I Can’t Remember Names

by Carlos Valenzuela | April 15, 2014

Forgetting a name is so embarrassing in the salon--that awkward moment when you need to resort to, “Hello, beautiful, or Hey, buddy.” I’ve always had a hard time remembering names. Co-workers would send unknown people to effusively greet me just to watch me squirm.

 Is the best course of action to come clean? “I am so sorry, I totally remember you, our conversation, and even your color formula, but, for the life of me, I can’t remember your first name.” (when you can’t see their client file) Or, is it best to just deploy your best fake it till you make it arsenal?

I Can’t Remember Names

 I can’t even work the tips, which I copiously wrote, given to me by a well-meaning expert. So, in case you suffer from Name Remembering Syndrome like I do, here are the rules for your enjoyment:

 1. Try to really listen to the name, repeat it several times—except in most cases I meet people in groups, like a salon, and with the wonderful diversity we now enjoy, it goes something like, “This is Ashley, Lawana, Dewayne, Chong, Roberto, Cassandra, and Kiki our receptionist.” Who could possibly? It’s like a tongue twister. It’s not like repeating, “There’s no place like home.” Scratch that one.

 2. Use the name in conversation This one is too scary, --I am sure to have it wrong. A salon client once said to me, “You have been calling me Doris for the last two visits, my name is Magdalene, and people call me Mary.” She was such a Doris, really. “I’m so sorry. I think I would have totally remembered Magdalene, why didn’t you say something?”

“I really liked Doris.”

 3. Visualize the name: This one is a lot of work. Holly would be a Christmas memory, I suppose. Barry, wait for it, would be the red things on the Holly. Autumn you could picture a winter fireplace, not to be confused with neither Holly who was the Christmas memory, nor Barry the red things on the Holly. That would work?

 4. Memory knot: Be so careful with this one, make sure it is a positive (never bad) “knot” you remember—maybe, Sandy (like the beach) never Dusty (like my furniture) and so on. A CEO of a major beauty company tied a memory knot of my last name with Latin America. He would forget which country, and at times I was, Mr. Venezuela, Mr. Chiles and once Mr. Colombia.

 5. Sing it or Say it to Music. I won’t even go there.

 Social security lists online the most popular names per year. Perhaps one could remember those by year and upon forgetting a name take a shot, “Jeffrey? No, Aidan? Surely, Sam?”

 I am comforted by the thought that we don’t remember people for what they said, but for how they made us feel. I cannot imagine any salon professional making a client or new friend feel anything but fabulous.

 So, don’t worry about the name game...

Modern Salon...right?


Carlos Valenzuela: is a consultant, speaker, stylist, bilingual trainer, and author of i-Fabulous Salon Success, a success guide for new salon professionals.

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