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How To Remember Names And Avoid Awkward Encounters

It was nice meeting you but I forgot your name as soon as you said it...

13/08/2017 6:25 AM AEST | Updated 13/08/2017 6:28 AM AEST

Ever experience the embarrassment of forgetting someone's name? They're chatting to you and while you remember their face, you struggle to recall where and when you met them. All the while, you're not properly listening to what they're saying.

Then someone else joins the conversation. They look at you, waiting for an introduction. After an awkward silence, they introduce themselves to each other. The conversation may continue quite pleasantly but what message did your memory lapse send?

Here are some simple pointers to help you remember names:

Auditory: When meeting someone, pay full attention when they say their name. Block out any distraction from your thoughts and what you're going to say next. Given the brain wanders 47 percent of the time, it may take some discipline.

Verbal: Repeat their name straight away. For example: 'Nice to meet you Mary', while shaking their hand.

Visual: Think of any other Marys you know and picture the person among them. Or, link them in a story or something that rhymes. For example, the nursery rhyme 'Mary Had A Little Lamb', while imagining Mary with a pet lamb.

If she's a happy person, call her 'Merry Mary'. The more creative, the better the chance of remembering. Another tip is focusing on a particular feature of their face.

Studies have found that connecting a new name to a person or object that you're familiar with -- something that's stored in your memory -- increases your chances of remembering.

Also, processing information auditorily, verbally and visually activates different parts of the brain, helping you to remember.

Brain coach, Jim Kwik, says remembering names, or not, has nothing to do with memory capacity. It's driven by motivation, that is how valuable the person or information is to us.

Think about it.... if $100,000 was offered as a reward for remembering the name of the next person you meet, you're going to pay attention.

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Here's another handy, and effective, hack from Jim Kwik:

Before each day, or a special event, remember the phrase 'BE SUAVE'...

B -- Believe in your ability to remember

E -- Exercise (practice remembering)

S -- Say the person's name when meeting them

U -- Use their name when talking to them

A -- Ask about their name especially if it's unique

V -- Visualise their name to something you're familiar with

E -- End with their name when you finish talking

As 'How To Win Friends And Influence People' author, Dale Carnegie, famously said: "Remember that a person's name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language."

Remembering their name shows you care, which leads to rapport, respect and trust. Forgetting, or calling people by the wrong name, can rapidly erode your credibility, likeability and reputation.

Which do you prefer?

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