It happens to the best of us. We see someone we have met prior, and cannot remember their name. It can make you feel awkward, especially when they remember your name. Following are my four stealth strategies that will save you in those situations:
1. When time allows, go through the alphabet in your head. For instance, you are driving to an appointment, and although you have previously met the receptionist who you know will be there to greet you, you are drawing a blank on her name. Frequently, once you recall the first letter of a person’s name, the full name will suddenly zap into your memory.
2. Do a third party introduction. You are talking with someone at a social event, and cannot remember his name. When the time is right, bring another friend (in this case, Julie) into the conversation, and then ask the acquaintance, “Have you met Julie?” The acquaintance will then announce his own name to your friend.
3. Keep a cheat sheet on your cell phone. My husband does this for servers at certain restaurants we frequent. Just as it is important to remember and use the names of business and personal acquaintances, it is important to remember and use the names of the service people with whom we come in contact. You are guaranteed to get better service! Just be sure to make notes you will understand later, such as, “tall waiter with beard: Bryan.”
4. Simply ask. Some people feel awkward about asking a person to remind them of his/her name, but not asking and not using their name feels even more awkward. People will not think less of you because you ask. Instead, they will appreciate that you care enough to ask. Simply say, “I know we’ve met, but please remind me of your name.”
Remembering names is important stuff! The better you are at it, the better your connections will be. As Dale Carnegie so aptly states in How To Win Friends and Influence People, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”