There is nothing worse than spotting someone you met previously (or went to high school with) and completely blanking on that person’s name. Hopefully this article helps you avoid that situation a little more frequently.
Recently we have been taking it upon ourselves to go out and join/attend different networking events around our area. As you may have guessed from looking at the title of this post, it can be a real pain in the ass trying to remember 5-30 names in one night. You may be thinking to yourself, “I can barely remember my own name, let alone 30 other people’s.”, all I have to say to that is you’re hopeless. No but seriously, if you go into the situation with a plan and maybe a few tricks to remembering a person(s)’s name while retaining what the hell you actually talked about during the conversation, you’ll have a much easier and enjoyable time.
By no means am I an expert on name recognition or interpersonal communications, but I do enjoy educating myself on the subjects and learning new ways to get better at them. As of recent I have come up with an acronym that I use in order to remember people’s names, are you ready for your mind to be blow? Listen, Ask, Visualize, Associate, Repeat, or LAVAR, like “lava” but with an “r” at the end. Now at this time you may be insisting I’m a bit crazy and I wouldn’t argue that, but does work.
1. Listen: Truly listen to the person you are speaking with. I wish I could count the times I’ve been talking to someone and before they even say their name my mind has drifted, or I’m thinking to myself what “brilliant” sentence I am going to recite to this person next.
2. Ask: When I say “ask”, I don’t just mean ask their name. If for whatever reason you didn’t hear the person when they said their name, or it is difficult to pronounce, simply ask them to say it again. If you still didn’t get it, ask them to spell it out for you, seriously. This will help your brain remember what letters are in the name, and in turn will help you “connect the dots” when trying to recollect it later.
3. Visualize: Imagine writing the person’s name out on a piece of paper, again this will help your brain track back to that when trying to remember it at a later time. I will also visual their name written on their forehead in big marker, it sounds weird but it works. I learned this technique from a very popular book by Dale Carnegie, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, to this day it is still one of my favorite books.
4. Associate: Rather than just pairing this person to this name, try and associate the name with something or someone. For instance if you meet a person with the same name as your child hood best friend, associate your new contact with your best friend’s name and maybe even a trait or theirs. You can also associate their name with something, say the red tie they’re wearing, “Red tie Jerry”.
5. Repeat: After your conversation with this person, be sure to repeat it in your head and engrave it into your memory. Of course you can also pull out your phone and make a specific notepad for everyone you meet that night (with notes). Although say you aren’t able to pull out your phone for whatever reason, in this case I still repeat the names in my head, it’s just a little more complex seeing that every time I’m done with a conversation I rattle off all of my new connections, plus the one I was just introduced to. This process works much better if you are able to look at all the different people as you check the names off in your head, try not to look to obvious.
This method only works if you keep working at it, don’t worry about not remembering every single person’s name at first. In the beginning you may have to keep reminding yourself what the hell the next step is, but eventually it will be second nature. So there you have it, LAVAR, the ingenious name recognition acronym that will have you hopefully not looking like a crazy person at your next networking event, or party.
Until Next Time.