I Don't Remember Your Name
Right now, I'm at PPAI Expo, the premier trade show in the promotional products industry, where about 15,000 of my industry colleagues are learning, networking, finding new ideas and having a little fun.
I have a connection with probably as many as 2,500 people from previous events and seminars. On Monday, I met at least 400 new people who were attending one of the sessions I'm giving. I'll meet more at networking events throughout the week.
I will have immediate recall of only about 150 names.
I'm not alone, everyone has some level of facial recognition, but the name refuses to come to mind. So we look for the badge. If the badge is visible as they approach me, I'm golden. But if not, it's "hi there" and "hey, long time no see." Then it is the awkward pause as they realize I can't remember their name but are kind enough not to embarrass me while they are thinking, "I can't believe you can't remember my name."
Names are important, and I feel bad when I can't remember a name when I see someone. I have gotten pretty good at telling people when I can't remember their name although I don't do it enough because I feel like I should remember everyone's name.
Well, I can't. I admit I don't remember everyone's name. I barely remember my cousin's kids' names and I see them more often than I see you. I struggle with my kids' friends' names, even though they run through my house like they own it.
So if you're at PPAI Expo and you see me, be nice. Wear your badge or even hold it up for me to see your name as you approach me. Or when you say "Hi Dale," add something like, "It's me, Gene, your CEO" or "It's me, Paul, the CEO of PPA"—anything to help me avoid that awkward moment of not remembering your name.
One parting thought to try to give this post some value. When you like a post, comment on a post or specifically mention someone on any social media site, you create a stronger connection. The names I do remember are the people I interact with on a regular basis whether in person or online. So do me, and yourself, a favor, and be engaging online so I (and others) can remember your name.