This is the truth about remembering names: There is no secret for remembering names. I do have a system I follow, but there are no secrets attached and no proprietary information. Most of remembering names is simply wanting to and concentrating on people. I gave one of the foundational events of my life and ministry in an earlier post related to remembering names.
The goal is not remembering names; the goal is connecting to people and letting them know that they are cared for. Remembering names is a means to an end. With that as the foundation, here is what I do to remember people’s names.
The first and most important part of remembering names for me is simply to focus and listen. This is the part of the system where I am most prone to come up short. If you don’t concentrate on what the person says, nothing else can work for you. Therefore, for me everything is simply about listening and focusing on the person.
Second, I write down the person’s name as soon as possible. Writing the name down gives me something to study and think about before the next time I meet the person.
Over the years I have done this in a variety of ways. Since I am a pastor and meet most people on Sunday morning, I simply have a slip of paper in the front of my Bible. I immediately write the name on the paper. They usually see me doing this. Because I am a pastor, they don’t think me weird. In fact, most people want to be known.
Third, I review the names and try to put a face with the name. At times, I keep a legal pad on my desk with the names of new people I have met. Reviewing the names helps me remember and emphasize the person.
Let me tell you one thing I don’t do. I don’t do word association. For me, that means I have to remember two names.On rare occasions, someone’s name will call for easy association but most name association is double work,
Remembering names is hard work–at least for me, but it is invaluable in letting someone know they matter to God and they matter to you. It is worth the struggle.
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