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Ask Dan
Q.
As I get older, I'm getting worse at remembering names and faces. Are there any tips that can help me avoid committing embarrassing faux pas?

A.
Studies show that about 85 percent of middle-aged and older adults have a hard time remembering the names or faces of new acquaintances. Some recall the name but cannot put a face to it, while others recognize the face but fail to identify the name. It's often frustrating, but there are several techniques you can use to improve your recall.

First, pay close attention to the person's name when you are introduced, repeating it several times to yourself while looking at his or her face. Once you learn the name, find a way to repeat it early and often in conversation. For example, asking "Sue, what is it that you do?" or "Steve, what do you like best about your job?" will help strengthen the mental link between the name and face.

Next, note something about each person that reminds you of things you have in common, such as a city you've both lived in, a song you enjoy, or a hobby you share. In addition, try linking him or her with things of the same name. For example, you might connect Austin with the city in Texas, Lily with the flower, and Bruce with Bruce Wayne, aka Batman. The more articles you associate with the names, the easier they will be to remember. By using these techniques, you won't have to worry as much about saving face the next time you catch yourself trying to remember one. E



Dan Lumpkin, organizational psychologist, is the president of management-consulting company Lumpkin & Associates in Fairhope, AL. Need answers? Email your career-related questions to askdan@exhibitormagazine.com.
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