conversation can go along way to remembering it.
  3. Read Their Name: If they are wearing a name badge, be sure to read it to yourself so that you add a visual cue to the verbal one that they just gave you.
  4. Take Notes: After each meeting, I take a moment to write a note or two on the back of each business card I receive. Key points might include what we talked about and anything I promised to do. Depending on the seating arrangements especially if I’m attending a breakfast, luncheon or dinner, I will write down the names of everyone sitting at my table on the back of the program or agenda (as each person introduces themselves).
  5. Follow-up Within 24 Hours: Send each person you meet an email saying you enjoyed meeting them and any information related to what you talked about (which might include a referral to a prospect or vendor, an article of interest, a link to a website, etc.) If you have time, send a hand-written card acknowledging your meeting instead of an email since a card is more personal (and certainly more memorable in our high tech world of sound bites, text messages and tweets!)

For more information, you may want to check out some books on the subject. Some of my favorites include: How to Remember Names and Faces by Robert H. Nutt, Remember Every Name Every Time by Benjamin Levy, and Powerful Ways to Sharpen Your Memory by Chiang Chao Chun.

And if you want to practice your networking skills, attend one of WESST’s workshops on Networking (view our Small Business Event Calendar to see when the next one is scheduled) .

Stacy Sacco

Stacy Sacco

Stacy Sacco is Regional Manager of WESST’s Rio Rancho office. He also teaches sales and marketing at UNM Anderson School of Management in both the UNM MBA program and entrepreneurial studies program; and he serves as one of 15 instructors in the SBA’s national Emerging 200 program for inner-city entrepreneurs.
Stacy has over 25 years experience in marketing management with Hyundai, Transamerica, Avco Financial Services, Kirtland Federal Credit Union and the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce. He has served as the President of both the New Mexico and Orange County Chapters of the American Marketing Association, publishes several lists including the New Mexico Directory of Professional Association, and hosts the annual New Mexico MARCOM Mixer which brings together over 350 members of the key marketing-related clubs statewide.
Stacy has been recognized as one of 100 Power Brokers and received the NMAMA’s Marketer of Excellence Award for his contribution to professionalism statewide. He earned his MBA from Pepperdine University and Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the University of Arizona.