“Sometimes I’ll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.”
Why does this happen to us? Because we’re really not paying attention in the first place.
I have a difficult time remembering names. I see familiar faces but names escape me. However, after listening to a short audio book giving tips to landing a second job interview I made a goal that I would endeavor to remember people’s names.
Not knowing names is not good for authors. Now, I’m not saying you have to remember every fan wanting an autograph. If you say hello to a person buying your book at a library appearance and six years later that same person greets you on the street, I don’t expect you to remember his name even though he’ll know you. However, if you’re at a conference and are schmoozing with agents / publishers, you might want to lock those names in place for future reference.
When you’re introduced, repeat the other person’s name to yourself three times. Then make sure when talking with that person to repeat the name. “So, Bob, could you explain the whale blubber diet you mentioned earlier?”
Another trick is to relate the person’s name to something pertaining to that individual. For example: Bob. He’s into whale blubber. Whales are big fish. (Yeah, I know, whales are mammals, but work with me here, folks.) To go fishing you need a BOBber.
Or, maybe the guy is bald and his head looks like the white part of a bobber. (or the red part if he’s sunburned.)
Remembering names is important with the industry where I’m working at the time of this writing. (By post time, who knows? Long sordid story, not worth getting into now.) With hospitality, getting to know the names of regular guests is good customer service. Knowing their routine is also beneficial. For instance, I have a few customers for whom I try to have their receipt ready by the time they come down to check out. I’ve learned to recognize a few names when guests call to book a reservation. There was a crew of inventory takers a few years ago for whom I had to prepare a large breakfast because they snarfed it up like a swarm of locusts on a cornfield.
Much of remembering names is focus and, as I mentioned above, paying attention in the first place. You have to make a conscious decision to remember. Don’t overestimate your mind. Don’t think you’ll remember later. You may not. Temporary short term memory loss can be a critical situation.
Of course I don’t need to mention (but will anyway because I need to fill space), to smile, have a pleasant tone, and even have a few questions (standard though they may be) ready if you find you have a few minutes with a person. I enjoy speaking with foreigners (and I don’t mean people from California. Sorry, Sunny. Lol) I’m from Iowa. Corn, soybeans, hogs. Pretty blasé unless you’ve never seen a gazillion acres of corn or smelled the ripe odor of a confinement pen. My opportunity for travel has so far been limited to a few weeks between semesters in college when I traveled to Mexico. So when I hear an accent that isn’t Midwestern twang I take a second listen and look. I’m interested in other cultures and if people are willing to discuss their homeland, I’ll listen and ask questions. I may even do this for folks from other parts of America.
Just a side note: if you’re an attractive woman from the United Kingdom or were born and raised south of the Mason-Dixon line, and you speak to me…oh my! Those accents drive me crazy in a good way. In fact, I’ll forget the guy from North Dakota who buys all my books and wants a picture with me if the Southern belle or the Britisher will spend fifteen minutes just talking to me. Okay, make it thirty. I probably wouldn’t care about the topic. You could wax philosophical about the whale blubber diet and my ears will be in rapturous delight at your voice.
Anyway, where was I? Sorry, I was conjuring up a scenario where I’m happily stuck between an Irish lass and a Georgia Peach.
People are happy when you remember their names. They show you more respect and courtesy. If you need one, keep a notebook or carry their business cards. The worst thing I can do is re-visit a place where I’m trying to make an impression and have to say to the receptionist, “Uh, yeah, I was here two weeks ago and I spoke to, uh, somebody in the promotions department. I can’t recall who she was…”
I’ve instantly lost points.
…and I still don’t know what time it is.