Most of us struggle to remember the names of people we’ve met. I don’t have the memory of an elephant. It’s awkward! Haven’t you been introduced to a new person, chit-chatted with them, turned around to leave, and asked yourself, “Now what was that guy’s name?” I’ve done it many times, unfortunately. If you are the leader of a Bible study group, you’ve got to remember people’s names.
Failure to remember people’s names often stems from our inattention. If I’m not fully engaged in the conversation, if my mind has drifted to that list of unfinished tasks I left at the office, or if I’m thinking about what I’m supposed to bring home from the grocery store, chances are I’ll forget your name right after we say our goodbyes. Focus, focus, focus. Live in the moment. Stay with the other person and concentrate.
In order to boost your chances of remembering “what’s his head’s name,” use these 3 simple suggestions and you’ll be more likely to file that new person’s name away in the deep recesses of your mind:
1. Use the 3X rule – The best strategy I’ve discovered for remembering people’s names is to repeat the person’s name no less than 3 times after the initial introduction. “I’m really glad to know you, John,” followed later in the conversation by, “So John, where do you work?” and then something like, “John, it’s been great talking with you.” Using the person’s name during the initial encounter will help cement it in your memory.
2. Associate the person’s name – As you are talking with the person, listen for things they like, places they’ve lived, hobbies or special interests they have, or some unique feature about them. Find the one that sticks, then associate their name with it. For instance, my pastor’s name is Mike; he wears a Mike-rophone. Mark is the worship leader at my church; he uses a digital countdown each Sunday to let us know when worship begins. I can remember him by the phrase “On your Mark, get set, go!”. You get the idea. Associating a person’s name with a trigger of some kind can help you remember them more easily than if you had not associated it with something else.
3. Write it down – After you’ve ended the first encounter, take a minute and jot down the person’s name, type of work , hobbies and interests, and any other factoid you learned about them. Keep a pad and pen handy, or create a file on your smartphone in the notes app.
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Great post, Kevin.
Thanks, John! Hope all is well in Alabama.