Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Introductions are easier by email

Now you know I'm all for the whole face to face talking thing, don't let the blogging thing fool you...I'm all for direct communication. When my phone rings it makes me all happy and stuff, just seeing that little name flash flash flash on the screen makes me all warm inside. Like Mmmm, someone wants to talk to meeee, they want to hear my sparkley little voice, I wonder...what quirky way can I answer their call today? Same when the doorbell rings, as long as it's not the god squad or an ambassador for tea towels and double glazing.

The best thing about being a newly employed person is that people want to talk to you, they come shuffling up to your desk and instead of saying 'Where are the padded envelopes', they ask your name, how you're getting on, all those pleasantly nice sort of things. They also tend to tell you who they are, which is wonderful great splendida, especially when they say something like 'So if you need any help, can't find this or that, or blah blah blah...just give me a shout!'

Then off they toddle all nice and secure in the fact they've brought their proverbial chocolate cake to the new office neighbour and you're like wooo yeah, strike one, I've got myself a buddy!

A buddy called....

And that's where it all goes a bit hazy for me, really. I cannot remember anyone's name, it's like the split second they tell me, it's gone again. Before they've even walked away, I've filed it away with long division, algebra, the periodic table and my 4, 6, 8, 9 and 12 times table (yeah whatever; so I don't know my times tables. I do English, not maths) in the Bah. Who knows? part of my brain.

Yesterday after I got the job, the woman who I'd been sat talking to for half an hour told me that when I came in the next day, I should ask for her at reception and she'd come down and get me. What I should have done really was ask for her name again, but instead I opted for Plan B; hope that she says it again, and when she didn't, Plan C, try and remember it. I couldn't. Typically, instead of ringing her and asking, I went a roundabout way and after a bit of panicking and general arrghhh, who do I ask forrrr-ing, I discovered the name of my contact.

It was Jo.

So there's that, and the fact I'm going to offend someone soon. The other day I was walking down a road near Oxford Street and someone called my name. It was a colleague from the broadcasting company who I hadn't seen since May, but had got along with quite well while I was there. We chatted for a while, and I was about to explain to my boyfriend 'Oh, Mary now works on that other TV show' by way of polite introduction, when, in the nick of time, I realised that her name wasn't Mary. I'd worked with this woman for 4 months not all that long ago, yet her name evaded me for a good 10 minutes until I checked my phone contacts and clicked who it was.

I take it I'm not alone here. I need some tips. What are the best ways to remember people's names without rushing off to find a pen and scribbling it on your arm as soon as they tell you?


Robbie said...

Perhaps she will understand the difference between a JoannE and a JoannA.

Although it was probably good you didn't ask her name because you would of been thinking to yourself "It's my name. Should be easy, just ask for me"
And then when you were at reception you would of said "Hi I'm here to meet ME."
It may of happened.

Elaine said...

I worked my way through Dr Furst's memory course a few years ago and I can now remember a list of 100 things. On rainy days I've even been known to read through a stack of Trivial Pursuit Q and A's. It was a stupid thing to do because now nobody will play with me.

If you really want to know, I'll tell you.

James Ink said...

I read once that a very good way to remember peoples names is to picture them with the characteristic of someone else you know with the same name.

For example with the name Jo, you could think of Joanna Lumley. So when you first speak to this person you imagine them with bleached blonde hair in a beehive, a fag sticking out of their mouth and imagine them pissed all the time.

The idea being next time you see them, that image comes back to you which makes you remember their name.

I think it was something like that anyway.

Rol said...

I find it best simply to address everyone I meet as either 'You' (if I like them) or 'Wanker' (if I really like them).

Not helping much, am I?

Anonymous said...

haha I like Rol's approach!

I am rubbish with names too and too lazy to learn any techniques to help me remember them. With students I just point at them - despite all my lectures to my sons about how pointing is rude.

The IT Girl said...

Argh I've done that too - actually the other day I met someone in town and they started talking to me and I could not remember for the life of me who this person was and what their name was even though I definitely knew them.

Was thinking, 'Ohmigod, PLEASE don't ask me anything awkward where I'd actually have to rack my brain even further trying to figure out who you are because sadly I DO NOT KNOW!'

Luckily they didn't. I still reckon it was someone from uni.

People call me Ella/Ellie all the time - damn well annoys me :P As for the suggestions...hmm I think writing names on your hand sounds the best bet to be honest!

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

robbie - Haha, regarding the Joanne / Joanna saga, I've got more on that later!

elaine - I want to know! I want to know! Teach me, oh wise one!

James - You'd be a stick man.

Rol - Best advice I've heard all day. Really, it is.

Reluctant - Pointing isn't rude, its effective. And very TO THE POINT. ha ha ha ha...ohhh.

It girl - Exactly the same situation as me. It's so awkward, you just think SHIT SHIT SHIT and pray they don't say anything that requires a name .


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