Manner Monday: Holiday Parties and Remembering Names

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Every Monday Blogging4Jobs invites our resident Etiquette Expert, CareySue Vega (@Etiquette101), to share tips when it comes to etiquette in the workplace during our own Manner Monday segment. This segment is for the practitioner who is focused on creating a more etiquette-friendly environment. 

A reader sent an email in anticipation of all of the upcoming Christmas and Holiday parties…

“I’m dreading the upcoming holiday parties, because it is difficult for me to remember people’s names. What should I do if I forget the name of someone I’ve already met, like the guy who works down in accounting? And how can I remember the name of someone new who I just met?” – Beth

Remembering names is tough.  There are a few lucky folks who have a knack for it, but for most of us… we’re left scrambling, trying to remember just before we end up stammering ‘hey you’.

Obviously is nametags are involved, you are in luck as you can sneak a peak – if they’ve written legibly and placed it in an easy place to see.

If no nametags are involved; yes, you’re in a bit of a predicament.   If I haven’t seen someone in awhile, I always start off the greeting by ‘self-introducing’ myself.  As I approach the person, I stick out my hand to initiate a handshake and say, “Hi, I’m Carey Sue, it’s great to see you again.”  That action is usually met with them doing the same in return.  If they don’t immediately offer up their name and you’re still drawing a blank.  Step up to the plate, and ‘admit it’.  Say something along the lines of ‘I am completely drawing a blank, please remind me of your name.’  If you try to beat around the bush, it’s going to be obvious and you’ll look like a goof.

Some people recommend repeating the persons name three times during the conversation, but I tend to find that a little creepy.  To hear my name repeated over and over seems a bit awkward in the natural flow of a conversation.  Others recommend name association tricks, which tends to work better for me.

After you’ve made it past the name, you’re ready for some polite conversation.  Don’t forget to ask open-ended questions to get the other person talking.  I recently heard someone give the great advice of asking at least three questions of the other person before even thinking about spilling your elevator speech! The more they talk – the better you look!

Don’t let the fear of forgetting someone’s name keep you from having a good time at the company party. Forgetting names happens to each and every one of us; just don’t let it happen on a regular basis to the same person!

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