People buy from people - remembering names

Remember that a persons name is the sweetest and most important sound in any language, Dale Carnegie.


This quote comes form Dale Carnegies book How to win friends and influence people probably written fifty years ahead of its time. Achieving business success used to be possible by adopting a best product or competitive price strategy. In the current information age where product and price can be improved extremely quickly, the key to business success lies in the strength of customer relations. People buy from people, and usually the ones they get on best with.


Nothing is more important in the development of a relationship than the use of a persons name, as there are few things in life that are more personal.


Have you ever been walking down the street with a friend and you see someone that you know approaching you. Your first thought is I am going to have to say hello and introduce them to my friend and I do not remember their name. You just want to disappear with embarrassment. I had a colleague who was introducing a group of family and he completely forgot his new daughter in laws name! The danger is that we start to believe that we have a poor memory and cannot remember names rather than believing we can remember names and trying to learn them.


There are many techniques for remembering names. There are a few listed below. Choose the ones that work best for you or adapt them to fit with your personal style.


Pay attention and listen. This is so obvious yet so overlooked when you are in a crowd of people scanning the group to see who else is there. Really pay attention when the name is given to you and recall it a few seconds later.


Repeat immediately. The first phrase you say after being introduced should include the persons name- e.g.  It is a pleasure to meet you Caroline. Repeat again at the end of the conversation


Repeat often. This has a health warning as it can be overdone and you can sound very pushy. Remember though that people do like to hear their own name and it will keep the listener interested.


Association. Try and associate the name with a particular characteristic of the person or an unusual feature. The other alternative is to associate the person with someone you know or know of with the same name.


Be interested. You are more likely to remember the name of someone if they interest you. Engage the person in conversation, and if you learn interesting things about her or him you will build a better connection, and be more likely to remember their name.


Finally be positive. If you have convinced yourself you are going to forget a name you probably will. If you tell yourself that you will remember, you stand a good chance of doing so.


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