”Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language” – from the book How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie
The importance of acknowledging, remembering and reusing a person’s name is by many an underestimated ability – both in your personal social life and in your business-life. And when it comes to business, it’s about not only remembering the names of the decision makers, but also the names of the people who are directly or indirectly involved in the decision.
I remember how I, after I had won a very important deal facing one of my toughest competitors, asked the customer’s CEO why they chose us as their supplier. He responded:
“Your products were similar and the price-difference wasn’t that big either. But you noticed and asked questions to both Margareta and Robert whom, in that way, felt more involved in the decision process. Your competitors put almost all their focus on me and the other shareholder. I bet that, in the end of the meeting, they didn’t even know who Robert or Margareta where in the group of the five employees that took part in the meeting. When the whole group then sat together to make a decision, Lime was the most liked candidate of all the potential suppliers.”
Two advices on how you can get better at remembering names at a meeting:
- Draw a circle on your notepad and place the names of the participants as they take their seats around the table. It will then become very easy for you to sneak-peak at their names while you write down notes during the meeting.
- When the person you are greeting says their name, try to come up with a person with that (or a similar) name. For me, this technique has been enormously helpful. With a little bit of practice because you will automatically tie the name of the two persons together and your already ‘stuffed’ memory-bank will not need to expand in the same way.