May 7, 2018
When coaches are starting their coaching practices, the #1 thing that they should be doing is building their network. We are in a relational business. Business comes through trust and likability, not because of your training or credentials.
I would say that 90% of the time a new coach puts in to starting their business should be spent simply meeting people and serving their network.
One of the more difficult tasks in meeting people is remembering names.
Through the years I’ve met countless 1000s of people. Starting out, it was difficult enough just to put myself out there and meet new people because I always viewed myself as a balanced introvert. I’m not the kind of person who works a crowd. But I figured if I needed to do this thing, then I should at least try to do it really well.
The first thing I did was a much-needed mindset shift:
“I’m get the opportunity to meet fascinating people today.”
If you want to be a coach, you need to believe that there are amazing people everywhere. Most of the time, these people are still developing and just don’t know how amazing they are yet.
There are a lot of unresolved lives, a lot of heroic stories that have yet to be lived out.
And your job as a coach is for your story to resolve so that theirs will.
Don’t reduce your impact on the world to a personality type. There are far too many people who think of their personality type – particularly introverts – as a liability.
And your purpose should hold a much greater weight in your identity than your personality type as well. But most people have it backwards.
Through the years I’ve met so many world changers that don’t fit the pre-conceived profile. Most CEOs I know are often the least extroverted people in the room. But that wield extraordinary influence.
Stop saying, “I’m terrible at names,” and start being compelled to remember names.
The fact is: you can remember people’s names if you really want to.
How do I know?
Whenever you met someone who became your significant other, or, if you’re still looking for your significant other, and you meet someone of interest, I guarantee you, you always remember their name.
Why? Because they meant something to you. You cared. You were compelled.
And to get good at this thing, you need to be compelled.
Now let me give you two quick tools…
When you first meet someone, say their name as quickly as possible.
This is very different than what we usually do when we meet someone. Most of the time, people say their names, and 30 seconds later, we don’t even remember it. In most cases, it’s because we really don’t listen. But there’s another thing called, “The Baker Effect.” The sum of the Baker Effect is that it’s really difficult for you brain to remember things that are arbitrary like names because they don’t have a link to something meaningful. So we just need some tools to help our brains link it to something more familiar so the memory lasts.
As a coach, it’s your job to listen.
So, when someone says their name, use their name in some sort of response back to them:
“John? It’s so nice to meet you!”
This allows you to focus on that name for a couple more seconds.
The second trick to remembering a person is: association.
While I have the person’s name in mind, I need to quickly associate the name with something I will remember in the future.
Here are a few possibilities:
Associate their name with a strong visual image, like a person or thing.
If I’ve just met a person by the name of John, one of the easiest ways to remember their name is to associate them to some who has the same name.
This could be a friend, a family member, but it could even be a famous person. At any rate, choose the person with the strongest image to associate with them.
But I can just as easily associate this person’s name with a picture of something that will help me remember their name as well.
For John, maybe I think of a bathroom.
If a person’s name is Rob, maybe I picture them robbing a bank. Hey, maybe that’s not a positive image, but it’s about what can help you remember!
If I met a person named Mary, perhaps I picture her dressed up like a bride.
Pictures are very powerful and can really help you reinforce remembering a name.
Associate their name with their most prominent facial feature.
A lot of people say, “I don’t remember names, but I never forget a face.”
Well, you’re halfway there already! Just connect the name to their face.
First, choose a prominent feature. That could be the ears, chin, nose – anything that you’ll notice again the next time you see them.
Let’s say you met someone named Heidi, and she has big eyes. Just focus on the feature and say, “Heidi with the eyes” or “She says ‘Hi’ with her eyes.”
The best part of remembering the names of people is because everyone is so bad at it, when you do remember the name of a person when you call them by name the second time you see them, is that it really blows people away.
No word matters to a person than their own name. We’re keenly aware and will snap out of a deep conversation if we hear our name spoken somewhere. Our senses are trained.
And when you remember a person’s name and use it, you’ve pressed the “meaning” button on someone, and, not only does it give them positive emotions, but it gives them positive associations with you from now on.
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