by Bryan Darrow | March 01, 2007

IllustrationIt’s as common as chardonnay: You’re chatting with a business acquaintance you’ve met a hundred times but blank on the name. Or someone tells you his name, and five seconds later, you’ve already forgotten it. According to Benjamin Levy, author of Remember Every Name Every Time (Fireside, 2002), the solution is to commit the name to memory as soon as it’s presented, using methods outlined below.

Catch and match. Be aware of the moment when the person says his name. Immediately cross-reference the new name with anything similar in your memory. If the person’s name is Tom, concentrate on other Toms in your mental filing cabinet.

Use a system. For frequent forgetters, Levy offers the FACE method. First, focus on the person and ask a question about the name (e.g., “How do you spell it?”). Then comment on it to them or yourself. Finally, employ the name before the conversation ends.

Don’t stare. If an event features name tags, avoid staring at chests. Steal a glance at the badge from afar and maintain eye contact when dropping the name.