Have you ever been in that situation where you meet someone but can't quite put a name to a face?
You could always just be honest and ask them
"I'm terrible with names, can you remind me again?"
However there are some useful things to say and do to get you out of that tricky situation.
To help explain the different techniques, here's a key:
Person X the person who's name you've forgot
Person Y a colleague you know.
Person Z a colleague you don't know / haven't met before.
HIGH Higher risk technique, not life or death, but needs an element of control.
MED Medium risk technique
LOW Lower risk technique
Check the email list
Either in advance or in the moment, have a glance through today's invite or from the time you think you last met. Chances are their name will be on there. Or you can narrow it down a little - LOW
Ask a colleague
An obvious one, ask a colleague (PERSON Y) directly or a more subtle way is:
Ask Person Y - "Do you know everyone here?" - Person Y may then mention people's names they know (including the one you forgot). Or they may then
introduce reintroduce you! - MED
When people are introducing themselves listen out for names or clues! - LOW
"I wanted to check that everyone knows each other, shall we introduce ourselves first." - HIGH
This could backfire if they ask you to name everyone, so take control beforehand for example
A - Introduce yourself to someone who you don't know (PERSON Z) first, then move to others you don't know, leaving the person you forgot to the end. - MED
The objective here is to listen out for the name of the person you forgot, then use once you approach them
B - Say "I'll start, my name is PHIL" then turn to anyone, even the person you forgot! They'll have to introduce themselves - LOW
C - Shall we do a? - LOW
Sneak a peak
Take a glance at an ID badge, anything with their name on - LOW (unless you get caught!)
Take the lead
Here you introduce Person X to Person Z
OPTION 1 - If you don't know Person Z ask them "Have you two met?" THEN say nothing, pause to allow them to introduce themselves. - MED
OPTION 2 - If you know Person Y say to Person X "Have you met [Person Y]?" THEN wait for Person X to introduce themselves to Person Y. - MED
This could backfire if they wait for you to introduce, so a 3-5 second pause is needed