Today’s guest blog post comes to us from Mike Stack, the Area Manager of Dale Carnegie Training® for Oregon & SW Washington. He has been with Dale Carnegie since 1985.

I recently took a pair of my favorite dress shoes into (New Shoes in Tigard, Oregon) to get the worn down heals replaced. It seems like I take a pair in at least once a year. When the store owner took in the shoes he smiled and said, “Nice to see you again,” I was surprised he recognized me since it’s a once a year deal for me and he had four others in the shop. I was impressed. When I picked up my shoes a few days later – which looked brand new by the way – I gave the owner my claim slip where my name was printed at the top. He looked at my claim skip, looked back at me and said “Hi Mike, let me get those for you.” My name was printed on the top of the claim slip and was in plain view, but he took that extra step of calling me by name which I did like. I recommend Don to anyone needing shoes repaired. He cares about his customers and does excellent work.

Why did Don make an impact on me? A Dale Carnegie principle from his book How To Win Friends and Influence People states: “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” It’s true for me, and I know it is true for you! We like our name.

I have been blessed to be a trainer for The Dale Carnegie Course for just over 25 years and we begin each course with tools for remembering names. I ask the same question at the beginning of every course I teach which is “Who here says they are horrible at remembering names?” The majority of hands in the room always go up. Remembering names is a challenge for most of us. If we tell ourselves we are bad at something it can become a self fulfilling prophecy. We need to have the right attitude for remembering names. Here are a few quick things you can do to remember names:

You have to want to remember the person. The tools for names will be easier.

  • Tell yourself that it’s like you to remember names and that you are good at remembering names.
  • Stop thinking about yourself when meeting someone new and focus on them (you already know and like your name; you don’t need to remember that). Get a good visual impression.
  • Try repeating their name if you can by first confirming you have it correct, then repeating the name several times in your mind. If possible, introduce the person to someone else.
  • The strongest, and yet for some most difficult, tool to use is to create a mental image or association of the person.

Remembering names is a skill. It’s a skill that takes time for most of us to get better at doing. It is like any skill activity: fly fishing, golf, tennis, mountain climbing, or knitting; these are all things that need practice.

One social benefit is that others will consider you a genuine person because you took the effort and time to remember their name.

The benefit in business is showing your customer or prospective customer you care about them as a person, not just a new account. People like to do business with those they know, they like, they trust or are friends. We remember our friends’ names.

Make it a goal of yours in 2012 to remember just one new person’s name a week. This is not an all or nothing deal. Start slowly, build your confidence, and you too can develop brand and customer loyalty.

When people take the time to remember us, we remember them and their organizations. Remembering a customer or client’s name may be your best form of advertising.

Make 2012 your best year to date!

Dale Carnegie Training helps individuals improve key soft skills such as: Communications and Presentations, people skills, transformational leadership, sales, and management. The goal is for individuals to take these new performance shifts back to their organizations and improve the overall performance of the company. Dale Carnegie Training has been in business since 1912 with over 8 million graduates, and Ruby’s Director of Culture, Sarah Sackett, recently completed the course — we highly recommend it!