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“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly. ”
~Robert F. Kennedy
“Columbus had all the spirit of a crusader, and, at the same time,
the investigating nature of a modern man of science. ”
~Edmund Arthur Helps
“Perhaps, after all, America never has been discovered. I myself
would say that it had merely been detected. ”
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The Name Game
By Anne Baber & Lynne Waymon
Do you feel like a dummy when you can't remember names? You’re not alone.
Ninety-seven percent of the people in our workshops admit they are terrible
at “the name game.”
There’s a reason people aren’t able to remember
names. The next time you're at a business or social event, watch people
introduce themselves and count how many seconds this vital activity takes.
Almost everyone zips through the exchange in less than six seconds!
You can do a lot in six seconds. Send a fax. Blow out the candles on your
birthday cake. Buy a lottery ticket. But one thing you can't do in six
seconds is teach someone your name and learn hers or his.
down. Linger longer. Don't sabotage your greetings by saying to yourself, "I
never can remember names." Instead, set a goal. Say, "I'm going to learn the
names of five people I meet today." Imagine that you meet a newcomer at the
next Chamber of Commerce event. Challenge yourself to remember his name long
enough to introduce him to someone else. If you remember it for three
minutes, then you'll probably have it for 30 minutes . . . or perhaps
To learn someone's name
Repeat it. If the other
person says her name first, repeat her first name in your greeting. Say "Hi,
Theresa. It's good to meet you." Ask about her name or comment on it. You
might ask about the spelling: "Do you spell Theresa with an "h"? Focusing on
the spelling is a good idea, because 77 percent of us are visual learners.
That means we learn best when we see something spelled out in our mind’s
Ask separately for the last name. Say, "Tell me your last name
again." Notice that your conversation partner will say the last name clearly
and crisply, rather than mooshing it into the first name.
Give your first name twice. Say, "I'm Leo. Leo Torvette."
(This is the Forrest Gump Rule. Remember how he said, “I’m Forrest, Forrest
Say both your names clearly and distinctly. Take a tiny
breath in between. Don't run them together.
Provide a way for people
to remember your name. Say, "It's like Corvette but with a "T."
people are wearing name tags, use them as visual aids. Look at your
partner’s. Point to your own, when you say your name.
say this about the name exchange: "Oh, I just rush through that part to get
on to the good stuff." But, in networking, names are "the good stuff."
Unless you learn someone's name and teach that person yours, you can't
really expect to begin a relationship. So, abandon the six-second ritual. Be
This article is brought to you, compliments of Sue Schnorr,
President, Training Insights, Inc.
Associate, Contacts Count
70 Linden Oaks, 3rd floor
Rochester, NY 14625
Anne Baber and Lynne Waymon are principals of Contacts Count, a nationwide
consulting and training firm that specializes in business and professional
networking, and career development. They are co-authors of six books. The
most recent is Make Your Contacts Count: Networking Know-How for Business
and Career Success (2007, AMACOM). Fortune 500 companies license their
training programs. Visit them at
Hannah's blog this week includes writings on
about social networking.
composes her blog outside of work hours as a personal passion to assist
those in career transition.
Book Reviews and Good Reads
Other Offerings - Share Yours
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