Ever wonder how a waiter/waitress serving an eight-seat table at a restaurant remembers each guest’s food orders? At many restaurants, the order-sheets contain a layout of the table and a letter or number associated with every seat. As each guest orders food, the waiter/waitress writes down the order along with the letter or number associated with that guest’s seat.
At Southwest Airlines, flight attendants go to every seat, ask customers for their choice of beverage, and record the passenger’s choice on a seat-map.
- Draw a quick map of the table/layout of the meeting. Place yourself on it, to give yourself a reference point.
- As people introduce themselves around the table, fill them in. If you feel last names are necessary add those too, but don’t do it at the expense of writing down someone else’s name. You can guess at the last names later. If you miss one, leave it blank and fill it in as soon as you can – if someone else refers to them, etc, etc.
- If everyone introduces themselves, try and jot down as much information as possible. If you think that you will run across them later, include information that will help you recognize them down the road.
- Refer back to the map during the meeting when you are going to need to speak. This way you will be prepared with a person’s name.
Positive impressions are invaluable. As we discussed in a previous blog article, remembering names is an important social skill—mastering this skill can offer a distinct advantage in networking and building relationships.