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Chapter 10. "Who Are You?" > Try These Twenty Tips

Try These Twenty Tips

  1. Continue to use the other person's name as the conversation moves along: "Are you a new member, Fred?"

  2. Look for a personal connection, perhaps someone else you know who has the same name. Make the connection out loud. Tell your partner, "Hi Adam. Good to meet you. Adam was my college roommate's name. So it will be easy for me to remember you." Or, "Nice to meet you, Harriet. Wasn't your name mentioned as one of the new board members?"

  3. Associate the name with a picture in your mind to help you remember the name. If you meet someone in a leadership position whose name is Arthur, visualize him as King Arthur with the knights of the Round Table. (Some people like this technique; others say it just confuses them. Use it if it's helpful.)

  4. Ask the person to spell his name. "Is that Carl with a C or a K?" "Is that M-a-r-y or Merry as in Christmas?" If the person is wearing a name tag, you still may comment on the spelling, "I see that you spell Marsha with an S."

  5. Ask how the person got her name. "Do you know why you were named Savannah? Were you named for the city?" We find that nearly half of our workshop participants can tell a story about how they got their names.

  6. Tell the person what you have heard about him. Acknowledge his uniqueness: "I understand that this new orientation program was your idea, Kay."

  7. If you notice that people often have trouble understanding your name, it may be because you run the two words together. This sort of problem may be accentuated if your last name begins with a vowel. If your name is difficult for people to understand, separate the two names like this: "Hi; my first name is Helen, and my last name is Anderson."

  8. If your name comes from a culture that is not very familiar to the people you are meeting, then you'll have to make a special effort to teach them your name. Barbara Rodvani says, "Rodvani, think of a van going down a road, Rodvani." Weng Po says, "If you want to remember my first name, just think of Winnie the Pooh."

  9. If your last name is a hyphenated combination, say so. It's very difficult for people to understand a first name plus two last names. "Hi, I'm Maureen, Maureen . . . James-Martin. James is my maiden name, and Martin is my husband's last name."

  10. Come up with several ways to help people remember your name. As you say your name, give your partner a little extra information so that you have a chance to repeat your name for her. This can be as simple as saying, "Jack's a nickname for Jackson."

  11. Tell people where your name came from. "Stanton was my grandfather's name. I like having his name because he encouraged me to start my own business." "My first name is Andreal. My mother liked the name Andrea, but she wanted something unique, so she added an L."

  12. Keep your energy level high—rev it up. Let your body language and tone of voice indicate that you're seriously trying to learn your partner's name and teach him your name. People say that this is very flattering.

  13. "Always say the person's name again as you leave him to reinforce your learning:" It was good to meet you, Ronda.

  14. Give yourself a realistic goal. At a networking event, for example, vow to really learn the names of five people before you leave.

  15. Decide whether you want to teach your conversation partner your first name or your last name. If you want your contact to be able to find you in his Rolodex or industry directory, concentrate on your last name. Professional speaker Maggie Bedrosian says, "Hi, I'm Maggie, Maggie Bedrosian. Bedrosian, like bed of roses."

  16. Design a way to teach your partner your name and what you do at the same time. Debbie, a new franchise owner does just that. She says, "Hi, I'm Debbie Danforth with Decorating Den. Just remember: D for Debbie and D for Decorating Den."

  17. If you don't like the association that people often make when they hear your name, say something to redirect their attention. Even though the TV show is long gone, Mindy found that people were always asking her, "Where's Mork?" So, she decided to say, "Hi, I'm Mindy, Mindy . . . Jones. Mindy, like Lindy, but with an M."

  18. Set up a positive association. Don't use a memory hook that links you with a negative impression. Annabel Lector used to say, "Hi, I'm Annabel Lector, like the killer in Silence of the Lambs."

  19. Don't assume that people with foreign-sounding names are not native-born Americans. When Ying-Chie introduces herself, she often is asked, "Where are you from?" She replies, with some irritation, "San Francisco."

  20. If your name is memorable or connects easily to some idea, you may become bored or irritated with what people say about it. "People always say, 'Just like the bird,' when I say my name," complains Bob White. Find a way to use that connection. Bob, a realtor, might say, "Yes! And, when I find just the right home for people, they sing!"



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