You're walking down the hall, and a familiar face approaches, smiling at you in recognition. You start to panic as you hear your name. Your brain scrambles and fails to give you that critical info:
What's their name?
Forgetting someone's name happens to everyone. The more pressing concern is:
How do you bounce back? How should you respond and make sure you don't offend the person?
Honesty Really Is The Best Policy
"Honesty is the fastest way to prevent a mistake from turning into a failure."
If it's someone you've only met once or twice, it might be easier to own up.
Keep it simple, don't drag it out. Say: "I'm sorry, I've just gone completely blank."
Sweeten the deal by mentioning what you do remember about them, "You pitched a great idea at the sales meeting last week when we met."
Emphasize that you haven't forgotten the person, "Of course I remember you, but your name has slipped my mind..."
Bill runs into a colleague at work but can't remember their name. Which of the following would be the best response?
Who Am I?
If they haven't greeted you by name, it's a golden opportunity!
Reintroduce yourself, add some context, and they will do the same.
Jill bumps into a familiar face at the copy machine but can't recall their name. She considers responding in the following ways:
A - Hi, I'm Jill, and I work in HR; we met at the training seminar last week.
B - Hi, I'm Jill, we met last week. What's your name?
C - Hi, I'm Jill; it's good to see you again.
D - Hi, I'm Jill. I forgot your name.
Which of the above responses is the most suitable for Jill to reintroduce herself?
If you have met several times, it is probably not a good idea to ask for their name. Instead:
Prompt your memory by adding some context to the face. Try: "It's been too long. When was the last time we met?"
Ask for a business card.
Hand them your phone and ask them to enter their email or contact details.
Or, fall back on this trick from lifehack.org.
If you're lucky enough to have a third person pass by and you know their name, say:
"Why don't you introduce yourself to Dave?"
If you don't know either name, try:
"Why don't you say hello to each other?"
Don't try to guess the name!
The only thing worse than forgetting someone's name is calling them by someone else's!
Don't get informal or inappropriate!
Refrain from using unsuitable terms to address colleagues, such as dude, dear, darling, sweetie, etc.
Now that you have some savvy tips to help you save face:
And remember, even if you do forget a name...