Calling everyone “Dude,” “Ma’am,” and “You” may work in high school, but in professional settings the ability to remember names is crucial. Recalling someone’s name shows respect for that person and their work, and indicates that you were paying attention during your previous meeting. This is some subtle, but very effective, flattery.
Dale Carnegie understood the importance of names, hence his sixth Secret of Success: Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language. In his best selling book How To Win Friends and Influence People, Carnegie shares stories of when the use of names made drastic changes in how business and personal matters were handled.
The lessons shared throughout this chapter demonstrate the importance of names, regardless of your station in life – or that of the other party. Carnegie quotes Benton Love, chairman of Texas Commerce Bancshares, on why even those in the C-Suite can benefit from the proper use of names. “The executive who tells me he can’t remember names is at the same time telling me he can’t remember a significant part of his business.”
Unfortunately, easily recalling names is a struggle for many. While it would be nice to automatically store a database of names and faces for later recall, most people will need to put in a little extra work – but it’s work that will pay off later.
To make certain you will remember a name, and it’s associated person, Dale Carnegie suggests using one or more of the following techniques to help cement it in your mind.
“The name sets the individual apart; it makes him or her unique among all others. The information we are imparting or the request we are making takes on a special importance when we approach the situation with the name of the individual.” – Dale Carnegie