It has been my experiences, both professionally and personally, that taking the time to remember someone’s name is the fastest and most genuine way to build rapport or make a connection.

Dale Carnegie, one of the most decorated writers, lecturers and entrepreneurs in American history says “a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

Yet for some reason most of us seem to believe that being good at remembering names is an innate or born trait, like having a certain hair or eye color.

But the fact is that it’s a muscle. And like any muscle, it only gets better with time. When I was in college, one of roommates and best friends Brad would call me or pull me aside whenever he needed to be reminded of who we were speaking with. (I got you B!)

He was amazed as time and time again I would recall flawlessly the names of people we met in class or at parties, even if we only spoke for a moment. It’s not that I was gifted at that. It’s just that I made it a point to commit to memory the names of people I come across.

It may seem like I heard it once and committed it to memory, but truthfully every time I meet a new person, I ask them to repeat there name (almost as if I couldn’t hear it the first time) I repeat it in conversation with them at least twice (“Where did you say you were from, Jake?) , and I continually repeat it in my head until it’s in like Flynn. So even in a 3-minute conversation, I’ve probably said the name at least 5 or 6 times. Now imagine doing that for every person you meet, and you can see how this name recall muscle begins to grow and get stronger.

By no means am I attempting to show off, but I want to make it clear that it takes effort. And you should make the effort because it shows that you care.

Trust me on this one, as far smarter people than I can attest that there are few better ways to create an instant connection than remembering someone’s name.

Right Mr. Carnegie?

“If you want to win friends, make it a point to remember them. If you remember my name, you pay me a subtle compliment; you indicate that I have made an impression on you. Remember my name and you add to my feeling of importance.”