Everybody loves the sweet music of their own name when somebody is speaking with them, yet this is often forgotten (as are people’s names) on lists of self employment advice tips. Forbes writer Jacquelyn Smith warns, “Failing to remember someone’s name is not only embarrassing, but also insulting—and it can seriously damage relationships in business.” If you are in the business of freelance graphic design, writing or any other field, those relationships are your bread and butter. Stop struggling with names. Use these tips to connect the face with the name, fast!
Pay Attention! Darlene Price, author of “Well Said!” was recently quoted in a Fast Company article about this. She says that when meeting someone for the first time, even over the phone, focus all of your attention on them. Banish thoughts like, “Is there sushi in my teeth?” “Do I sound nasal?” or “Do these slacks make me look fat?” from your brain. Think about nothing but the person to whom you are speaking.
Say it aloud—twice! When you meet someone, repeat his or her name back to them two times. If they say, “Hi, I’m Sven with Bubbles Bakery,” respond like this: “Sven? [Pause] Hi Sven…” That extra little pause gives the person a chance to correct you if you’re saying it wrong, and it also shows them that you care about getting their name right, which makes them feel special. In addition, it helps your brain connect the name with the person.
Paint mental association pictures. Vivian Giang from Business Insider recently wrote about learning this trick at a Dale Carnegie training class. She explains that these pictures should connect the name to something memorable about the person. For example, if we bring back Sven from Bubbles Bakery, you could imagine a picture of seven bubbles floating on top of a cupcake. Sven kind of sounds like seven, Bubbles is the bakery name and the cupcake reminds you what he does for a living. If you are in freelance graphic design, use your vivid imagination! The crazier the image, the more it will stick in your brain.
Use mnemonic devices. Is Donna from Denver? Does Toni drink tea? Does Sam like to surf? If you can think of anything about the person that rhymes or at least alliterates, plaster it on your frontal lobe.
Thank them by name. At the end of the conversation or interview, say “Thanks for talking with me, Sven.” It will impress him that you remembered his name, and it will also solidify the name-to-face connection in your mind.
One last, but very essential tip: whether you are using this as self employment advice, networking, or just trying to get to know somebody new: ask questions and listen. Instead of jumping in and talking all about you, you, you, make the conversation about them. People love that. And if you need more tips, contact us today to learn more!
Andrea M is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.