You're leading a training session, but you struggle to remember people's names. You dedicate so much of your energy to facilitating rich content that the conversational aspect often slips through the cracks. How can you balance teaching learners what they need to know—which is ultimately what they came for—with amicability?
Any great instructor knows that engaging the audience is vital. Personalization is a major factor, and it starts with calling learners by their names. With that said, they can be hard to remember. Here's a way to simplify the process:
- Be as comfortable as possible with your content. Allow it to become so familiar that you don't even have to think about it and it flows naturally. Not having to worry about the subject matter frees you up to be conversational, and that pays off in the long run.
- Be intentional. If you know you tend to forget names, don't shove it under the rug. Go out of your way to study your learners' names. Do more than take roll and read name tents—navigate the room and make a personal connection with everyone.
- Refer to participants by their names as frequently as possible. The more times you can pair a name with a face—and vocalize it—the quicker it will become second nature.
- Get the entire class to participate. Doing so is about more than engagement—it gives you more repetitions as you try to remember names, pairing every learner's name with a face.
- Don't allow name tents to become a crutch. All facilitators use them, but they depersonalize the discussion. Set a goal for yourself. Try to get to the point where you don't even need to look at them.
Once you feel like a seasoned veteran, challenge yourself. After 30 minutes, ask your learners to put their name tents away. If you can still address them by name, you've passed the test.