Success is all about who you know, right? It’s also about who knows you! So it’s vital that you take initiative, stick out your hand, and introduce yourself to others. Here are four settings you should always take advantage of:
When you recognize someone, but you’re not sure if he or she recognizes you
Never assume casual acquaintances will remember you. Reintroduce yourself and remind them of when you met before. “Hi John, I’m Sophie Johnson, we met at the regional meeting in December.” They will probably jump in before you even finish, with “Of course I remember you, Sophie!” It’s better for that to happen, then to watch them as they search their mental rolodex in a frantic effort to recall your name!
When you’re seated next to someone you don’t know
Be the initiator, whether it’s a luncheon, conference, or training class: “Hi Bob, I’m Janet Baker from Acme Labs. How are you today?”
When the introducer doesn’t remember your name
Don’t watch them sweat – jump in and save them! You’ll be in their shoes one day.
When you can’t remember their name
It’s happened to all of us at one time or another. It’s always best to admit it right away in the conversation. I had a friend once who never let on that he had no idea who he was talking with, but kept chatting away as though he did. Then a colleague walked up to him and said, “Hey John, introduce me to your friend.” Busted!
My advice: “Hi, I’m Paul Collins. We had a really interesting chat about basketball at last year’s meeting. Please remind of your name. I’m afraid it’s slipped my mind.”
And what’s the best way to remember names? Word association games have never worked for me. “Okay, she likes the beach, beach has sand, her name is Sandy!” You can spend so much time creating the links that you tune out on the actual conversation. Instead, use their names 3-4 times as you continue to converse. “That’s a great story, Becky….So, Becky, who did you work with at Acme….Have any exciting travel plans for the summer, Becky?’
One last tip: Don’t try to memorize both first and last names. Aim for memorizing only the first. That’s all you’ll really need in conversation. If you need their last names, look again at their name badge or the business card they gave you.
© Jill Bremer 2016