How many times, have you found yourself in a position when you bump into someone you have met before; you recognise their face but you cannot remember their name?
Some people are great in these situations. They have the ability to recall the person’s name instantly. They also remember other details such as where they met the person, what they were wearing, among other facts. So, the conversation runs smoothly as the two people happily chatter away about anything and everything.
Whereas when we are caught off guard, we are embarrassed and become distracted in our own thoughts. We stutter and mumble and the conversation goes a little flat - all because we cannot remember their name.
These awkward moments occur far too often with a negative effect on relationships. So why do we let them happen? Surely, we need do something to avoid these situations.
Many people will have heard the famous quotation by Dale Carnegie “Remember that a person’s name is to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language”.
When I first heard this phrase, I felt it was one of the most valuable pieces of advice I was given. Recently, I was reminded of it when a customer suggested we go out for a quick coffee. Initially, I assumed we would go to the nearest coffee shop; however we walked by two in order to get to the one my customer preferred. I soon realised why. The staff greeted her by name and as they handed us the coffee I noticed they had written her name on our cups. I mentioned this to my client and she said this was why she chose this café above others. This little touch made us feel very special indeed.
It got me thinking, how using someone’s name in conversation can help in so many ways.
- You can personalise a conversation and it will make the customer feel special
- It’s respectful and people will be more inclined to accept you and connect with you
- When the conversation feels a lot more inviting, people will be inclined to open up
- If someone is distracted and they hear their name, you can draw them back in
- When it comes to sales, there’s always a better chance of getting the business
Now that we know why it is important to remember names, what can we do to make it easier? Here are a few tips as advised by the great Carnegie himself. Think L.I.R.A. every time and you will taste the success of great conversations:
- Look and Listen – look at the person speaking. Focus and listen to what they are saying.
- Impression – create an impression of the person in your mind. Look at their physical features, what they are wearing and any other relevant details. On the phone, write down their name.
- Repetition – say the person’s name as they introduce themselves. Use it again during the conversation and at the end. Where appropriate repeat it again later.
- Association – create a link with someone you know or famous, so when you look at them you remember them. Other examples include relating names to an animal, object, place or thing.