As our work in schools continues to expand, one thing is becoming clearer. This is that each child wants us to remember their names. Remembering someone’s name is such a wonderful sign of their importance to us. It boosts their self-esteem and can be a real confidence-booster for the person who has great recall of the names to go with the faces.
Maybe when your energy is low, and your spirit low too, you may find, like me, that your memory goes to mush. I need help, do you too?
In our well-being community here at Moodscope, I wondered if a little reminder of how memory works would be a welcome boost to our own self-esteem and self-confidence. I certainly catch many of my friends and connections berating themselves when they forget things. ‘Knowing the answer,’ is a great state to be in.
I’d like to share my simple strategy for remembering the names that go with faces. To make this easier, let’s use a reminder word: FACES where each of the letters is a key part of the overall strategy.
‘F’ is for ‘Focus’. As soon as we become distracted, or start thinking about what we want to say, we cease to be focused ‘in the moment’ when we could be registering and imprinting the memory of the person’s name. Giving the person our undivided attention is the essential foundation. If you’d like an alternative ‘F’ word, it really, really helps if you ‘Fancy’ them!
‘A’ is for ‘Association’ – specifically an association with their name (rather than what they look like or remind you of.) If they look like a Bulldog, that won’t help you recall their name. Sometimes I lead by example, “Hi, my name is ‘Lex’ – as in ‘Lex Luthor’!” Who would you like your name to be associated with? Is there a famous actress or actor who has the same name?
‘C’ is for ‘Chorus’ – to chorus or repeat their name out loud as soon as possible. This helps imprint it and also enables you to check your pronunciation. As this point, I will sometimes ask them what their name means. This gives more ‘hooks’ to remember them by, like mental Velcro.
‘E’ is for ‘Emphasis’. This is the private stage that you won’t share. Imagine being a cartoonist. What features would you exaggerate in a cartoon portrayal of them? It’s also for ‘Engage’ because the more time you spend asking them about themselves, the deeper and stronger will be the imprint upon your memory.
‘S’ is for ‘Smile’… because you’ll sometimes get the memory association wrong and will call the person by a hilarious name that makes perfect sense given the way you were making associations. I know of a headmaster who called a staff member ‘Mrs Wyatt’ for six months before she plucked up the courage to correct him. “My name, Headmaster, is ‘Mrs Earp’!”
What strategies do you use to remember what you need to recall?
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