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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