I’m in charge of networking and social time for oPASS and I do what I can to help get our members (old and new) get better at networking while at our user group meetings. In the past we’ve done introductions and games and discussion about networking. Worth doing, and effective to a point.
This month I decided to try to find a way to focus on a single skill – remembering names. Normally at our meetings when you sign in you get a name badge, this time we handed out numbers instead. When it was time for networking we started by having everyone write down 1 through 25 to get ready, and then put their pens down. Then I explained the challenge: everyone would stand up and say their name twice, the goal was to remember as many names as possible at the end of the game.
The next step was to go around the room in semi random (and not numerical) order, having everyone say their name twice. We had a few people that managed to make themselves memorable, Bob was one, mentioning that it sounded the same forward or backward. It went pretty quickly.
Then, back to pen and paper, I called out the numbers in order, asking each person to stand up briefly when called, and everyone trying to write down their name if they remembered. Jack Corbett got almost all of them, and we had a new member Jacob that also did very well. Most people got 5-10, we had a few get more than 15 (and some of these were frequent attendees that maybe had a bit of an advantage).
When we talked at the end about why they remembered or didn’t remember, it definitely helped if the person said something memorable. For example, Kendal Van Dyke said “Kendal not Kindle”. People who were very soft spoken were less remembered.
I think it worked well as a way to work on learning names both as a skill and a practical part of being at the meeting. If there was a larger crowd I think I’d still limit the list to about 25, tagging people randomly.