What To Do When You Forget Someone’s Name

By Alison Bowen Chicago Tribune.

Q: Someone approaches you, enthusiastically recalling those good old days. You're struggling to remember his or her name. What do you do?

"One of Dale Carnegie's key principles is 'Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.' Own up to not remembering, as this could potentially lead to re-establishing a positive relationship/friendship moving forward. Should the conversation continue after the reintroduction, it's important to let the other person do a great deal of the talking while you remain a good listener.

"Repetition is key after an introduction (to help you) remember the other person for future encounters."

-Jean-Louis Van Doorne, senior vice president at Dale Carnegie Training

"I went through this ... (at) my 45th high school reunion. There were so many people that came up to me to say hi and even hug me. I couldn't place the face and would look at the name tags with their high school picture and still not remember them.

I just couldn't fake it. I politely said, 'I must be going senile because I can't place the name or the face.' I merely gave them credit for having a fantastic memory and hugged them and said I was so glad they came to the reunion.

"If I do recognize a face but can't place the name, I just call them 'sweetie.' As long as they remember me, I'm happy."

-Charna Halpern, co-founder and director of iO (ImprovOlympic) Theater

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