What to do When You Forget People’s Names, Part III

when you forget people's namesNo matter how hard you work at it, you will occasionally forget people’s names when you are networking fce-to-face. In the past two blogs, I examined how to best remember names and why you may forget. Today, I share what to do when all your planning and preparation fail you.

Adapt these hints to your networking style and use the ones that work best for you.


  • Dart a quick, unobtrusive glance at the person’s nametag, if s/he is wearing one.
  • Be honest and say you forgot. Most people will appreciate your honesty.
  • Make an opening remark like: “Joe, glad you joined us. We are discussing health care reform. Do the two of you know each other?” Then pause. It is likely the two will introduce each other … and save you from embarrassment.
  • Joke about it. “I read that memory is the first thing to go, and mine seems to have left momentarily! Would you refresh me with your name?” or “I’m sorry. I’ve misfiled your name in my memory bank.”
  • Review list of attendees if available ahead of time. It will help to have the names implanted in your mind.
  • Set a good example. When you notice someone pausing when introducing you, extend your hand and say your name. The favor undoubtedly will be returned!

Check Breakthrough Networking: Building Relationships That Last for many more networking tips, techniques and strategies.

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