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Dear Heidi: I forgot someone's name!

Dear Heidi, How do I make an introduction if I’ve forgotten someone’s name?

Forgetting a name is common. Doesn’t it always seem to happen at the worst possible moment?

The best thing to do is to extend your hand, look them in the eyes and in a friendly voice say, “Hello, very nice to see you again, I’m Heidi Dulebohn.” Well, don’t use my name—say your own!

Hopefully, this will prompt a similar response from them, saying “Yes, nice to see you again too; I’m Jane Doe.” Saying your name helps send a signal to use names.

If the prompt doesn’t work and they simply say, “Nice to see you too,” you can either leave it there and move on, or you can add, “I’m sorry, your name just slipped my mind, would you please remind me?” I guarantee you will not forget their name again after that.

The same is true when introducing two people and you have forgotten a name. It’s best to politely admit that their name momentarily has slipped your mind—not that they are forgettable.

We have all been there. I was once at an event where I had the opportunity to impress my boss with an introduction to a very influential guest. And as I was about to introduce the guest, I forgot my boss’ name! How unlikely is that? Luckily, my boss quickly extended his hand and said his name.

Everyone will suffer an awkward situation at some point in their life—it’s how we maneuver through them that sets us apart.


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