Association professionals meet a lot of people. A LOT. So it’s not surprising that some of those names get lost in the shuffle. (Or if you’re like me, 80 percent of those names.)
But not to worry! We’ve got a few tips that can prevent you from drawing a major blank at your next big networking event.
Take a look!
Repeat, repeat, repeat
One of the best ways to ensure you remember someone’s name is to repeat it - both in your head and out loud. When possible, try using the person’s name in conversation. “Nice to meet you, Anne.” “So where do you work, Anne?” Don’t overdo it, of course, but don’t worry about sounding like a crazy person, either. I’m sure Anne would rather you remember her name than not, and hey, if that’s what it takes, go for it!
Play on words
Riddles are fun, and even better, they help you remember things. So if names are a problem for you, try coming up with fun, quirky riddles. For example, “Callie from the valley” or “Joe who likes snow.” You don’t have to tell anyone else these weird or silly riddles. They’re simply mnemonic devices to help you better remember names.
Sure, this seems embarrassing, but if you forget someone’s name, just ask them to repeat it. It’s really not that big of a deal. You can even throw in some humor if that makes you feel better. Say something along the lines of “We’ve been talking this whole time, and I’m so sorry, but I just can’t remember your name! What is it again?” It’s not at all uncommon to forget, and it’s much better to ask someone to repeat their name than it is to risk losing a good connection.
Reference your business cards
Say all of that doesn’t work and you still walk away nameless. Get that person’s business card and DON’T lose it. Jot down a few quick notes on the back of that card summarizing your particular conversation. Chances are, even if you forget their name, that conversation will still ring a bell.
Remembering names isn’t easy. It’ll take some practice for sure. But don’t worry, you’ll get there! Remember, the brain is a muscle. You can train it!
Best of luck, association pros!