The average person is more interested in his or her own name than all the other names on earth put together. Remember that name and call it easily, and you have paid a subtle and very effective compliment. But forget it or misspell it – and you have placed yourself at a sharp disadvantage.
Whenever you meet a new acquaintance, find out his or her complete name and some facts about his or her family, business or political opinions. Fix all these facts well in mind as part of the picture, and the next time you meet that person, even if it was a year later, you will be able to shake hands, inquire after the family, and ask about the hollyhocks in the backyard.
Sometimes it is difficult to remember a name, particularly if it is hard to pronounce. Rather than even try to learn it, many people ignore it or call the person by an easy nickname. Most people don’t remember names, for the simple reason that they don’t take the time and energy necessary to concentrate and repeat and fix names indelibly in their minds. If you don’t hear the name distinctly, say, excuse me, I didn’t get your name clearly. Then, if it is an unusual name, ask how it is spelled. Use the person’s name several times in the conversation; try to associate it in your mind with the person’s features, expression and general appearance. Then, when you are alone write the name down on a piece of paper, look at it, and concentrate on it, fix it securely in your mind, in this way you will gain an eye impression of the name as well as an ear impression.
Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
*Compilation taken from “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie