Names and Faces

by Lindsay

Names and faces cause me all sorts of problems.  Not only do I have trouble recognizing faces, but also when meeting someone for the first time, I am so focused on smiling and eye contact and speaking clearly and my handshake, etc. that I often forget to listen to the person’s name.  This can, obviously call all kinds of problems in both work and social settings.

I have developed a few things that help, to some extent.  First, I try to find something particular distinct about the person’s face, such as a scar, or the shape of the nose, etc.  (Hair is often the most distinguishing thing, but, particularly with women, it may change on a fairly regular basis.)  Then I write this down on an index card, along with the person’s name, work title, etc. and the circumstances in which I met them (such as, introduced by my boss in his office on the west side of the first floor).  The act of writing it down can help me remember, and I can review the cards if I know that I’ll be in a situation where I will run into them.

The other thing that I try to do is write down anything about their personal life that they mention, and try to review this every now and then as well.  This way, if I run into someone and I don’t remember his name or meeting him before, once I am told his name, I can ask about that, to show that I didn’t totally forget them.  For example, I can ask about his new grandson or how his Labrador is doing, etc.

What other things do you do to try and deal with names and faces?  Any good stories about a time you messed up, or finally got it right?

August 6, 2009       Posted in: Life
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