Why can I remember golf shots, yet can’t remember names?

After my regular Sunday round of golf with my pals, we sat in the clubhouse, just as we have for the past 30 years, and we had a few beers and recounted the great, and more often the ‘not so great’ shots. I asked one of them, “What did you hit on the 3rd?”  He immediately came back with, “It was playing 165; I pushed a 6 iron into the greenside bunker on the right but made a great up and down”.  For any non-golfers, basically he had one bad shot; one good bunker/sand shot and sank the putt for a par, a good score, certainly in our group anyway. Then he added, “I finally birdied the 11th, first time ever!  I decided to take a 3 wood off the tee this time, then hit a nice 5 wood and had 110 yd.’s left, hit a lovely wedge over the bunker to 5 feet and sank the putt”.  Then he said to me, “Bob, why is it I can walk you through every shot I made today, yet I forget someone’s name two minutes after I’m introduced to them?”

So I told him.  The easy answer is focus, visualization and your love of the game. Every shot you take, whether it’s 75 or 105 of them, you spend maybe 10 seconds over the ball, and you are totally committed, totally focused, and you are ‘visualizing’ what you want the ball to do (or not do), and every other thought has been pushed from your mind. I asked him, “How focused are you when you are introduced to someone?  How committed are you to remembering their name?  How much visualization are you using when you meet someone?”

Because this is the problem.  When we are introduced to someone, we don’t ‘forget’ his or her name; we often don’t even ‘hear’ it!  We have zero focus and visualization happening….we are often more concerned about ourselves, how do I look, can I add anything to the conversation, am I going to embarrass myself?  So the key to remembering names, just as on the golf course, is focus and visualization…….and try to develop a love for remembering names.  Believe me, it will have an impact on your business.

In my names and faces keynote, I increase the audience recall of faces placed on the screen by 300-400% by using these simple techniques:

  •  A wonderful tip for ensuring that you ‘hear’ the name, is to spell the name in your head. It doesn’t matter if you spell it correctly or not, the conscious act of spelling the name forces you to hear it, because let’s face it, if you don’t hear the name, nothing in the world is going to help you.
  •  If it is an unusual name, ask the person to spell it, ask a question or two, what is the background, the derivation of the name.
  •  Use the name once or twice in the conversation, don’t go crazy, just once or twice where appropriate.
  •  Finally, use the name when leaving the conversation.

Then, just as in the clubhouse when we recall our golf shots, mentally go over the names of people you have met, input the important ones into your phone, even look them up on social media and place their photo alongside and review them, first weekly, then once a month.  Before long, with practice, you will have a scratch handicap on how to remember names.

Funny, unique and interactive in his entertaining conference keynotes and workshops, Bob Gray reveals the untapped potential in each of us. His empowering systems and their many applications in the business world give participants immediate ‘walk away’ value. Book Bob Gray today as your next conference keynote speaker.  Watch Bob in action.