You may or may not have recognized this before, but you feel more appreciated in conversations where your name is used. It’s true, isn’t it? “That was some great work today, Alex,” feels a lot better than simply “That was some great work today.” It’s a simple, subtle difference that goes a long way.
This is a habit you can incorporate into the way you interact with people, and it will have a significant impact on how conversations with you are perceived. While this is a small change, it isn’t an easy one. Most would say that they “aren’t good with names.” Names are easy to forget, especially for those who meet new people often. Here are some ways to help you remember their names so that you can begin incorporating this practice into daily conversations:
When you’re meeting someone for the first time and they tell you their name, repeat it back. “So great to meet you, Andy!” And then without being over the top, try to use it a few more times throughout the conversation. Often names go in one ear and out the other, and we find that only moments after the introduction that we’ve already forgotten the person’s name. Saying it back to them immediately will help keep that from happening.
If you forget the name of the person you’re talking to in the middle of the conversation, don’t be too afraid to politely ask for it again. “Hey, I’m sorry, but could you please remind me of your name again?” People understand because almost all of us struggle with this. Many times you will probably receive the question right back once you’ve humbly opened that door.
Many of us are visual learners. When you learn someone’s name for the first time, try to associate it with something the name reminds you of and then find a way to attach the person to that thing. This takes practice, but becomes a very helpful memory device to those who master it.
Like any new habit, start small. Begin with the people you know well. Try using their names more until it becomes second nature. Then using names with the people you meet will become much more natural. Everyone likes to be recognized and feel special, and using their names in conversation is a good start to making a genuine impact.