Networking events can be nerve-wracking. You might find that after you’ve finished a conversation, you’re too busy breathing a sigh of relief to process what you just learned, or who it was you even spoke to. It will greatly help you to remember all the personalities you’ve socialized with once you get home, when you can actually do something with the information. What follows are some easy tips on how to remember names at any networking event.
Focus on the people you’re conversing with – Have you ever been introduced to someone, and then seconds later, you haven’t a clue what their name is? Often times, people going into a conversation at networking events tend to plan what they will be saying, and end up focusing too much on themselves. Rather than getting stuck in your head, try and take a deep breath and relax. Genuinely listen to the other person and hear their name instead of anxiously awaiting your turn to speak in the conversation.
Use their name – Using their name after you learn it will help cement it into your mind. Casually drop it into a statement you’re making or question you’re asking. For example: “Nice to meet you, Lisa.”
Don’t be afraid to ask again – If you don’t quite catch their name, don’t be afraid to ask for it again. Similarly, if you’ve forgotten their name, ask for it again. The sooner you raise the fact that you’ve forgotten it, the less embarrassing it will be (they may even have forgotten your name too, which gives them a much-appreciated opening to asking for yours again too!). For example, you can say, “I’m really sorry, but I’ve forgotten your name. Would you mind repeating it?”
Make an association – Making an association in your mind is a great way to attach the person to the name. For example, you might think “Claire was wearing that beautiful green top.” Or “Mike is the quirky soccer-loving teacher.”
Get their business card – After you have finished speaking with that person, scribble down any details you can on the back of their card. This will help remind you who they are later on.
Check that you have the pronunciation right – If the name is difficult to pronounce, double check that you’re saying it correctly or ask them to spell it. This can provide a nice segue into asking for the meaning or significance of that person’s name, making for a more personal connection.