Accessibility Page Navigation
Style sheets must be enabled to view this page as it was intended.

Ah, it’s you, er, what’s-your-name?

Zelda Zinger

You know those people. They say things like, “I don’t remember names but I never forget a face.”

But what if you are not one of those people? You not only have no idea who the person standing in front of you is, it only dawns you have met them before when you clock the tiny micro-expression of anguish made when they realise they have to explain who they are and where they met you. Embarrassing.

Perhaps you are like me, generally in good nick except for a fuse in your brain that switches when you have to introduce two people of your acquaintance. No matter how well or long I’ve known them, click, my mind goes blank.

Immediately filling the mental abyss is a swirling anxiety - is it Joan, or Jackie, or Morag? Glen, or Greg or Sathnam? Oh yes, Denis I’d like you to meet my, erm, brother Alice. Blushes all around.

This is why name tags were invented. Except it is not yet required by law that people wear them all the time. But when they are proffered, you can sail forward confidently, coffee or wine glass in hand. Your only worry is balancing your liquid of choice with the canapé plate while juggling with a ringing phone or offering a handshake.

But the plastic fantastic with pin or clip contraption is not always perfect either. Sharp eyesight is useful, in order so you don’t have to peer too closely to the chest of the woman from the ad agency you just met. You don’t want to risk getting a slap. People might talk.

Then there are those who disdain the necessary name tag protocols. Mavericks who append it to the bottom of their jacket. Or perhaps they carelessly let it become obscured by a lapel. The fools.

You might just have to resort to learning how to remember their damn monikers.

Rita J King, described as the Muse of the New Digital Reality, offers us some tips. With a title like that she must be always meeting new people.

First, when entering a room full of potential nomenclature related disasters, relax and breathe. When introduced, repeat the name, looking your new acquaintance square in the eye.

Get the name right - if it is difficult to pronounce, say it again, because Kamel Pryszlwsky won’t mind and he might actually appreciate you making the effort.

As you chat, use the person’s name, Darlene. And then if you are really ambitious, create an image in your mind associated with the name. Imagine Ewan McIntosh wearing a raincoat. Think of Barry Gardiner carrying a hoe. Hopefully you are not meeting Ed Balls.

But if worse comes to worse, I will leave you with this last, failsafe method. “Please, introduce yourselves.”