Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Associating The Name

If you ever meet a man who is about six feet four inches tall, with a short dark beard, shrunken cheeks, and careworn eyes, and his name turns out to be Arthur Lincoln, I’m sure you’ll remember his name-or at least his last name. 

This is a rather far-fetched example of what is meant by “associating” the name. Unhappily, it will rarely be quite that easy. George Black may have blue eyes, blond hair, a red tie, a gray suit, and brown shoes. Warren Churchill may look more like Flem Snipes than Sir Winston.

But there is no question about the usefulness of this technique. For one thing, it forces you to think about the person to whom you are being introduced. It forces you to look closely at him, to think about his name and about him. It carries you one long step beyond the handshaking stage. If there is anything about the sound of the name that seems to be the appearance or personality of the person, you Will easily make usable associations. Mr. Earhardt may have prominent, or at least distinctive, ears. Mrs. Pierce may have a shrill, piercing voice.

An association may be amusing, even outlandish. Psychologists tell us that We remember humorous and improbable mental pictures more easily than “sensible” ones. So let your imagination loose; make associations between names and appearances-and make them as wild as you Wish.

" Now, some names are easier to associate than others. Names that involve colors-Mr. Cray, Mrs. Green, Miss Redmond-are easy to associate with physical appearances. Incidentally, concerning Mr. Black, the fact that if nothing about him was black is an association in itself. Names that involve occupations-Mr. Carpenter, Mrs. Goldsmith, Miss Farmer -are also quite easy. Names that involve mental or personality traits-Mr. Manley, Mrs. Huff, Miss Pride-are usually easy.

Names that clearly indicate national origins-Mr. Rizzo, Mrs. O’Grady, Miss Mueller-can be used if the person has characteristics normally associated with people from that country. Of course, the association will not be quite as close as with colors, occupations, or traits. Nationality is merely a clue to the name, not the name itself.

It should be mentioned that parts of names are often sufficient for purposes of association. With Mr. Pepitone, the “pep” Will help.With Mrs. Rosenberg, the “rose” may be enough (but you’ll have to remember that Rose is not the Whole name). With Miss Nicholson, the “nickel” may give you some assistance if you can make an association between the coin and the person.

There are limits to this method. Some names-like Mr. Lundquist, Mrs. Lewis, Miss Tyrrell-cannot easily be associated. But you will be amazed at how many can be when you make a conscientious effort. And you’ll be glad you tried! 

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