Tuesday, March 10, 2009

HELP - Appropriate Social Protocol

Greetings from Disney's Coronado Springs Resort where InfoSec World 2009 is in full swing.

I need your help... now, I have to preface it by saying I've met a lot of people, and I am totally terrible with the whole "remembering names" thing unless we've interacted in person at least a few times... so that being said...
What is the appropriate social protocol when someone (who obviously knows you) comes up to you randomly and starts talking (no introduction, assuming you remember their name) and "catching up"?
Can someone with good social skills help me out here?

For the record, if I have ever forgotten your name I am so sorry... I am horrible with names (working on it) and it is not a reflection on you...


Mubix said...

Be honest, tell them that your memory sucks and ask them where you know them from. It will be ackward for a bit, but it will relieve the stress out of the rest of the conversation making it meaningful for both sides instead of just "Who is this guy, who is this guy, who is this guy"

Marcin said...

You obviously have been married for a while... lol

This is what I've done in the past. I ask how they spell their name (because IIRC, it was spelled differently than usual).. This works for girls at the bar too ;)

One that's more appropriate with security people, is ask them for their email.. And if they say firstname dot lastname at gmail... ask them to spell it.

That's not making it blatantly obvious you forgot. Or, you can just say, "I'm sorry, but for the life of me, I'm terrible with names, what is your name again?"

Anonymous said...

Well unless the talk rings a bell, just do the polite thing. "I'm sorry I am horrible w/ names. What was your name again?"

Often that will cause you to recall where you met them esp in context of the convo and location. This happens to me at trade shows all the time.

Anonymous said...

(from the back rows of yukatan 3)
i usually just go for "sorry, my name is alex, and i completely forgot yours; could you please..."
and turn it into a joke, by blaming the memory loss on jetlag and decades of alcohol abuse.
add disclaimers to taste, as I am not a master ninja of social skills neither.

Montejam said...

Boy have I been here multiple times. The last thing you want to end up with is a situation like Seinfeld's Mulva haha. Here are a few I developed over the years.

The Best Way
1. Have a wingman who will come over and introduce themself if you are in trouble.

If you don't think you need to know
1. I agree with Mubix, be honest and tell them

2. Talk in abstract and how someone else comes over to say hello to them

If you need to know
1. Ask when the last time you saw them was, it may refresh your memory and gives you a situation to talk about

2. Tell them you lost all your cellphone contacts and hand them your phone, but make sure they put in their name (contact screen up helps)

3. Ask someone who might know

4. If it's a female and you happen to be out with her take her some place that requires an ID (E.G. a bar) and then make some kind of quip about her license picture when it's out so she'll show you, (E.G. whoa who takes that good of a license picture?? Let me see that) Retrieve name from the license picture. (I've used this one at least 10 times)

Rafal said...

EPIC responses folks... that is some good advice. I actually used Montejam's yesterday successfully - just asked where was the last time we met, then I snuck a peek at the badge (the ONE use for a badge at a conference)... awesome.

@Marcin, I can tell you've perfected your craft with girls at the bars... I have nothing else to add to that...