From Dale Carnegie — 7 Great Tips for Remembering Names

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7 Great Tips For Remembering Names

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We’ve all had this embarrassing experience: You are at a work function and see someone you clearly know, but you just can’t remember that person’s name.  And even worse is when he or she comes up to you and addresses you by your name.  What do you do?

 Ensure You Make A Good Impression

 Remembering people’s names is important, especially when it comes to building good business relationships.  You never want business associates to perceive your forgetfulness as indifference or to feel that they are not important enough for you to remember.

 Upon meeting new colleagues, employees, clients or prospects, one of the best ways to establish a good rapport is by remembering their names.  It may seem simple.  Yet in today’s fast-paced business world, where we are often distracted by a long list of to-dos, committing new names to memory can be challenging.  To help ensure you are not left scrambling, here are a few great tips to improve your name recognition skills.

 7  Tips To Help You Avoid Forgetting Names:

1.  Make A Conscious Decision To Remember – “I’m bad with names” is never a good excuse for forgetting someone’s name.  The truth is, if you want to remember a name, you will.   It just takes a little concentration.  The first step is making a conscious decision to try.

2.  Repeat, Repeat, Repeat – When you first learn a person’s name, start the memory process by repeating the name a few times silently in your head.  Using the person’s name throughout your initial conversation will also help build it into your memory.

 3.  Pay Attention To Details – Upon introduction, stop what you are doing and focus on the person’s face.   The more vividly you observe a person’s physical characteristics, the more likely you are to remember them.

 4.  Use Word Play – Rhyming and other mnemonic tricks are great tools for remembering names.  For example, try associating a person’s physical traits with a word that rhymes.  Ted is a redhead, or Shirley’s hair is curly.  Or make other associations like Dale works in sales.  Alliteration is another great memory jogger.  Say you meet someone named William who is exceptionally outgoing.  Thinking of him as “Wild Willy” will help you recall his name the next time you meet.

5.  Create A Visual Association – Using images is another great memory tool.  If the person’s name is Sandy, picture her in a beach scene, for instance.  If the person shares the same name as a celebrity, try picturing that celebrity while you speak.

6.  Be Inquisitive – Asking a question regarding the person’s name also helps the name stick in your mind.  If it’s an unusual name, ask how the name is spelled.  Or ask about the name’s origin.  Also try to fit in personal questions about the person’s hometown or family.  Establishing something you have in common increases the likelihood that you will remember that person later.

7.  If All Else Fails, Ask Again – There will be times when you forget a business associate’s name.   However, how you recover from this awkward moment is key.  There is no shame in politely asking someone to repeat their name.  Use this as an opportunity to say something positive about the person.  For example: “Yes, Dale. I understand you are leading your department in sales.”  This shows that while the name may have escaped you, the person is still someone worth remembering.


Executive Summary: Some of us have a natural ability to remember names, while others have to work at it.  If you are among those who struggle with names, you can improve your memory skills.  It just takes a little extra thought and concentration.  Making excuses for your poor memory is never a good approach.  When we recall a colleague’s name, we are essentially letting them know that they are worth remembering.  This can go a long way in building strong business relationships.

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Rhonda Abrams — 10 Small Biz Resolutions You Can Keep

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Rhonda Abrams always has excellent advice for strategic communicators. These resolutions first appeared in USA Today on Jan. 2, 2015.

What do you want to achieve in 2015 for your small business? The beginning of January is the time for New Year’s resolutions, so here are my top 10 resolutions for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

1. Focus on recurring revenue.

You may be thrilled to find any source of income, but some types of customers contribute more significantly to your long-term financial well-being. Focus foremost on customers who have the need and capacity to buy from you repeatedly rather than one-off purchasers.

2. Limit your time on social media.

Social media can eat up your day even when it’s for a business purpose. Establish a time limit—I’d say 30 minutes maximum—schedule it for a specific time each day and then click off and get back to work. To limit your time on social media, schedule your social media posts in advance using a social media management tool. We use Hootsuite. Others are Buffer andTweetDeck.

3. Put your electronic devices away.

Recent studies have shown that using an electronic light-emitting device (such as a tablet or smartphone) before you go to sleep at night significantly reduces both the quality and quantity of your sleep. You need your rest to be at your best. So if you want to relax before bed, pick up a good old-fashioned print book. (You remember those, don’t you?)

4. Get more help.

Your business may not growing sufficiently because you are trying to do too much yourself. It’s difficult to find good employees and contractors, but a great worker can truly help you grow your company significantly. Examine your operation for routine tasks that take too much of your time, and look for areas of business growth you need outside expertise to achieve.

5. Fully fund your retirement.

Sure, we all think we’re going to sell our small business one day and have enough to buy a beach house in Hawaii. But don’t bet everything on that. Instead, every year make sure you put as much money as you can in a retirement account—certainly the full amount that you can shelter from current taxes.

6. Take care of your health.

Health is basic to all our other endeavors. If your body and mind are not healthy, you won’t have the energy or capability to achieve business success. Make sure you carve out enough time to exercise, eat healthfully and get enough sleep. These are business necessities, not just personal indulgences.

7. Keep learning.

Attend conferences and workshops. Take classes. Watch instructional videos. Read. Your business depends on your brain, so make sure you are continually expanding it. The world is changing, technology is improving and your industry is evolving, so you need to know what’s going on to constantly improve your skill set.

8. Check your financial statements regularly.

In the crush of work—or from the fear of finding out bad news—many entrepreneurs hesitate to look too deeply and regularly into their financial reports: profit and loss, cash flow, aging accounts receivable and payable. Every week, perhaps on Monday or Friday, spend at least 30 minutes reviewing your financials.

9. Plan your day.

Every morning make a “to do” list and keep it in front of you. Keep it reasonable and (mostly) achievable. Use a project management tool to stay on top of your tasks. In our office, we use Asana; others use Basecamp. Use these tools not only to track your tasks, but the progress of your staff and consultants.

10. Send out your invoices.

You can’t get paid if you don’t send a bill, yet many self-employed consultants are too busy to get their invoices out on time. Better yet, accept credit card payments at the time of service or sales to eliminate invoicing.

Here’s wishing you and your small business a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015.

Copyright, Rhonda Abrams, 2015

This article originally ran in USA Today on January 2, 2015

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New year, new goals: 10 questions to ask while setting your 2015 goals

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Thanks to Eastern Michigan University’s Public Relations Student Society of America we have another great blog topic.  Here goes:

New year means new goals. New year resolutions are great if you are able to execute them by the end of the year. Having goals is a great start but actually working to accomplishing the goals is greater.The beginning of the year is a perfect time to create a list of goals for the year. Your list of goals should include all areas of your life, academic, career, relationships and personal.

(Source: Pantheon UK)

10 questions to answer while creating your 2015 goals

  1. Is the goal attainable? Can you accomplish the goal before Dec. 31, 2015?
  2. What areas or things do you need improvement in?
  3. What new activities or things have you been interested in trying?
  4. What projects are you currently working on but want to do more with?
  5. What projects have you been meaning to do but have yet to make time?
  6. What qualities in yourself would you like to obtain or improve in?
  7. What relationships or friendships do you want to repair or strengthen?
  8. What could you improve to help you raise your G.P.A. and do better academically?
  9. What can you do to make you a competitive candidate for the job promotion that you have been eyeing?
  10. What goals from 2014 weren’t accomplished that still needs to be?

Answering these questions will help steer you in the right direction while deciding on your 2015 goals. Keep in mind you should be committed to actually accomplishing these goals by year’s end. Don’t just set goals to have some. A good place to keep these goals are in note app in your phone or notebook that is with you most of the time. 

What are your 2015 goals?

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Pitching the Media

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The December issue of PRSA’s Tactics         carried a column by Anne Isenhower. Her topic “pitching.”

You can read the entire piece on Page 16. Here is her conclusion:

Here are Isenhower’s five tips for pitching:

  1. Be familiar with what journalists write and what they’ve covered recently. That’s a given – whether it’s obvious in the pitch itself or whether you spell it out – and that research will help make sure you don’t pitch them a story they’ve already written.
  2. Keep emails as short as possible. As long as you tell reporters what the news actually is, you can add more details and photos later. Some reporters won’t open anything with attachments, so don t send them in your first email.
  3. Consider your timing. Give a reporter as much lead time as possible, make sure you have a timely news hook and make sure you’re catching them at a good time of day. If you’re making an announcement on a certain date, then plan to reach out several weeks ahead of that date to let them know.
  4. Reporters like to write about people. If you don’t have a human-interest story to share, then go find one.
  5. Reporters receive hundreds – If not thousands – of emails each day, so catch their attention by summing up the whole story in the headline and personalize it.

Anne Isenhower is a national and global media relations consultant based in Atlanta.

Larry Litwin’s The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook for (all) Strategic Communicators goes in depth on “pitching” in its Chapter 9 – Media Relations. See www dot larry litwin dot com.

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