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When you’re meeting a group of new people, especially in the context of a business meeting, you want to put your best foot forward. One easy way to look like you’re the smartest person in the room is to simply learn everyone’s name.
Using people’s names in conversation is a long-known management technique. If you’re able to do it, especially in a room full of new people, you give the impression that not only are you invested in the people in the meeting personally and value their opinion but also that you’re able to absorb new information quickly, given that you’ve just met them and are already able to recount their name.
That said, learning a ton of new names at once can also be a difficult proposition.
A recent Quartz story made an easy suggestion on how to make it happen: write them down.
When you get into the meeting room draw a small sketch of the table on a piece of paper, with a dot beside each chair. As people introduce themselves, write their name down next to their spot along with a detail or two about them from their introduction.
By writing things down you give yourself a cheat sheet to use during the meeting when you need to talk to someone. Truth be told, that cheat sheet might come in handy after the meeting is over as well, when you’re trying to remember who that guy sitting in the corner was.
And if everyone isn’t seated, this earlier post offers some solid tips for learning names at networking events.
It’s a small thing but can have a huge impact on how you’re perceived in a new group.