In recent months I’ve been speaking on Meetology® all over the world and its left me with a problem which I want to address this week because I’m pretty sure you probably have the same issue too.
The issue is that I’ve ended up with 100’s of business cards. I attended 7 business events in the last few weeks and I’ve met lots of people which is obviously a good thing. However, the problem is what do I do when I meet them again – specifically how am I going to remember all of their names and what we discussed?
You and I both know that if we meet someone we haven’t seen for weeks, months or even years and we can extend our hand and address them by their first name it can have a really positive impact and can help us connect with them straightaway. However, whilst the theory is fine, doing it is really quite difficult so this week I want to share 5 things that I do when I meet people that has helped me better remember names, when and where I’ve met people, and what we talked about.
1: Get a Business Card
My first suggestion would be to make sure you get a business card. These days with digital technology we don’t need to always do this do we? We can swap digital information just by touching our phones together or using an app. Well, I suggest you do get a physical business card as they can be really useful psychologically to help you remember people and discussion point later on.
2: Write on it!
My second suggestion relates to asking for a business card because it is to write on it. Yes, psychology suggests that writing something down can help us remember it and if you look at most of the cards I have from my recent trip they’ll be something written about the person, the topics we discussed or, perhaps more powerful than anything, notes about memorable physical features (e.g. the colour of the clothes they were wearing) or where we met (e.g. the colour of the walls of the room). Psychologically this can really help me better remember people because these notes help create a visual picture of our meeting. These notes don’t have to be long by the way – just 2 or 3 words can be enough.
3: Group people you met at the same event together
The third point is to keep the business cards of people you met at the same event physically together. You may have noticed that mine are grouped together with a Post-It note and an elastic band. They are all event specific; for example I have the cards of people together who I met in San Francisco, then Vegas, then Toronto etc. I find this really helps me recall the event in my mind’s eye and therefore the person too.
4: Keep the cards in chronological order
Point number 4 may seem a bit odd but I suggest you keep the cards in the ORDER that you met he people concerned too as I can literally use an ancient memory method (the method of Loci) to visualise the journey/experience of a specific event as well as the people met in the order I met them. It may take a while to master but it’s a really interesting memory aid that has worked for me.
5: Review your cards regularly
Finally, suggestion number 5 is quite obvious – it is to regularly review the business cards and go on a mental journey in your head to help details of all these people enter your long-term memory. Having practiced these tips I can now shut my eyes and visualise and recall events I went to months (or even years) ago as well as the people I met at them. Now, it can take a while but I promise it can really help.
I want to mention my good friend and memory expert Bob Gray (www.memoryedge.com) who is always full of suggestions on how to better improve your memory so do take a look at his website.
I hope those 5 suggestions prove of use, they are really very powerful and have helped me remember (most) people I’ve met in recent years. However, if I see you next time and don’t remember your name please forgive me – I’m doing my best!
I’ll be back in 7 days with some more Meetology® – the fascinating psychology powering exceptional people skills.
The Meetology® Lab
No references this week.