A Small Skill That Will Bring You Great Rewards

Andrew Carnegie knew it. Dale Carnegie taught it. John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton perfected it. Geno Rice used it to become the most popular bartender at the Right Track Inn. What is it? The ability to remember names. It may seem cosmologically wrong that such a simple little habit could have such a profound effect, but there’s no question that you’ll be much better at winning friends and influencing people if you address them by their names.

Pay attention to the most well-liked people you know. (I’m not talking about the most respected, the most admired, or the most feared. I’m talking about those who are the most liked.) You will almost certainly discover that they are good at remembering — and using — personal names.

How good are you at this powerful little skill? A master? Just competent? Less than competent? I myself am a dunderhead (dunce, blockhead, numbskull) when it comes to this. And there is no telling what it has cost me. So I’m adding this to my list of New Year’s resolutions (and suggest that you do the same): to master this little art.

I’m going to try these two techniques to remember everyone’s name every time:

1. To make some mental association with the person’s name the moment I hear it. For example, to hear “Peter Romano” and think “Italian” and “cheese.”

2. To then use the name at least three times during our initial conversation. Make-Friends-and-Influence-People Bonus: Make it a habit to address people you’re talking to with their first names. As Dale Carnegie said, there is no sweeter sound to anyone’s ears than the sound of his own name being spoken.

[Ed. Note.  Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]