Memory tips from IAR Convention speaker Tom Weber

Photo of Tom WeberEver meet someone, get their name, shake their hand and no sooner has the handshake broken when their name “vanished” into thin air? And then what happens? You spend the next five minutes sweating, trying to remember what they said, and praying for someone else to walk up and introduce themselves.

And as important as relationships are in our industry, we cannot afford to have this keep happening. In the book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie teaches that the number one thing people want you to remember about them is their name.

Here are two simple things that you can do when you meet someone for the very first time to help eliminate names “vanishing” from your mind when the handshake breaks.

1. Slow down and LISTEN.
This may sound overly simplistic, but most of us are usually thinking two or three steps ahead of the process. On average, you can think about seven times faster than others can speak. This means that most of us are in the habit of evaluating the person while they are talking, AND thinking about what we are going to say to them, AND thinking about the 40 other things to do after we are done talking with them.

2. Repeat Their Name Back to Them.
Many people have heard this one before and some have even told me that it didn’t work for them. Well, there is a fine line here between being effective and being obnoxious. I’m not suggesting that you say the person’s name 500 times in the first five minutes and saying it once isn’t necessarily going to help either.

Here is why you are going to repeat it back to the person two to three times out loud. It forces you to slow down and listen. If you know that you are going to say this person’s name two to three times in the first 30 seconds and not sound “over-the-top” when you do it, then it requires you to focus and consciously use their name conversationally. This may feel awkward the first couple of times that you try it, but very quickly it will feel easy and natural and you will no longer have people’s names “vanish” from your mind.

About Tom Weber: Tom Weber is a Chicago-based speaker and coach on personal development and vice president of sales for Freedom Personal Development. His session at the upcoming IAR Convention & Expo “Discovering Your Memory Power” takes place Thursday, September 30. Get convention details at

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