The Value of Remembering and Speaking Someone’s Name

​How many times have you heard that old ‘tired expression’, I remember you, I never forget a face…but I can’t recall your name?  So many people use this line of garbage when making excuses for not remembering the names of others they have either recently met or had some type of connection long ago.

You would be much better served by simply saying, my apologies, I know we have met before but I can’t recall your name.   Most of us are happy to tell people our names, even we find ourselves having to repeat it.  So you ask why is this true?   It is simply because the most valued word to hear in any language is one’s own name!

Unless our biological hard wiring is broken we are all motivated to self-importance and to hear others speak our name. It evokes a connection of familiarity.  We all listen to our favorite radio station, WIIFM  (What’s In It For Me)…

There are several memory systems on the market that will help you to always remember names.  I would highly recommend that you invest your time and resources in one of these systems, as they are truly difference makers.

I once had a speaking engagement in Fargo, North Dakota and Breckenridge Minnesota for 27 seed farmers.  It was a full day workshop of eight hours of speaking.  I thought long and hard of how this Vegas man could find a way to build connection and relationship with those seed farmers.  After working on the storyboard and speech for countless hours I was stumped as to how to relate to this group for such a long run of speaking.

It wasn’t until the first person walked through the door that the connection to how I would relate to them came to me.  As they lined up and came into the room single file I decided to introduce myself to each and every one of them and memorize their name immediately.  I then began to use their names throughout the presentation by a ‘salt and pepper’ sprinkling my speech delivery with an occasional call out to them individually followed by their name.

On the first break the two top performers and leaders in the room approached me and asked how I had the ability to remember all of their names even though they weren’t wearing name badges.  I told them that I felt it was important to get to know them quickly and I believed that remembering their names would prove to them that they had value with me.  It worked!  

Those top performers told the president of the company how impressed they were with the connection made along with the points and speaking that they requested I come back for their annual conference the following year.  

I can assure you that the homework of building a good storyboard for my speech was helpful, however nothing was as powerful to them as giving them the sense that I knew them because I knew their names.

Should you challenge yourself to raise your game to high levels of communication start by remembering others names.  Others will feel that you care about and respect them.  You will set yourself far and away from the pack as most people are too lazy to do the work and learn how to memorize others names to use them respectfully during or after an interaction when meeting new people.  More people will remember you, simply because you remember them and this will add huge relationship equity to your communication development.
Practice a little mirror economics.  Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you are truly willing to do the work.  Are you willing to do what it takes to become memorable by remembering others first.  This is much like the law of sowing and reaping… First you sow, then you reap…you give some and ultimately you will get some.

They really don’t care how much you know (know them…that is) until they know how much you care.  This theory is at the very core of human existence.  How do you show up with others during your speaking opportunities?

What will you do differently as a result of reading this blog? How much do you care about self and others?