It was the summer of 1997. I had just moved to Los Angeles from Nashville to pursue a sales gig in the electronics industry.
A guy named David Jacks had started this company I would be working with called Zephyrtronics. David was like Matt Damonâ€™s character in the movie Good Will Hunting but with heat instead of math. He just understood heat. He had created a â€œwalk on waterâ€ type piece of equipment that would let any engineer or technician solder or desolder the same spot on a circuit board with zero damage to the board or the electronic component.
I donâ€™t expect you to give a rip about that, but itâ€™s important to know because we got a LOT of attention at every trade show we demonstrated at. It was amazing.
We would get tons of leads from the trade shows and then my job was to go out and demonstrate the product onsite and close the deals.
In the first couple months, David went with me so I could see how exactly he wanted his product sold.
At one point, we found ourselves in a Los Angeles Hughes Aerospace facility. We were led up to a conference room for the presentation by a receptionist. The door opened and I couldnâ€™t believe it. Itâ€™s like we were rock stars or something. There were 40 engineers in attendance that wanted to see this product work and each of them with their own problematic circuit board in hand.
I watched David introduce himself to each of the 40 engineers, shake their hand and thank them for taking the time.
Hereâ€™s the rub. When we were done with the presentation, David went around to each of the 40 engineers looked them in the eye, shook their hand, and thanked each one again using their names!
He remembered everyoneâ€™s name!
It was one of the most impressive things I had ever seen. Clearly, the engineers felt the same way because they were so blown away that somebody said something about it out loud in the room.
David just smiled and said something demure.
Turns out David was also a genius at networking strategies too. On the ride back to the office he shared some of the hacks he used to pull this off.
I think it was Mia Angelo that said, â€œPeople wonâ€™t remember what you said or even so much how you looked, but they will remember how you made them feel.â€
Thatâ€™s what weâ€™re going to cover today. Iâ€™m going to give you 5 different memory hacks that are rather easy to do but hard to remember to execute.
Itâ€™s not easy, but when you get into the habit of this 5-step hack, youâ€™ll forget youâ€™re even doing it. Whenever you meet someone for the first time and remember their name, youâ€™ll always make them feel good.
Nothing is sweeter than the sound of your own name.
The hardest part will be committing to the discipline of these little tricks but itâ€™s a game changer.
Itâ€™s called the CHARM method. I know, appropriate, right?
The â€œCâ€ in CHARM stands for â€œCareâ€.
People donâ€™t care how much you know until they know how much you care. There are a million singer/songwriter/artists who are way better than you so if you think someone is going to be blown away by your talent and completely devote their lives to your success, youâ€™re delusional.
There has to be more. They will need to feel like you care about them.
Itâ€™s hard to get people to feel like you give a crap about them, their career, their family, their well-being when you donâ€™t care enough to remember their name.
David Jacks blew away 40 engineers and myself because he cared enough to remember all the names. Nobody wouldâ€™ve faulted him for not remembering 40 names but EVERYONE was impressed when he did.
Not remembering and nobody would care one way or the other because thatâ€™s a lot of names.
But going through the work of remembering and Iâ€™ll bet those 40 engineers will never forget him.
Thatâ€™s what we want.
The â€œHâ€ stands for â€œHearâ€.
This is the hardest part for me. If youâ€™re talking to yourself, inside your head strategizing a response at the same time youâ€™re supposed to be listening for their name, youâ€™re going to miss the name.
In Stephen R. Coveyâ€™s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Individuals heâ€™s quoted as saying, â€œMost people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply.â€
This is so tricky for me because my mind goes at a million miles per hour, but when I am disciplined and LISTENING for their name, I remember it.
Sheesh, itâ€™s so bloody simple to do but hard to implement because we must be intentional about doing it.
Iâ€™ll bet youâ€™ve complained a million times about how you canâ€™t remember this or that and you blame your retention.
But the problem isnâ€™t your retention itâ€™s your attention.
You werenâ€™t listening when it was happening you were â€œbouncing off the wallsâ€ as my dad would say so you never really received the information to begin with.
Just be silent and listen. Is it a coincidence that â€œsilentâ€ and â€œlistenâ€ are an anagram? I think not.
The â€œAâ€ in CHARM stands for â€œAskâ€.
I love asking people about their name. You can ask where the name is from, what does it mean, how do you spell it, who were they named after, etc.
This is one of my favorite gestures because you learn from the person you just met. It gets them talking about themselves, which is always a winner. They get to very briefly tell you why their special because they were named after so and so or they have a unique spelling.
PLUS, you get to hear the name a couple more times. This is always a biggie for me because like I said, inevitably the first time I was talking to myself in my head and didnâ€™t hear it.
The â€œRâ€ stands for â€œRepeatâ€.
After you hear the name for the first time, repeat it back to them to make sure you heard it correctly. Sometimes youâ€™re in a loud room or there is a lot going on and you want to ensure you have it down. It would suck to have a long conversation with Chad and then say, â€œGoodbye, Bradâ€.
Just asking a person if youâ€™re pronouncing it correctly is a warm gesture.
I also will mentally repeat their name 5 times in my head. This helps it to sink in.
So, use this and use it often but donâ€™t use it too often out loud. If you abuse it youâ€™ll sound disingenuous.
VALUE BOMB: I intentionally try to pepper in a personâ€™s name in a conversation even if I already have a relationship with them. People love to hear their name. Iâ€™ve found myself drifting off in the middle of a conversation and being pulled back in at the sound of my name.
It reminds me I have to pay attention now. This is a super effective strategy.
The â€œMâ€ stands for â€œMarkerâ€.
This is the main trick David used with those 40 Hughes Aerospace Engineers.
He told me as he shook each of their hands and repeated their names out loud, he did 2 other things.
One was to mentally repeat their names 5 times.
And the other sounds crazy but try it! Itâ€™s astounding how well it works.
He imagined their names, with the correct spelling written on their forehead with a marker. I recommend that you imagine that marker in your favorite color.
We remember what we see more than what we hear.
Youâ€™ve never forgotten a face and remembered a name.
Many U.S. Presidents have used this method to recall names.
It took me about 6 months of haphazard execution but I got pretty good at it.
Since then, I must admit, Iâ€™ve fallen off a bit and I find it personally embarrassing.
Itâ€™s fair to say Iâ€™m writing this article as much for me as I am for you. Iâ€™m kicking my own butt!
Be intentional about it. This is a self-discipline tactic that will require a little extra brain power but it will serve you for the rest of your life.
I want you to win.
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