Do you struggle to remember the names of so many individuals with whom you come in contact on a daily basis. Some executives study remember-that-name books and those techniques do work occasionally.
What is their goal? These leaders want their associates to know that although each is maintaining a fast pace, they are cared for, held in esteem, and are worthy.
Can one can accomplish the same connection without the pressure to remember names, but instead with the pleasure of sincere eye contact?
In First Impressions, What You Don’t Know About How Others See You, authors Ann Demarais, Ph.D. and Valerie White, Ph.D. describe visual connections like this:
Eye contact is a clear indication of interest, especially in American culture. We normally look others in the eye most of the time we are talking to them. The rest of the time we may be looking at their mouths, other parts of their faces, or briefly away. If you know your own eye-contact pattern, you are in a position to control the messages you want to send. If you want to show interest, you can hold your gaze longer, even just a fraction of a second longer than normal. Most people are very aware of being looked at and will feel this small difference getting the message that you like them or find them appealing.
I know from my years of teaching networking workshops, that the main reason you might forget names is that you are distracted by what you are going to say to this person, thus focusing on yourself rather than the individual with whom you are speaking. It would be so simple to just change your focus to them!
A small percentage of communication takes place via the words you speak.The balance of non-verbal communication lies in bodily movement and that includes your visual connection. According to Demarais and White, it only takes four seconds to make a first impression. In the first few moments of a conversation, what do you think would be most effective – looking the individual directly in his eye or mumbling about your inability and sorrow over forgetting his name?
This week, release your inner pressure to remember names. Focus instead on a deeper form of recognition and communication that you care — look deeply into the artwork of each individual’s eyes. You can reap rich rewards for both you and the person who’s name you cannot remember by know how this simple eye contact technique affects him. Enjoy your discoveries and have a grand week.