Networking Tips

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What to Do If You Forget a Name

By: Eden Creamer-Hurdle
  • Category

    Networking Tips

  • Author

    Eden Creamer-Hurdle

  • Post Date

Your goal at networking events is often to meet new people, develop relationships, and ultimately grow your business through these new connections. As you’re meeting new people, we’ve discussed the importance of having tactics at the ready to help you remember names. Showing someone that you remember this most basic thing about them can do wonders to make or break your relationships.

But, sometimes even the best tactics fail to help you remember a name. Perhaps you were overwhelmed with new connections, or you misplaced your memory-jogging notes on someone. Or, though we all would hate to admit it, perhaps it is just plain old human error.

It happened, you run into someone you met once and you forgot their name. Now what?

  1. If you aren’t totally sure of someone’s name, don’t call them by name! Sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how often this happens. You think someone’s name is Matt, maybe, but something about it feels off. Your memory feels fuzzy, you know he is in accounting, but the recollection ends there. Do not, under any circumstances, make it clear that you think his name is Matt. His name is probably Mark, and you’ve just embarrassed yourself and damaged that relationship.
  2. Ask questions to help remind you. Ask how their family is, their business, their favorite sports team – anything you remember previously discussing with this anonymous person. Maybe just hearing that her son’s name is Jack is all you need to remember that her name is Jill.
  3. Suggest they connect with you on LinkedIn. When you receive a connection request from Sarah, you’ll have her name, business and picture side-by-side. If she suggests you send her a connection request instead, perhaps her phone battery died, ask how to spell her last name. Searching for Thompson and finding her will be more likely than if you search “brunette real estate agent.”
  4. Ask for their business card. If you previously received their card, you can mention that it was in your pants pocket and went through the wash, or fell into the black hole of your car.  After you receive Travis’ card, send him an email to follow up after this conversation.

Forgetting someone’s name can be embarrassing, especially if you were looking to develop this into a referral-generating relationship for your business. What do you do if you forget a name? Join in the conversation on Facebook.