Remembering Names

Monday, August 30, 2010

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)

Learning names is very important in developing personal relationships with other. Remembering names is often challenging. Try my “Clear” glue strategy for getting someone’s name to “stick” in your memory.

Commit – Commit to pay attention. Make a conscious decision to remember people's names.
When being introduced to a new person, we are often more concerned about saying our own name, or shaking hands, or what the other person looks like (or maybe even how we look). To have any chance of remembering names, you obviously must hear and understand the person's name when they say it. This takes conscious effort and may require some practice.

Look and Listen--Look at the person. Notice physical characteristics. Is the person tall, short, large, small? Are there unusual traits? Get a strong mental image of the person. Listen clearly to the name. Ask the person to repeat his/her name if you do not hear the name clearly.

Exaggerate -- Exaggerate the images. Make them funny.

Associate -- Associate the name with an image, sound, or feeling.
If you are visual, associate the person's name with a familiar image or famous person. Jack can be pictured climbing a beanstalk. Arnold can be pictured as the “Terminator.”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt continually amazed his staff by remembering the names of nearly everyone he met. He used to imagine seeing the name written across the person's forehead.

Or create an image that links the person’s name to a physical characteristic of the person. Picture a dollar bill glued on Bill’s forehead.

If you are tuned in to sounds, make a rhyme or song using the person’s name.
Susan is a cruisin’. Larry isn’t hairy.

If you prefer to think of sensory feelings, try linking the name to the impression the person makes or to a reaction you have to the person.
Donna Pliner is a whiner.
Patty is pushy.

Repeat—Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
• Use the name immediately.
• Repeat it silently to yourself.
• Comment on the name, if possible.
• Use it occasionally in the conversation without overdoing it.
• Use it when leaving.
• Write it down afterwards.

I hope you have fun trying out these strategies!

Lincoln's Lesson

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Do you or someone you know suffer from a critical spirit? When he was a young man, Abraham Lincoln took up the habit of criticism. He wrote letters and poems ridiculing people and dropped them along country roads for others to find. Once Lincoln sent a letter to the town newspaper criticizing a politician and ended up with a life changing lesson. Lincoln had been elected to the Illinois state legislature as a Whig, and James Shields was a Democrat and the State Auditor of Illinois. When Lincoln disagreed with a proclamation Shields had issued, he put his sarcastic wit and talent together and sent a series of letters to the local newspaper. Soon others were weighing in and before long, Shields became a laughing stock in the community. Indignant at being publicly humiliated, Shields challenged Lincoln to a duel. Even though duels were illegal, the townspeople loved watching them. All politicians knew that to refuse a duel would show cowardice and would be a political dead-end, so Lincoln agreed. The young Lincoln chose his weapon, took sword fighting lessons from a West Point graduate, and on the appointed day, reported to the sandbar on the Mississippi River ready to fight to the death. The friends of the duelers sought desperately to resolve the issue peacefully. At the last minute, the 6’4” Lincoln demonstrated his obvious physical advantage by hacking away at some of the branches of a nearby tree. Finally, Shields agreed to settle their differences in a more peaceful way. After the unfortunate incident, the two became civil in their relationship and remained friends and political allies for the rest of their careers.

Embarrassed by the entire incident, Lincoln learned a valuable lesson in the art of dealing with people. Never again did he write the insulting letters. In fact, one of his favorite quotations became, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” During the Civil War when others spoke harshly of southerners, Lincoln replied, “Don’t criticize them, they are just what we would be under different circumstances.”

The next time we’re ready to criticize someone else, it would serve us well to consider how we might be under different circumstances. Or as the mid-sixteenth-century John Bradford uttered in reference to a group of prisoners being led to execution. “But for the grace of God, there go I.”

The next time we’re set on making someone else look bad or criticizing them, let’s pull out a five dollar bill, and ask, “What would Lincoln do?” Better yet, let’s ask, “What would Jesus do?”

Jesus taught the disciples how to treat others. Luke 6:26-31 tells us
27"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Proverbs 15:13 – “A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face; a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day.”

An ancient Chinese proverb sums up the importance of a smile: “A man without a smiling face must not open a shop.” A smile radiates warmth that draws people in. It sends a message of good will. The effect of a smile is so powerful that telephone companies used to train their employees to smile when they talked to customers. Your smile comes through your voice.


Have you ever studied your face? Do you look friendly? Approachable? Does your face automatically relax into a smile? Do your eyes smile? If not, practice smiling into a mirror. Raise your eyebrows to open your eyes. Then memorize the way it feels. Notice the muscles you are using. Consciously create a happy face and use it when you are around others.


Enjoy these “Smile” Quotes
• Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been. Mark Twain
• Brighten the world with your smile. - Author Unknown
• Smiles are free: don’t save them. - Author Unknown
• Smile - it makes people wonder what you’ve been up to. Author Unknown
• A smile confuses an approaching frown. - Author Unknown
• A smile is a curve that sets everything straight. - Phyllis Diller
• Start every day with a smile and get it over with. - W.C. Fields
• A smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks. - Charles Gordy
• If you smile when no one else is around, you really mean it. - Andy Rooney
• If you smile at someone, they might smile back. - Author Unknown
• Everyone smiles in the same language. - Author Unknown
• A smile is the universal welcome. - Max Eastman
• You're never fully dressed without a smile. - Martin Charnin
• It takes seventeen muscles to smile and forty-three to frown. - Author Unknown
• If you would like to spoil the day for a grouch, give him a smile. - Author Unknown
• Peace begins with a smile. - Mother Teresa
• A smile is a powerful weapon; you can even break ice with it. - Author Unknown

In the Name

Monday, August 2, 2010

Dale Carnegie asserts, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” One of the simplest ways to make people feel appreciated is by remembering names. Our name sets us apart. It makes us unique. When I was a classroom teacher, I used to play the “name game” on the first day of school. I introduced myself to a student who introduced me to another student. Each student in turn introduced himself and all the previously named students. By the end of the game, I had heard each student’s name multiple times and was able to recite everyone’s name. This simple game was the first step in developing a relationship with my students.

Remembering and honoring the names of his friends and associates was one of the keys to Andrew Carnegie’s success as a leader. He could recall many of his factor workers by name and while he was personally in charge of the steel company, there were no workman strikes. FDR took time to remember and recall the names of his staff, even the mechanics for his car.

Napoleon the Third, Emperor of France, boasted that he could recall then name of every person he met. If he didn’t hear the name distinctly, he could ask the person to repeat it. He would often ask them to spell it. During the conversation he repeated the name several times and tried to associate the name with the person’s features, expressions, and general appearance. When he was alone, he wrote down the name, concentrated on it, and then tore the paper.

Jesus knew the importance of recognizing people by their names. In John 10:3 Jesus described himself as the Good Shepherd who calls his own sheep by name. What Jesus was proclaiming was that he as our Shepherd knows us intimately. When Mary Magdalene stood sorrowfully outside the tomb after Jesus’ death, Jesus called her my name. Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher).” John 20:16. Her mourning was turned to dancing at the sound of her name. Because of his job as a tax collector, the local Jewish community would have hated Zacchaeus and yet Jesus did two things that welcomed him into the family of God: he called him by name and dined with him. Through Jesus’ example we see the importance of knowing names in order to develop relationships.

Let’s also remember that the name of Jesus is actually the sweetest name of all. His name is above every name. Thanks be to God!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth, Philippians 2:9 & 10

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