Remember me?

Okay, how many of you have been here?  You’re at a business event and someone is coming over to talk to you.  This is a person you have met not once, but at least twice, and should know their name.  You lean over to your colleague and say “What is the name of the woman in the blue jacket approachingus” hoping they will save the day, only to hear your colleague say “I can’t remember.”  Now, you panic!

Or, you’re in a restaurant, and a person that you used to know 15 years ago from the Ice Age, approaches you.
They look at you and just start talking.
No, they don’t say “hello, I’m Jane Doe.
We used to do advertising together.”
What they DO is say “You don’t remember me, do you?”  You nervously fumble and then the hot flashes immediately take over.  You can feel your face getting red.  To make it worse, they
say very slowly and condescendingly “J…a…n…e…?” and stare at you,
waiting for you to remember the name.   Then they finish it off with “D…o…e…”


If you’re wondering if the Jane Doe story is real, it is!


Here are a few Remembering names and protocol tips:


  • Never be a Jane Doe.  If someone doesn’t remember your name, come to their rescue immediately. Extend your hand, smile and say your name.
    Never say “You don’t remember my name, do you?”
  • If you can’t remember someone’s name, put him or her at ease rather than focusing on your
    own embarrassment.  Shake their hand, smile and say your name.  The other person will then say his or her name.
  • Use the person’s name in conversation.  Use it often.  Repetition builds memory.  “So, Terry, how long have you been in your current position?  It was nice to meet you, Terry.  Hope to see you again soon.”  Also, people like to hear their name.  It puts a personal touch on your
  • Use a personal connection.  If their name is Jane Doe, do you have someone close or related to you named Jane?  It’s a great remembering names technique.
  • Focus more on the other person than yourself.  Pay close attention when you meet them and when you say goodbye.  Again, use their name.


Just in case, my name is L…e…a…h…?  ——— H…a…w…t…h…o…r…n.


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avatar About Leah Hawthorn

Leah Hawthorn is a certified business image & etiquette coach, training facilitator for The Defense Acquisition Universities, Senior College Fellowship. She trains frequently for WPAFB and is a Master Trainer for the Protocol School of Washington. Ms. Hawthorn works to facilitate change by improving individual and corporate images as well as Business Etiquette/ Social Intelligence Skills, and will be sharing her etiquette tips here on Dayton in her column "Getting The Edge on Etiquette". Check out her business website - ABI, Advanced Business Image & Etiquette.