I’m Not Good With Names

My substitute name is “Jason”….but in some senses that’s better than nothing…every time someone messes up my name they always call me Jason…and though I always correct them and say it’s ok…I always feel a bit offended and lose a little trust and respect in the person who made the error…same with mispronouncing my last name…buy hey, maybe they are “Not Good With Names!”

“I’m not good with names…” = You don’t care enough about me to remember my name.

Could you imagine a doctor forgetting the name of their patient, employee forgetting the name of their boss (or vice versa), or somehow forgetting your in-laws name….how rude!!!

It is well known that people love the sound of their own name….from a very young age, if someone says your name and you listen you are rewarded…Dale Carnegie in his book How to Win Friends & Influence People (certainly on my book list) says one of the six ways to make people like you is to Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language. “The average person is more interested in their own name than in all the other names in the world put together.”[6] People love their names so much that they will often donate large amounts of money just to have a building named after themselves. We can make people feel extremely valued and important by remembering their name. (great summary of the book on wiki here)

Here are a few things I do to remember names (of people I care enough about):

NOTE: everyone I meet for the first time I care enough about at that point to at least remember their name)

  • Listen intently the first time they tell you their name (you would be surprised how often we dont even listen when they tell us…as if its just a courtesy to ask)
  • Say their name over and over in my head 5-10 times immediately after they tell you their name
  • Use their name in the conversation as quickly as possible
  • Ask them to spell their name (if you are questioning the pronunciation or not getting the name clearly)
  • Say their name upon departure aloud and then another 5-10 times in your head
  • Try to remember their name 5 minutes after their departure to assure it “stuck”

This also works for names of friend’s, family, coworker’s spouses, children, and even pets…if you think people are surprised and impressed when you remember their name…try remembering the name of one they love.

It might be expected at this point in society for people to forget your name after one meeting (or even after a few seconds)…which I think is a shame…and i definitely don’t think that makes it OK…and if you want to create a raving fan, remember their name…politicians win elections doing this…I certainly love it when someone remembers my name….bonus points if you can pronounce it correctly…so ask for clarity there as well and confirm you have it right….and then remember it!

In the end….even if you think you are not good with names….and maybe somehow you naturally are not (though I personally feel like the spectrum of memory capabilities for one word is rather small)…GET GOOD AT IT…everyone will like you more if you can just remember their name!

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