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What's in a name?

There is everything in a person's name - an extension of ego, identity and importance. Though difficult, it is not impossible to remember and recollect people's names. Here are some tips to guide you.

SO, YOU say? A person's name is everything for him or her. It is the sweetest sound to our ears - to listen to our name being called. It is who we are, an extension of our ego, our identity. Our names being mispronounced, we can deal with quite cheerfully but when others forget the name outright, that is when we feel a small sense of rejection - "I was not important enough, obviously."

Countless number of hours were spent by your parents to come up with the perfect name for you. Let us not forget the contributions of equally excited grandparents, uncles, and aunts.

Finally, a unique name is selected for the unique human waiting to make a bawling entrance into this world. After all that time and energy spent, it is understandable, the indignity a forgotten name can cause.

Both in the social or business arena, there is nothing more embarrassing than forgetting names while introducing. We all have had embarrassing episodes where we desperately try to remember the name of the person who is obviously delighted to see you.

Or, how about the time when you had to introduce this person with whom you have been having cosy chats and your mind went blank at the crucial juncture. Now this one takes the cake - realising you have been calling someone by the wrong name the whole time. Yes, these episodes have happened to all of us at some point or the other, in our adult life.

So, how do we deal with this memory loss? There are some very simple techniques that you can learn to make you good at remembering names hence raise your social savvy. Try them. You can avoid many awkward moments.

First of all tell yourself "I am going to remember names". The mind has an amazing capability to actually cooperate with you.

Pay attention while being introduced.

You have just been introduced to Suzy. Don't just say hello and stop. Continue it with the name, "Hello, Suzy".

While saying that, look very attentively at the other person's face and try to register some important facial feature and record in memory.

Try using the name again and again during conversation (You are really scoring points, remember, I told you we all love to hear our own names!)

Another trick is association. Does it rhyme with something? Does someone you know have a similar or same name?

Don't hesitate to ask for the correct spelling of the name, take your time, and spell it out slowly and deliberately.

Another trick is to visualise the spelling.

Try any one of these tips and you will amaze yourself and impress the other person. It doesn't matter the time lapse in between meetings. And you know what you have done, you have made the other person feel special. In spite of all this, if you still have selective memory loss, honesty is the best policy!

(The writer is the Director, ProEt Centre for International Protocol and Etiquette. Ph: 3372004, 6503605; e-mail:


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