What’s Your Name Again? 7 Tips To Remember
Thursday, March 17th, 2011
When I first started taking networking seriously, one of the most difficult aspects was remembering people’s names. Honestly I can forget a name just 10 seconds after hearing it, and that’s embarrassing. Here are 7 tips to make names as sticky as a name tag:
- Focus on the name as you hear it. Really focus. Ignore the person standing to the left or the right. Ignore the fact that you have to go to the bathroom and you can’t find the coat check. The most important person in the room right now is the one trying to make a positive impression on you. Let them. Listen with intent.
- Then repeat their name out loud, as often as you can without sounding silly. Actually, scratch that – there’s nothing wrong with silly! Sometimes I’ll say something like, “Adrian, it’s nice to meet you. Adrian is such a pretty name – is Adrian a family name or are you the first?” Or because I’m a bit of a nutjob I might actually say, “Adrian Adrian Adrian. Sorry but if I don’t say it out loud a few times I can’t remember it – but I’m working on it!”
- If they hand you a business card, read the name again. I mean really read it. Some of us are visual learners and seeing the name helps make it stick.
- When necessary, just ask them to tell you again. You’re human and it happens to all of us. Just say, “I’m totally drawing a blank – I know we just met last week but the minute I say you, it flew out of my head.” The other person gets it – really they do. And if they don’t, they’re probably not a good networker anyway.
- Power tip: Wear your name tag on your right lapel. There is a reason for this. When someone shakes your hand their body is slightly angled to your right shoulder. Making them swivel their head in the other direction to read your badge just doesn’t make sense.
- My favorite thing to do when I see someone I recognize yet can’t remember their name is to quickly re-introduce myself. I let the other person off the hook in case they’ve forgotten mine and send a subtle message that re-introductions are appropriate. Sometimes this backfires and the other person simply says, “Oh I remember you Sima.” So then I am ready to say, “Thanks but since I’m so bad with names myself I never assume anyone has remembered mine (smiling, friendly).” If they don’t get the hint then, you can ask directly or let it go.
- And finally, my latest trick for remembering names is to learn both the first AND the last. For some reason I’m better at remembering your first name if I know your whole name. So I might say, “Adrian, great to meet you – what’s your last name?” There’s no need to explain yourself but sometimes I will offer up that this is my trick to better remember names. An then say his whole name out loud to try and make it stick!
Saturday, March 12th, 2011
There are few blows in your professional life that sting as much as being demoted or fired and I should know, I’ve survived both. And it turns out I’m in good company. Famous people the world over have survived being fired, even hometown hero Oprah Winfrey!
While she is now one of the most iconic faces on TV, and one of the richest and most successful women in the world, Oprah faced a hard road to get to that position. She endured a rough, and often abusive, childhood as well as numerous career setbacks including being fired from her job as a television reporter because she was “unfit for TV.”
Walt Disney survived numerous failures and even bankruptcy before finding his magic formula and building an empire worth billions. And let’s not forget Harland David Sanders, better known as Colonel Sanders to you and me. As legend has i,t his famous recipe for friend chicken was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant finally accepted it. And the rest is Kentucky Fried history.
The only way to discover what the world has in store for you next is to lift your head up, point your chin forward, and set your sights on tomorrow.
Mind Your Email Signature
Wednesday, March 9th, 2011
I got a lovely email the other day from a casual acquaintance letting me know that she had officially launched a job search. This is a best practice, by the way. Your friends can’t keep their ears open for you if they don’t know that you’re on the hunt. Her note was perfect save for one thing – her signature. In her email signature she had a prominent link to her blog but hadn’t updated it since October of last year.
Whether you are looking to make a move or just climb the ladder, be mindful of the subtle messages you send in every online interaction. For people in an active search, my advice is to keep it clean and simple:
- Twitter: Unless your Twitter stream is on-brand – that is – tweets about our industry or line of business, skip it
- Facebook: Recruiters may look for you on Facebook but they don’t necessarily want to be your friend. If you have your Facebook page locked down tight for privacy, there’s really no point in calling attention to it
- LinkedIn: Absolutely include your custom LinkedIn URL in your email signature but before you do, take a few minutes to beef up your profile
- Blog: If you’re looking for a job in social media or as a blogger, by all means reference it. On the other hand, if you’re tinkering with blogging as a hobby I vote you skip it.
- Icons: (warning – rant to follow) Why are people attaching social networking icons to their email? It is visually distracting, uses up precious email storage capacity, and makes it impossible to quickly find the mail you sent me with your resume attached because every single one of your emails appears to have an attachment. Gah!
Be intentional in directing email eyeballs to digital assets that lift your personal brand, not detract from it. Consider limiting links to just one or two that really count. Trust me, a smart recruiter is going to Google eventually and find your tweet stream, but that’s a rant for another day.