The People Person

I’ve always been impressed by those who can remember names and connect them with specific faces. For me I can usually only remember one or the other, and generally can’t retain any sort of personal information about someone. I’m just not a “people person.” This can be a problem, and I can foresee complications when I begin my career in the field of marketing. Since marketing is a very people oriented field I need to find some way to increase my recall of names and faces and hopefully some personal information about the many people I meet.

In order to do this I am going to start using Evernote Hello. This app, made by the Evernote Corporation (duh), is designed to take your daily encounters with people and allow you to enter their name, photo (if they aren’t camera shy) and some facts about them into your phone. this way you can keep track of everyone you meet and where you met them and review it as needed. The ratings for the app are not high, however, so I dont know how this little experiment will turn out. But it’s a start right?

Another method I thought of was simply to carry a small notebook with me and record the information I had learned and people I had met as soon as I had free time. A low tech, no pictures version of Evernote’s app.

Does anyone have any other ideas of ways to boost face-to-name recall? If so please leave your comments below!

Brainstorm!!

Sorry for the long absence. I’ve been struggling with what to write as of late, and have been experimenting with different methods to come up with ides. And then it struck me: write about those different methods! So I’m back after a break, hopefully with many new and varied posts! Enjoy.

Brainstorming. Free-writing. Spontaneous idea generation. Removing the brain-to-hand filter.

Call it what you will, but the process of getting ideas out of your head and into action is an important step for anyone. Whether your ideas are small and ordinary or grand and sweeping, the first step is to get them out of your head. When you write something down, or create a computer model, or draw a diagram it becomes real. It leaves the abstract and mysterious regions of thought and takes shape in reality, growing with each stroke of the pen or click of a mouse. For writers this is especially important because when you can’t think of anything to write about you are stuck.

Here are a few of the ways I’ve tried, or want to try to come up with new ideas for my writing:

  • Free-writing: Just writing down whatever comes to mind, whether it makes sense or not. This method is best done without stopping or correcting for grammar. I find that free-writing on the computer is harder, because it often points out misspellings and grammatical errors. This can prompt you to stop and correct your writing, which interrupts the flow of your thoughts. This method clears your mind of excess and distracting thoughts and can even give shape to thoughts that may be floating around in your brain awaiting the form and substance provided by the written word.
  • Mind Mapping: This method is like free-writing, except that as you come up with each new idea, draw a bubble around it. As you find similarities or relationships between the ideas (perhaps things you want to explore later), draw a line between the two bubbles and write the nature of the relationship on the line. A great tutorial on mind mapping can be found here and here.
  • Word Association: Look up a word in the dictionary, or pick one randomly out of a book. Perhaps use a word that you recently learned. Once you have the word, write down everything it makes you think about when you hear it. Write down as many things as you can think of. Once you are finished, look through your list and try and determine the connections. Why does a certain word bring up those connotations? Does it have meaning, or is it simply a product of your experiences and unique perspective?
  • Responses: Try writing a response to an article you’ve read, or a piece of trivia that you just learned. Often times this can get your mind working in new directions and can lead to bigger and better things.

However you choose to do it, brainstorming is an excellent way of generating new ideas and continuing to be creative even if you are “stuck”. Besides it can be fun to let loose and let your imagination soar for a while. Even if the idea seems ridiculous and you think it could never work, who knows what great things could come of it? But by far the most important thing to take out of this is: keep writing. No matter what.

Be Prepared…..Be Very Prepared!!!!

While I was never a Boy Scout, I always knew what their motto was. Be Prepared.My dad gave me an old Boy Scout knife when I was younger, and I was struck by the usefulness of such a tool in an emergency or uncertain situation. To me that knife embodied the Scout’s motto perfectly.

Words to live by.

In the real world however, not every problem can be solved with a simple pocket knife. What the unknown future requires most of all is knowledge. Knowledge is needed to make plans, reduce uncertainty and risk, and to be prepared.

This is especially apparent to college students  just moving out on their own for the first time (aka. me). A college student needs to know where they are going to live, what they need to bring, what classes they are taking, where those classes are, what books and supplies are needed, where they are going to get their food, what the campus offers, and a myriad of other things. The amount of questions is overwhelming and without the answers, without knowledge, you won’t be prepared for anything.

So how can we get the information we need to be prepared? Here are a few ways:

  • Do your research! When you know you will be in a new situation, first examine a few things. What is expected of you? What things will you need to bring (these can be things, attitudes, or even personal qualities)? Will you be interacting with anyone else? How much importance do you place on what you will be doing?
  • Get help. Find someone who has been in your position (or a similar one) before. Ask them for their advice or what they thought was most helpful. If you can, contact the authorities involved for answers (e.g. colleges, an organization running an event, a supervisor, etc.).
  • Get motivated. Take control and accomplish the things you need to in order to be prepared. Make sure you have what you need, right down a to-do list, have the right paperwork, and know what is expected of you.

By taking the time ahead of time to get the right information, you can avoid surprises and embarrassing moments. You can arrive at a situation well prepared and able to perform. Whether it’s at work, on a date, starting college, or during a vacation, being prepared takes a little forethought, some research, and a good plan. And you don’t even have to be a Boy Scout.