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Why Can’t Anyone Remember Your Name?

Name tagYou’ve done it before.

You’re at a networking event, a bar, a neighbor’s apartment, or wherever there are people you’ve not met before.  Someone introduces you to someone else, and instantly their name goes in one ear and out the other.  You struggle to try to get it back, but it’s gone forever.


Why does that happen?  Simple: our brain is processing something else at that moment, and we just didn’t prioritize remembering the name.

If it happens to you all the time, chances are YOUR name is forgotten by others just as quickly.  If you could just figure out a way to help others instantly remember you better, your name recognition – and potentially your sales – would increase.

Jeffrey Gitomer, sales author extraordinaire, says it best when he says, “It’s not about who you know, it’s who knows you.”  And he’s soooooo right.

The 800-Pound Gorilla” is a business term that describes a company or an individual that’s impossible to ignore and tough to compete against.  I picked that name for my company because lots of people remember it, and it’s fun to say.  I’ve lost track a long time ago of how many people have come up to me and told me, “Ohhh, so YOU’RE the 800-Pound Gorilla… gee, you’ve lost a few pounds!” or something like that.  They had heard about me somewhere, and they connected the name to the person.

It’s not about who you know.  It’s who knows you.

How can you better stand out and be remembered?  Here are some things you might consider to be more memorable, either on the phone or in person:

Consider a shortened “professional” last name.

Is your last name difficult to pronounce?  Try an abbreviation or adaptation on the phones that’s easier to remember.  For example:  if your name is Jenna Goraskiewicz, consider “Jenna Gore” on your business cards, voice mail, and correspondence.

Is your name too common?  Use an adaptation.

Randy Brown might come off as too easily forgettable; if you’re selling basketball, why not become “Randy B” or “Roundball Randy”?  (If that sounds too corny or unprofessional for you, then don’t do it; but remember, we’re in show business, and the main objective here is to be memorable in a positive way.)

Use a helpful alliteration with your first name

“Stormin’ Norman”, “Stan the Man”, or “Sweet Baby Ray” helps people remember your first name, which can be enough to distinguish you as memorable.

Take a distinguishing characteristic of yours and put it in your name

“The Bald Guy”, “The Big Man”, “Goalie Girl”, or something else about you can put you front and center in someone’s memory in an unmistakable way.

A self-appointed title

If you don’t want to go so far as to change your professional name, you could become “The Fan’s Best Friend”, “The Swami of Sales”, “The Center Court Expert”, “Queen of Group Events”, “The Guru of Good Seats”, or something else fun (and non-offensive to your co-workers!).

A descriptor using “Mr.” or “Ms.” as the prefix.

“Mr. Tickets”, “Ms. Group Outing”, or “Mr. Baseball” are a few examples.

The “Connection”

Examples: “Frank Calhoun, The Suite Connection”; “Marcus Albertson, your Celebrity Seat Connection”; or something similar.

A talent or hobby you have

It may or may not coincide with the sport or team you represent, but it’s something you could be known for: “Bass Master”, “Piano Man” or “Surf Dude”.

Something your last name sounds like that is well-known.

My last name, Guertin, “rhymes with thirteen”.  Other examples: Dave Mack, “like the truck”; Brian Aniston, “like the actress”, or Ron Torsche, “sounds like Porsche”.

Consider adding something to your name to improve your Memorability with others.  If it’s done right, it can work for you!

P.S.  Here’s a fun idea: Take this article to your next sales meeting or morning gathering with your co-workers, and take turns brainstorming potential name ideas for each other.  You’ll get ideas from others that you would never have considered on your own!

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5 Responses to Why Can’t Anyone Remember Your Name?

  1. Tiffany H. September 30, 2009 at 11:47 pm #

    Thanks for the useful tips. I guess I'm Tiffany H. now; last name is kinda tricky!

  2. Tim Newman October 1, 2009 at 6:17 am #

    Excellent advice! I will be sharing this with my students and I think we all might come up with some cool new names!

  3. Eneko October 8, 2009 at 2:05 am #

    What about if your name is uncommon on a positive way? like a Hawaian name or a name in Spanish? isnt that easier to memmorize? My name is in Basque and people likes it so much/dont get it at all that makes me to repeat it twice, they never forget about it (it is easy to pronounce too..)

  4. jigreeFaisres December 10, 2009 at 6:06 pm #

    I am always searching for brand-new posts in the net about this theme. Thanks!!

  5. Mackenzie Hilton August 24, 2010 at 9:33 am #

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