You go to networking events to meet people, but how do you remember them after you head home after a few glasses of wine? Remembering names can be difficult all on its own. When you meet a ton of people at the same time, that problem only gets worse. However, there are a few things you can do to help make sure you remember everyone you meet and all that small talk and handshaking doesn't go to waste.
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Repeat Someone's Name in Conversation
When someone introduces themselves to you, try repeating their name a few times in conversation. "That's really impressive, Sally." or "Bob, it was great to meet you!" Repeating the person's name in conversation will help reinforce their name in your memory.
Ask For a Business Card
After you're done chatting with someone, ask if they have a card. Their business card will have their name on it (in case you've managed to forget it already), as well as what they do (in case you've forgotten that part as well).
Make sure you head to the event with a pocket full of cards yourself as well. Even if you're between jobs, you'll want to have cards on hand with your contact info to pass out to people you meet. You never know when you'll meet someone that could lead to your next big thing.
Take Some Notes For Later
Did you and Bob have an interesting chat about Game of Thrones? Did Sally have a great suggestion on how to train your troublesome puppy? Try jotting down a brief note about each person you meet on their business card. It's typically best to do that after you've walked away, but I've definitely jotted things down on cards in front of people as well, playing it off by joking that it's a tidbit I definitely want to remember (although that's exactly why I'm doing it). A small note about what you talked about can be a great way to differentiate between the three guys named John you met when you come home with a stack of 100 cards at the end of the night.
Forget Someone's Name Already?
If you're still at the event and have already forgotten someone's name, try introducing them to someone else. There's a ton of different ways to do this without letting on that you've forgotten the first person's name. When you introduce the mystery person to someone else, they will likely tell that person their name, giving you another chance at remembering it.
"Have you met Sarah?" or "You two should definitely meet" are simple enough statements that end in that much-needed name repeat. Even if they do know each other, chances are good they will respond with something like "Oh, [mystery-name person] and I have known each other for years!"
Email The Next Day
Someone suggested this to me years ago, and I was embarrassed I hadn't thought to do it sooner. The day after the event, email everyone you met that you think you might want to be in contact with again and simply tell them it was nice to meet them. If you made a note about your conversation, now is a good time to bring that up as well. Keep things super short and sweet. A good format for these is this:
It was a pleasure meeting you last night at the young professionals networking event. I enjoyed hearing about your work at Netflix and hope we can connect again soon. Enjoy your trip to Ireland!
Besides just being a classy professional move, the email can serve a number of purposes:
- Now the recipient remembers meeting you as well. They probably met 100 people last night too and now you stand out from the pack.
- Now you have a line of communication open with that person where you can continue any conversations you had the night before.
- Six months from now when you're thinking "Who was that woman I met that works at Netflix?" you can search through your inbox for "Netflix" and find not only her name but how you know her. Now when you email her, it won't seem totally out of the blue and you can remind her where you met and include a personal detail. For instance, you could ask Sally how her trip to Ireland was.
Have some tips of your own for remembering new people? Share your tips in the comments!