By Jennifer Lintz, Registered Dietitian and ICI/PRO Member Soigneurwhat's your name

There is a woman who comes to my classes at least once or twice a week and, for the life of me, I cannot remember her name. I know I wrote it down once to help jog my memory, but I can't seem to find that piece of paper. I would ask her to remind me, but I've already done that a couple of times in the past several months.

Sound familiar?

I am always impressed when people remember my name in everyday life and, consequently, feel frustrated when I can't remember someone else's. Historically, I have kept Post-Its in my gym bag to remind myself that Dan is the guy who wears the sleeveless shirt and uses class for cross training; Karen is the gal with the curly brown hair who is just getting back into cycling; and Holly is the woman who sits in the front row and brings her daughters to class from time-to-time.

One of my goals as an instructor is to connect with my participants on a personal level, and I feel more equipped to do that when I know their names. Dale Carnegie also reminds me to "Remember that a person”™s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language."

I know it probably isn't realistic to remember all of our participant's names, particularly if they don't consistently come to class. However, I do think it is doable for us to at least become familiar with the regulars.

Because the Post-Its I once used always seem to get lost, I have started keeping track of names in my iPhone. I make a point to record names as soon as I learn them, along with a couple details like "wears hat, has quadruplets, only comes to early morning classes." So far, it is working pretty well, provided I don't lose my phone :-).

When I taught last Thursday, I remember that even though my class was small, I knew the names of almost every participant in the room. That made it fun, because I was able to address people individually during class. For instance, "Amanda, I'm not used to seeing you on that side of the room! You're mixing it up today." Or "Looking good, Sabrina!"

If you would rather not address people by name in front of the group, I find it is just as powerful to approach people afterward and say, "How did it go today, Kelsey?" or "I'm glad you were able to make it this morning, Katrina!"

The name game seems to be a constant battle, but I think there are definitely some ways to make it a little easier. What are your tips and tricks for remembering names?


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