In business circles or networking platforms like BNI, you get to meet many people for short durations and there are awkward moments of temporary amnesia when you blankly stare at a person throughout the conversation, cursing your memory, trying hard to recollect your conversation partner’s name.
Well, there are subtle strategies which will help get you back on track.
Get their name without even asking for it. Exchange contact numbers or email ids. Ask them to enter their details in your phone, typically, they will enter their first and surnames with their numbers. Generally, their email ids will carry their names, even if they don’t, other details like their college, hobby, company..etc will be hidden in the username. This information serves as a great conversation starter.
Introductions are an important part of networking events and you can use them to your full advantage in sticky situations like these. Introduce your friend to your conversation partner and just pause for a bit, till he/she introduces herself/himself to your friend.
Networking can be widespread but there will be a common thread connecting people. If your memory has ditched you, and at the same time you see a friend talking to ‘you cannot remember who?’, catch hold of that friend after their conversation ends.
Go ahead and ask them for their business card, they will be happy to oblige. Make sure you keep these handy accessories; they serve as strong cache memory!
All names always have an interesting genesis. Find out the story behind their name, apart from just the meaning. It may transport you to a fascinating family history or lineage and you may get to know much more than just their name!
Have some fun! Compare your driving licenses or company ids which carry your photographs. Take this chance, get a peek at the name and, at the same time, tickle that funny bone a bit as you and partner laugh at each other and yourselves.
Honesty can get you out of a much bigger pickle than just forgetting someone’s name. There will be someone who has gone through what you are going through so they will understand your position. A polite and apologetic admission of your forgetfulness with things like, “I keep wanting to call you David, but I know that’s not right!” or “I know, I know your name, but I’m blanking right now!” Or something more patronizing like, “Wow, you have a terrific memory. I can’t believe you remember my name from that meeting six months ago. I can’t remember the names of people I met yesterday! So, of course, I have to ask you your name”, can also work!
Your memory might fail you but these strategies won’t!