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Now, what was your name again? We’ve all been there–you’re at a business networking event and meet a new person…and immediately forget his or her name!

But, remembering names and using them in conversation is important in business. It makes you stand out and creates a powerful impression. In fact, according to Dale Carnegie, “The sweetest sound a person hears is the sound of their own name.” The good news is that remembering names is an easy skill that anyone can master with a commitment to improve, and some practice.

3 Business Etiquette Tips for Remembering Names

  1. Focus and listen intently during the introduction. I know this sounds too easy and simple. However, it is truly the best way to remember names. During introductions, many people are nervous and are thinking about what they want to say next instead of focusing on the new person’s name.
  2. Use name association. When you meet people at conferences and receptions, associate their name with that of a famous person, or a relative or friend with the same name. I never forget a Wes, since I have a brother named Wes. Once I met a new couple, Mark and Linda. I associated their names with a Mark and Linda I knew from a previous city where I had lived. And sometimes the sillier the association, the better. For example, I never forget a Holly since my cat’s name is Holly.
  3. Repetition, repetition, repetition. Sharpen your memory with repetition. Use the person’s name in conversation at least three times. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Wally.” “So, tell me, Wally, when did you get into this industry?”  And, when exiting the conversation, “Wally, it’s been great chatting with you. I hope you enjoy the rest of the conference.”

When you remember people’s names and use them in conversation, it is one of the best ways to make a favorable impression and show that you are a consummate professional.