Remembering Names And Faces

“If you do not make new friends as you advance through life, you will soon find yourself alone.”

The most subtle compliment you can possibly pay any one you have recently met, is to call him by name, when you meet again. It may be a weakness in human nature that the average individual likes to be remembered and likes to hear his own name spoken. If so, it is a weakness almost universal. But the fact remains that you can make a decidedly good impression on the other fellow, by being able to call him by name. In order to do this, one must be able to remember names and faces. This ability is well worth cultivating, for it is a most valuable asset in business, as well as in the social and professional world. It is a big factor in personal acquaintance. It is a friend-winner, while the lack of it is a friend-loser.

A PRACTICAL ASSET FOR EVERY-DAY USE Remembering names and faces. is the most practicable part of memory-training and doubt-less the most valuable to the average person for every-day use. George W. Boldt—the first great hotel man in America—made the Plaza Hotel famous by applying this idea to the hotel business. He laid down the law that the employees ,who came in contact with the guests must be able to address them by name. To forget a name was the unpardonable sin in that institution. The guest who registered there was agreeably surprised to hear himself called by name as he came down on the elevator ten minutes later, and felt highly complimented when he found that every one connected with the hotel seemed to know him. As a result he stopped there always when in the city, and always the good impression was deepened by the fact that they did not forget his name during his absence, but greeted him as readily after months had intervened, as though they had seen him only yesterday. This one thing made the Plaza Hotel famous—this one thing, carried out fully as a principle of efficiency, paid big dividends.

The merchant who can call each of his customers by name has a large regular trade and plenty of good will. The. professional man who knows his clients personally and never forgets their names has many friends and a wide practice. All are agreed that such a memory is a wonderful asset, well worth striving for, and most are willing to pay the price in time, money, and effort. But how can it be acquired? That is the practical question. What practical system. or method can one ‘use to attain this desired result? What help is at hand for the ambitious? What steps lead to the goal? First of all the student must realize that remembering names and faces will require both visual and aural power.


A thousand times I have heard this remark, ” Oh, it’s easy for me to remember faces; I never forget a face, but I just can’t remember names.” Mighty little good it does in such a case to remember the face, if you can’t find the name that goes with it. One can’t say, ” How-do-youdo, Mr. Face-with-the-red-nose “—or—” Hello, Mr. Mustache,” or ” Good-afternoon, Mrs. Wart-on-the-chin.” The name is the thing ! The face is of no value to you without the name. It is astounding how many people ” simply cannot remember names.” Yet it can be done, and ability to do so can be developed to a superlative degree. Many demonstrations have been made by memory experts who have visited our lunch-eon clubs in different cities. After being introduced to fifty men who are absolute strangers to them, they were able to call each man by name, accurately, before leaving the meeting. This has been done without notes or prompting, and after hearing the name but once.

How far could the average person go in such a test 7 But when any one grumbles about a wretched memory, he simply admits that he does not know how to use the brains God gave him. We have many illustrious examples to show us what can be done. Pliny tells us that Cyrus knew the name of every soldier in his army.

Some who fail to remember names resort to little tricks or subterfuges to cover up their weakness. But this camouflage is so thin that it seldom fools anybody. The most common form is to pretend to be uncertain how the elusive name should be spelled and seek a little first-hand information on this point. ” Madam, I have forgotten the spelling of your name,” said one of these gentry. ” Will you kindly tell me just how you spell it? “Certainly said the lady, ” I spell it J-o-n-e-s.”

” Let me see,” said a forgetful Doctor, to a wealthy patient whose name he should have remembered, ” do you spell your name with an i or e ” ” Why, Doctor !” said the lady reproachfully, ” you know very well there is only, one way to spell my name—H-i-L-L.”

Other name-forgetters have become adepts at clearing the throat at the proper moment and substituting a cough -or a bark for the name. “Ah ! how-do-you-do—very glad to see you Mrs. H-M-M-Wuff-Wuff.” And when he gets through coughing he changes the subject.) All this clever ingenuity could be spent to far better advantage on a little persistent study and practice of the laws of memory. For it is to the fundamental laws and working principles already set forth in former chapters that we must turn for the answer to the question: How can we remember names and faces?






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