Do you have trouble remembering names? I sure do.
Tell me if this has happened to you before:
You’re at a party and you meet someone interesting. They introduced themselves right off the bat, but in the ensuing lively conversation, you totally blanked on their name. The conversation continues, and one thing leads to another, and eventually, it gets to the point where asking them for their name again would feel embarrassing.
It’s kind of like, “We’ve already exchanged all this personal information about our lives, but who are you again?”.
It just feels a bit embarrassing, like you dropped the ball.
Well, fear not. Today I’m giving you a handy party trick for getting your conversation partners to restate their names without any awkwardness.
So here you are. You’ve been chatting with someone for a good fifteen minutes, you know where they’re from, what they do for work, what TV shows and books they love, but you completely forgot their name.
Not just a little bit forgot, where you recall the first few letters of their name but can’t make out the rest. No, I mean fully blanked on it. As in you couldn’t say if it was Frank or Bartholomew.
And the longer the conversation goes, the more agitating it becomes.
Time to put an end to that.
Let’s look at two handy strategies you can whip out at any social gathering when you’ve forgotten someone’s name.
As you converse with the person, instead of facing them head-on, angle yourself around 45 degrees away from them. It can help to angle your back foot outward a bit to achieve this. Think about clock hands at 12 and 2, instead of 12 and 12.
This open stance will invite someone to step in and join the conversation, which is what you want here.
Now, this could go one of two ways:
- If you recognize the person approaching, you can say “Ah, allow me to introduce Sally.” So you are introducing the person whose name you already know to the person whose name you’ve forgotten. Then as they shake hands, the person whose name you’ve forgotten will reintroduce themselves. Now remember it this time!
Fortunately, this also works if you don’t know the person joining your conversation. It’s a similar drill:
- As the person approaches, greet the person. Extend your hand and say your name. The other person with whom you’ve been conversing will do the same and will restate their name in the process. Listen up for it!
Pretty cool right?
Ok, now there’s another neat way to get around this problem.
It’s actually a variation of strategy one, but this time you take a more proactive role in the process.
Instead of standing around waiting for another person to join your conversation, find someone else in the room whom you recognize and tell your conversation partner that you must introduce that person to them.
Bring that person to your existing acquaintance and say: “Allow me to introduce my friend Rupert.” And then Rupert shakes hands and introduces himself, at which point your conversation partner repeats their name.
Now, these strategies will only work if you are paying attention throughout the process. You’ve been given a second chance to remember their name, but you’ll only do so if you’re prepared for the moment when they repeat it. So be sure to listen up when they do.
As for remembering their name long term, a pro tip for that is to take down their contact info at the end of the conversation. You can say something like, “It’s so great to meet another person who’s interested in XYZ, we should keep in touch. Would you mind sharing your email address?” That way, you’ll be able to write down their name (which you’ve remembered this time) along with their contact info.
Okay, so at this point, you should feel a bit more confident about your name game.
Let’s quickly recap:
- Adopt an open stance with your conversation partner, and as soon as someone else joins the discussion, repeat the introduction process.
- If no one seems to be joining your conversation, take matters into your own hands by seeking out another person you know in the room, bring your conversation partner to them, and trigger the introductions yourself!
- If you enjoy your conversation, be sure to get their contact information so that you can stay in touch (and have a written record of their name!)
Again, the key here is to make sure you’re listening up when they repeat their name. You’d be surprised how easy it is to miss it a second time.
Now if you do miss their name again, it’s certainly not the end of the world. You can always ask them again directly. Most people will be understanding and laugh it off. In fact, they’ll likely be grateful that you cared enough to make the effort.
But if you can pull off the above strategies, you can save yourself a bit of embarrassment and win some style points in the process!
So now that I've shared our thoughts, I would love to hear about your solutions to getting someone to repeat their name. Are there any other ways you can think of that have worked for you? Share that with me and the Explearning community in the comments below.
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With that, have an awesome week, Explearners.
Thank you so much for joining me and I’ll see you next time for your next Explearning lesson.
Happy Explearning ⚡