Remembering the names and faces of colleagues, business associates, and clients is an important skill for business success. Here are some effective techniques for remembering this critical information:
1. Associate someone that you’ve just met with someone else that has the same name. For example, when you meet a new “Mr. Smith”, deliberately conjure in your mind the image of the Mr. Smith you already know. Each time you see the new acquaintance, your mind will flash back to the well-known man, and you’ll be able to remember the name. Come up with interesting mental imagery to solidify the association. For example, think of the two Mr. Smiths as twin brothers.
2. When you first learn a new name, write it down several times. This reinforces the name through multiple sensory channels. By hearing the name, seeing it in writing, and invoking physical memory through the process of writing, you’re less likely to forget the name.
3. Make note of the person’s interesting or distinctive facial features. What makes your new acquaintance distinct from other people? Take note of features like eyes, ears, nose, lips, hair, or facial structure. By pondering a person’s facial features, you focus on a person’s face right away and create a much stronger mental impression. You also create a sense of interest, which is very important for memory retention. Say, for example, you were introduced to someone who promised to pay you $1,000 cash at your next meeting. Chances are you’d automatically study his face and have no trouble conjuring his image or his name. Interest is important.
4. When you hear someone’s name being said out loud, deliberately look at the person to whom the name belongs. This reinforces the connection in your mind between the person’s name and face. If you forget the name, try to recall the face and you’ll have a better chance of remembering it.
5. Pay close attention to your surroundings and your feelings at the time that you meet someone new. Remembering the atmosphere, how you felt, and what you did can also help you remember your introduction to the person, the person’s appearance, and other important details about the person.
6. Say the person’s name over and over again in your mind. Whenever possible, say the name out loud in context. For example, tell a co-worker “I met Bob Norwiki today.” Later, tell your wife “I met a new colleague today, Bob Norwiki. He’s going to help out with our new project.”
By using these simple but powerful techniques, you’ll be better able to remember names and faces. This will serve you well in both your business and personal life.