Tip 1: Shout out the other person’s name (but only in your head).
As soon as you hear the person’s name—for example, “Joe”—start repeating it in your head loudly a few times. JOE, JOE, JOE. If you want to practice saying it out loud a few times, ask him about his name. “How do you spell JOE?” Note: After a couple of seconds, you should stop and introduce yourself or risk remembering the name of someone who will think you’re very odd.
Tip 2: Let the other person talk about himself.
This is a good rule of thumb for lots of things. (We’ve explained it before.) People love to talk about themselves. Admit it. Letting the other person talk will help you remember their name and all sorts of tidbits that will come in handy later.
Tip 3: Help for remembering the international, unique or hard-to-pronounce name.
If you live in the U.S., you will meet many people with names like Jason or Julie. However, you will also meet people with unconventional, foreign-language, or, depending on your culture, hard-to-pronounce names. As these people are used to having people look at them with confusion, they won’t be offended (we hope) with you saying something like, “Can you help me understand how to say your name phonetically?” (You can try to do the phonetic thing without asking for help, but few people are offended if you ask for ways to help you remember their names.) Ask, “Did I pronounce that correctly?”
Tip 4: DON’T make remarks about a person’s name being hard to remember.
This isn’t a memory tip. It’s a “don’t be a jerk” tip. “I have trouble remembering Asian names” is a perfect way to get the other person to quickly forget your name.
Tip 5: Don’t use a nickname until the other person uses a nickname.
Unless the other person provides you with a nickname or alternative form of their name, don’t use it. Don’t even think about using it. Don’t immediately start thinking Bob or Rob when they introduce themselves as Robert. Don’t be that guy.
Tip 6: Use people’s names in the conversation and especially when saying hello and goodbye.
People love hearing their own name. Using their name often helps you remember their name. A win-win tactic. Or, a Wynn-Wynn one, if that’s their name.
Tip 7: Never call a person by the wrong name.
If you’re not 100 percent certain that you’ve got someone’s name correct, it’s probably better not to address them by it. And don’t try to cover by saying nicknames like “Hey, Dude, Guy, Friend, Buddy …” It’s better to say nothing and ask someone else what you’ve forgotten.
Tip 8: Don’t misspell someone’s name in writing.
Heard of Google, Facebook, LinkedIn? Use them to look up the correct spelling of a person’s name.
Illustration: From ThinkStock