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The Green Sheet Online Edition

August 14, 2017 • Issue 17:08:01


What was your name again?

We've all experienced it. We encounter someone we met recently at a networking event or meeting, but can't remember the person's name. People tend to chalk this off to poor memory, but inability to recall someone's name most likely indicates lack of interest, not lack of brain ability, according to research conducted at Kansas State University.

"Some people, perhaps those who are more socially aware, are just more interested in people, more interested in relationships," said Richard Harris, Professor of Psychology at the university. "They would be more motivated to remember somebody's name."

As ISOs, merchant level salespeople (MLSs) and others making a living in the payments industry, we are among those who are highly motivated to remember names, yet some of us fall back on the old excuse: I'm no good with names.

Techniques for remembering

In Good Selling!SM: The Basics, Paul H. Green encourages MLSs not to fall back on excuses and offers the following tips for enhancing memory when meeting new people:

  • Stay focused during introductions. Don't let your attention wander when you are being introduced. Make direct eye contact with the person you're meeting and treat them as though they are the most important person in the room. They might be!
  • Listen carefully to the name and repeat it immediately. Verbal repetition will reinforce the new name, allow you to rehearse it, and give you a simple way to clarify difficult pronunciations.
  • Create a correspondence. Thinking of a favorite friend, relative or famous personality with the same name will give you a memory jogger.
  • Use the name. Throughout your conversation, say the name often. Using the prospect's name builds rapport and strengthens your memory.

What to do when memory fails

In some situations, for example, when you're introduced to dozens of people at a networking event, it may not be possible to recall the name of everyone you meet, despite employing the best techniques for doing so. Or sometimes, you may be under the weather or distracted by something important, which impairs your ability to pay attention. Not to worry, here are a few things to try when you are face to face with someone whose name you cannot recall:

  • Ask the person for a business card.
  • Ask the individual to enter his or her phone number in your phone.
  • Ask how to spell the person's name (and write it down).
  • Ask the person for his or her preferred nickname.
  • Remind the individual of your name first, and then ask for his or hers. For example, you could say, "It is delightful to see you again. My name is ___________. What is your name again?"
  • Wait for the conversation to end and ask a friend for the person's name.
  • Suggest you compare driver's license photos or some other activity in which names would be revealed as a matter of course.
  • Fess up and admit you forgot the person's name.

All in all, it's what you do once you get past this awkward moment that will make all the difference. Express genuine interest in the people you're greeting, make them feel good about themselves, and they'll remember that, not your initial inability to remember their names. end of article

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