To be called by one’s name is to be known. And to be known is one of our deepest desires and most basic needs. This is why remembering and then greeting a person by name is so powerful and affirming.
As a follow-up to my last post (click here) the question is “how do we remember names when our memories can be so inadequate?” The following are some of the “secrets” I learned from Neil Atkinson and still use today to make this a reality.
First anyone can remember names. It just requires motivation. And part of the motivation is to do it for the right reasons – to know and affirm another person.
Second, when I meet someone for the first time I focus on their name and their face so I can connect the two.
Third, I intentionally use their name every chance I can in that first conversation. Repetition does wonders for the memory.
Fourth, I write down the person’s name and some features about them or the conversation that will help my recall. If I have a photo (we used year books in Young Life and today I use staff photos & become friends of Facebook) I will put their name and notes near their photo. There’s also software available that will help in this step.
Five, I will review these notes when it’s possible I will see that person again. This step also gives me an opportunity to pray for these new friends.
Finally I will use their name every time I see them.
This is all it takes to remember another person’s name. It requires the motivation, putting the other person first in your mind and a bit of discipline. The result will be that you will provide another person the experience of being known and thus affirmed. Not a bad outcome for a little memory exercise.