A critical aspect of finding a job is networking. However, networking every week is useless if you meet someone and can’t remember his or her name later that day or the next: you’ve now lost the ability to reach out. You’ve also set yourself up for an awkward moment in the future if you run into that person again.
If you’ve discovered you have trouble with this, here’s how to remember names when you’re networking:
- When you meet someone at a networking event, immediately repeat his or her name in your reply and then throughout the conversation. Instead of saying “it’s nice to meet you,” say “it’s nice to meet you, Bill.” Then say Bill’s name a few times throughout the conversation. A simple way to do this is to add it when you’re asking a question, “When did you begin working for your current company, Bill?”
- Think of a specific detail about the person to connect with his or her name. Maybe Bill is wearing a strange tie – think of “Bill, the man with the pink tie-dyed tie.” Or connect the person’s name with an image or similarly named celebrity. If you meet a person from New York, picture that person at Times Square. If you meet someone named Julia, picture Julia Roberts.
- Next, write the name down. A great place to keep information regarding your new networking contacts is in your phone’s contacts. Along with adding their name, number and email, add notes. If you learned they went to the same university, write it down. If you learn better by physically writing, take notes on the back of the person’s card. Jot down whatever will help you remember that person in the future – any observations that will jog your memory.
- Last, if you’ve made a connection with someone whom you want to keep in contact with, reach out to him or her as soon as possible. Don’t wait a week to email or call. The best way to remember people’s names is to keep in contact and get to know them.