Category Archives: Thriveology Workouts

The Artichoke Workout: Find the Good in People, Improve Your Relationships

So many of the problems we have in relationships are due to attributing negative intentions to another person, with or without justification.  Remember, whether something comes across to you as positive or negative depends entirely upon your own perception.

When we stop looking for the bad, the flaws, the failures, and start looking for the good in people, we see them in a different light and consequently we treat them differently. Relationships improve.  Try out this “workout” about finding the good and see what difference it makes in your life.

THE WORKOUT

1. Pick an Artichoke

Choose a situation with another person for which you have negative feelings.  We will call the other person’s actions in this situation “the artichoke” (because we are going to peel away the layers).  Now, as if you were a newspaper reporter, summarize the situation or actions with a headline and write it down. You just named your artichoke. (No, I don’t generally name my produce.)

2. Peel the Artichoke

When you peel away all the layers, at the heart of an artichoke is something good, tender, and if prepared properly, delicious.  Likewise, if you peel away enough layers, at the heart of every action is a good intention.

Below your headline, do the following:

  •  Start listing all the possible intentions behind the other person’s actions.  Circle the positive ones.
  • For the negative intentions, start peeling away the layers to find the good ones.  For example, if one of the intentions you list is “revenge”, what positive need would motivate someone to seek revenge?  A sense of fairness?  A desire to avoid or ease the pain of loss? A need to build one’s own self esteem?
  • Once you have peeled away the negative layers to get to the positive, cross out the negative and circle the positive. Look at the list.  If you know the person well enough to zero in on one or two, do it; otherwise, leave your list as-is.

3. Prepare the Sauce

Based on this new perspective, identify one action you could take to improve the situation.  What will you do?  How will you treat the person differently?

That’s it.  There’s your workout – give it a try!

THE EXPLANATION

With the possible exception of people with specific medical disorders, everything we do has a purpose.  Psychologist Alfred Adler is credited with saying that “All behavior is purposeful.” This is true.  Now, whether or not the behavior is accomplishing the intended purpose is another matter.

I’m going to take it a step further and say that all behavior has at its root a positive intent.  This is where people may start to disagree with me, but frankly, I think I’m right.  When you peel away all the layers you find a positive need someone is trying to fill.  I have yet to find a situation where I haven’t found one.

Before we go any further, let me be the first to acknowledge that somewhere between positive intent and action something can go horribly wrong.  When I discuss this with students we do an exercise where I use the example of murder.  Most people would describe this as a tragic, evil and wrong act.  My students are always highly skeptical at first, but when they start listing possible core intents (self protection, protection of a loved one, a desire for control of one’s one life, seeking justice, etc.) they find things that are not in and of themselves bad.  In fact, they are fundamentally positive intents.  In our example of murder, between intent and action something went very wrong in how they chose to accomplish the intent.

Now, I am in no way condoning murder – far from it – but it is important to recognize that what fundamentally drives people are positive needs.  If we are able to find a positive intent deep behind a heinous act, how much more likely are we to find positive intents behind the everyday acts of people in our lives?

I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again: You see what you look for.  If you look for the positive intents behind people’s actions towards you, you will find them.  In fact, you will more often than not find one of two things:

  1. The person has genuinely good intentions towards you, even if it did not come across that way; or
  2. It actually has nothing to do with you at all – the person is just dealing with their own stuff.

Think about how liberating it can be to see the world that way. The next time you have an argument with a friend or loved one, the next time you have to give a speech or presentation, or the next time someone posts something stupid about you on social media, give it a try.  When you see things from the positive perspective you will deal with them differently and more effectively than if you go looking for the negative. You will find your connection with other people to be more meaningful and your own life enriched. Guaranteed.

B.U.I.L.D. Better Relationships

In any personal relationship, whether it be a close personal friend, a business contact, or even just someone you encounter on the street, there is a possibility for, shall we say, “differences of opinions.”  When the inevitable interpersonal conflicts come up, how do you handle them?  How do you resolve conflicts and improve relationships?

One simple but extremely powerful technique that I’ve never had fail me or anyone I’ve taught it to is the B.U.I.L.D. Method (originally developed as B.R.I.C.K.S. – I was teaching a group of construction management students).  Years of training and experience in managing conflict, plus a study of human communications and relationships, plus years of (would you believe) martial arts and combatives training, plus an obliging body of scientific research helped bring this method to life.  It is simple, but effective.  Give it a try!

Breathe

Okay, so I once came across an NLP expert who said this wasn’t necessary, and for only $250 he’d tell you why.  Biology would say he’s wrong, but I won’t go into it.

In this step, pay attention to your breathing.  You don’t even have to take time away from the discussion or situation – it can be done on the fly. Are you holding your breath?  Are you breathing too fast?  Slow and control your breathing.

Often all it takes is one slow, deep breath and you can return to a breathing rhythm that helps you be calm and more focused.  Deliberately keep your breathing slow until you don’t have to think about it anymore.

Untether

Let go.  Let go of your position for a moment.  Let go of the need to be right. Let go of the fear of failure. Let go of your ego.  It is really hard to do the next three steps unless you do this one.  Frankly, it is next to impossible to reach a true resolution without it.  If you paid attention to the Breathe step, untethering is much easier.

Invite

Invite the other person to engage in a conversation, and invite them to share their perspective first.  The invitation can be through words and/or body language.

For example, make eye contact (as culturally appropriate) and use an engagement phrase such as one of the following.

  • “Let’s discuss this.  What are your thoughts?”
  • “Tell me more about your [thoughts, feelings, etc.] on the matter.”
  • “I’d really like to know more about…”
  • “Help me understand what you mean by…”

Listen

Really listen to the other person and genuinely seek to understand.  Don’t be thinking about what your next argument or comeback will be, what you’re going to have for dinner, why they chose to wear that color combination, etc. – focus on the other person.  You can strengthen this step by using connected listening techniques. Listen for not only what they say they want, but why.  What are the underlying values, needs, interests and emotions?  What are they really saying?

Discuss

Once you have listened to the other person, then you can share your perspective.  Don’t just attack what the other person has said, but explain how you see things and why.  Then have a dialog (not a debate) about the different options that could resolve the situation.  Ideally, you’ll look for options that will address each person’s needs and concerns.

 

Once you B.U.I.L.D. a positive connection you have the foundation for resolution.  Even if you don’t ultimately agree, if you have put genuine effort into following the steps you can end with a positive note and an improved or strengthened relationship.

Scientific 7 Minute Workout

Think you don’t have time to exercise?  Think again!

Here’s the original “Scientific 7 Minute Workout”  from Brett Klika and Chris Jordan as published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal. To be honest, I’m not sure why it is called the “7 minute” workout because it is more like 8 ½ minutes.  This is a body weight exercise workout, which means you can do it just about anywhere.

Here’s how it works.  Complete each exercise in order.  Exercises are performed for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of transition time between exercises.

The original study calls for you to perform each exercise at the highest intensity you can safely sustain, though you can tailor it to meet your individual needs.  Just don’t cheat yourself by not giving it the effort you deserve!  For maximum benefit repeat the circuit 2-3 times.

To show that this workout can be done just about anywhere, I did it in my office in my street clothes.  (No, I didn’t give it full intensity, but it was invigorating and got me moving.)  The workout is below.  If you’d like a follow-along video to work out with I recommend this one from Fitness Blender.

The workout does not include a warm up or cool down, which are recommended.  Even a few minutes can help avoid injuries and sore muscles.

Now, without further ado, I give you the “Scientific 7 Minute Workout”.  (Complete with pictures of a nameless, somewhat handsome guy, that you are free to ignore if you like.)

Jumping Jacks

 

Jumping Jacks

Most people know how to do jumping jacks
(okay, with the exception of a couple of kids on the youth basketball
team I coach), but just in case, here’s how to do it.

1. Stand straight, with feet together and arms at your side.

2. Slightly bend your knees, and jump a few inches into the air.

3. While in air, bring your legs out to the side about shoulder width or slightly wider.  At the same time raise your arms over your head.  Keep arms stiff and slightly bent (Don’t flop around).

4. Quickly jump back to step 1 and repeat.

Wall Sit

Wall Sit

The wall sit is the first static exercise in this circuit.

1.  Sit in the air with your back against a wall and think square!  Legs should be bent to 90 degrees, knees directly over your ankles and thighs pointing out perpendicular to the wall, as if you are sitting on a square box the exact dimensions of your body.   You may find it simplest to lean back against the wall and then slide down until you are in the proper position.

2. Hold that position for the entire 30 seconds.

Push Up

Push Up

Here’s one that everyone knows about but is so easy to get wrong.  For some tips on proper form, there is a great post here.

1. Start with your arms straight, core tight, holding your body in a plank (straight head to toe) position.

2. Hands and arms should be positioned below your shoulders with fingers pointed forwards (towards your head). Shoulders are pushed down away from your ears.

3. Lower your body until your chest is an inch or two above the floor, elbows pulling back (not out) at roughly a 45
degree angle.

4. Push  away from the ground, keeping your body straight, until your arms lock, then repeat.

Crunches

Crunches

I’m not a fan of traditional crunches because they are not as effective as once thought and are potentially
bad for your back, but they are part of the original workout, so here they are.   (The following description is from Livestrong.com.)

“Begin flat on your back with your knees bent and the heels of your feet only a few inches from your buttocks. Bring your hands to your temples with palms out, and elbows out from the body at about thirty to forty-five degrees. While exhaling, bring your shoulder blades off the ground fairly quickly, until you feel an intense pressure in the rectus
abdominus muscles. Hold for a one to two second count, then slowly release, beginning the next repetition when the head and shoulders are just about to touch the ground.”

Step Up

Step up

You can use a  sturdy chair, box, retaining wall, etc. to do these.

1.  Alternating each leg, step up on to an elevated surface .   I like to throw in a high knee up top with the non-weight-bearing leg.

2. Step back down again.  Repeat, leading with the opposite leg.

You can very intensity by adjusting the speed and/or height.

Squat

Squat

Hinge your hips so that your butt moves backwards as you go down.

Toes should be turned slightly out.  Knees should not extend past your toes as you go down.

At the bottom of the squat your hamstrings should be roughly parallel to the floor.

Keep your head straight, chest forward, shoulders back. and your back flat to slightly arched.

Inhale down, exhale up.

Triceps Dips

Dips

Use a stable chair, bench, low wall, deck etc.  If you don’t have any of these you can also do your dips on the floor.

Position your hands shoulder-width apart on a secured bench or stable chair.

Extend your legs out in front of you.

Straighten your arms, keeping a little bend in your elbows to keep tension on your triceps and off your elbow joints.

Slowly bend your elbows to lower your body toward the floor until your elbows are at about a 90-degree angle. Try to keep your body as close to the bench/chair as possible.

Once you reach the bottom of the movement, press your body up, returning to the starting position.

Keep your shoulders down – don’t let them sneak up to your ears.

Bend your legs and bring them in closer to make it easier.  To increase the difficulty try doing the dips on a stability ball.

Plank

Plank

Variation 1: Assume the high push up position and hold it.  Keep your arms directly under the shoulders and
maintain a flat back.

Variation 2. Drop down to your elbows rather than using straight arms.

Hold this position for the entire 30 seconds.  If you need to make this easier,  Perform this on your knees rather than your toes.  This will still give you a good workout.

High Knees

High Knees

Jog in place, raising your knees up to about waist level.  Use your core to help lift your legs.  If you are not
sure if you are raising your legs high enough (or to force yourself to do so) put your hands out about waist level and strike them with your knees.

Lunges

Step forward and drop your body straight down.  Keep your front knee directly over the ankle.

Keep your torso straight; do not lean forward.

Allow the heel of the rear leg to lift off the floor.

Bend the rear knee enough to form a straight line from shoulder to hip to knee.

Shoulders and hips are even and pointed forward; do not twist.

Keep core muscles tight

Step back to the upright position.  Repeat, leading with the opposite foot.
To increase intensity try it while holding dumbbells.

Push Up w/ Rotation (a.k.a.T Push Up) 

T Push Up

Perform the standard pushup, only when you push to the high position lift one arm and rotate your torso so that
your arms are stacked over each other, forming a T.  Keep your core tight.  Alternate left and right.  If you start left, on the next rep rotate right.

Side Plank (Repeat each side) 

Side Plank

Yep, this is just like the standard plank, only on your side.

 

That’s it!  Give it a try!

Be a Kindness Sniper

Have you ever experienced a bad day, where out of the blue someone said or did something nice for you and it brightened your day?  

Whether they be few and far between, or regular occurrences, most people have had experiences like this.  An unexpected kindness, perhaps at a time when it is most needed, that lifts you up and gives you the strength to go on. It’s a pretty cool experience, right?

What if instead of receiving that experience, you were to give it? 

I have a little bias that goes something like this: We are not here on earth to just receive but to give.  The interesting twist on this – and science will back me up – is that giving has far more benefits to you personally than receiving.

So, add this short little workout to your daily routine:

Kindness Sniper Exercise.

  1. Pick at least one person (your “target”)
  2. Pick a time when they would not be expecting to hear from you
  3. Send them a short, positive message (The “shot”. it can express a compliment, share something you appreciate about them, congratulate them on an accomplishment, share an uplifting quote you think would be meaningful to them, etc. Be creative and genuine.)

That’s it.  You can communicate by email, text, phone, social media, old school letter, or whatever.  It only takes a few minutes of your time and can mean the world to the person you send it to.

Try it every day for a week (a different person each time) and see what happens.

 

Feel free to share your experiences below.  Did you try it? How was your experience?

7 Minute Meditation

The benefits of meditation for your mental, emotional and physical health are well-established.  It helps you be calm, focused and clear-headed – all good things if you want to optimize your performance.  I can also attest from personal experience that it works.

There are many different meditation philosophies and techniques. One meditation style may be more effective for you than another, so I encourage trying different approaches.

This is one I particularly like and which can be scaled depending on your time constraints. For this Charged in 7 workout, it is structured to be done in approximately 7 minutes.

The 7 Minute Meditation Workout

  1. Select 1-2 pieces of music that uplift, inspire and can transport you away from your day-to-day worries.  It could be classical, new age, country, even rock – whatever energizes and soothes you.  For example, my current meditation playlist (the 20 minute version) includes selections from The Piano Guys, Lindsey Stirling, Macklemore and Within Temptation.
  2. Select a quiet location and get comfortable.  You can sit, lay, stand – however you are most comfortable.
  3. Close your eyes.
  4. Slow and control your breathing.  Breathe deep.  As you breathe in visualize breathing in good, positive energy.  As you breathe out visualize exhaling any dark, negative energy. Relax your body as you breathe.  Continue to breathe throughout.
  5. Let yourself get caught up in the music.  Create positive images in your mind and clear away any negative or distracting thoughts.  You could envision yourself floating on a cloud, lying in a beautiful meadow, radiating light, etc.  You could picture yourself living the happiest moment of your life.  Whenever a random thought enters your mind push it away.
  6. When the music stops remain still for a moment, enjoying any positive feelings you are experiencing.
  7. Slowly open your eyes and return to your day.

Just like any exercise, this may take some practice before you get the hang of it.  Don’t get discouraged if you don’t feel calm and refreshed the first time you try.  Also, don’t stress about doing it perfectly – that would defeat the whole purpose!

Planks for the Memories – Plank Workout

People love to hate planks.  Some people swear by them; others merely tolerate them.  Everyone does them for the same reason: they make for a great total body workout.  Planks also make for a great core workout for people who hate traditional crunches.

This Fit in 7 workout is composed entirely of planks.  This is another body weight HIIT circuit, so you won’t need any equipment (other than a mat if you have hard floors).

So, find a nice spot on the floor and prepare to get comfortably uncomfortable.

As a reminder, each exercise is performed for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of rest in between.  Perform 1-3 circuits, depending on your time and ability.

1. Walking Planks

Start in the high plank position (push-up position).  Move both the hand and foot on one side (i.e. right) out 1-2 feet.  Bring the opposite side hand and foot in to return to the high plank position.  Move 2-4 “steps” in one direction (depending on how much space you have), then repeat, moving in the other direction.

2. Bird Dog Plank

Begin in a standard high plank position.  Lift your right leg straight out behind you, then lift your left arm straight in front of you. Keep your body in a straight line from fingertip to toe.  Hold for 15 seconds then switch sides (left leg back, right arm out) for the remaining 15 seconds.

3. Up-Downs

Start in the high plank position.  Lower your right arm down to your forearm then bring your left arm down as well so you are now supported by your forearms in the low plank position.  Place your right hand on the ground and push back up, with your left hand following to arrive in the high plank position. Repeat, leading with the opposite hand each time.  Complete as many repetitions as you can (”AMRAP”).

4. Plank Lateral Jumps

Start in either the high plank (straight arms) or low plank (on forearms/elbows) position.  Keep your legs together and jump your feet from side to side.  To increase difficulty, place an object (dumbbell, step, book, pillow, etc.) next to your feet and hop over it.  Complete as many repetitions as you can.

5. Reverse Plank

Sit on the ground with your legs extended in front of you and arms at your sides. Place hands on the floor next to your hips, fingers pointing towards your feet. Squeeze your butt, open your chest and lift your hips as high as you can, aiming for a straight line from chin to toes. Hold.

6. X Plank

Start in the high plank position.  Move your legs out laterally until your feet are planted wider than hip-width apart.  Move your arms out until they are as wide as your legs.  Hold.  Beginners should start fairly narrow and work your way out wider as you gain strength.

7. Side Plank Crunch (Right Side)

Begin on low or high side plank.  Place your top hand behind your ear.  Bring your top elbow and knee together at your side.  Try not to lean forward or back.

8. Mountain Climbers

Start in high plank.  Alternating each side, bring your knee to your chest.  Use your core help lift your leg.  Complete as many reps as you can.

9. Side Plank Crunch (Left Side)

Repeat #7 on the opposite side.

10. Hip Dips

Starting in low plank (on forearms and elbows) position, slowly dip one hip towards the floor.  Bring it back up to plank position, then repeat on the opposite side.  Complete as many reps as you can.

Whoa, That Was Awesome!

Today’s Charged in 7 Workout is incredibly simple.  So simple you’ll say, “Really, is that all there is to it?”  My response will be, “Yes, that’s
it.  Cool, huh?”

This is the “Whoa, that was awesome!” workout.  It is a simple little exercise to help you remember that life is good and you are succeeding in it.  It is set up as a weekly workout, but you can do it daily if you like.

The “Whoa, That Was Awesome!” Workout.

  1. Reflect over your past week.  With regard to that week do each of the following.
  2. List one high point. (Yes, you had at least one.)
  3. List one humorous experience.  (You can find humor in almost anything, so look for it.)
  4. List one thing you learned
  5. List one thing, based on your experiences, that you will do differently or continue doing this week to make your life or someone else’s life
    better.
  6. Review your list and say, “Whoa, that was an awesome week!  This week is going to be awesome too!”  (You can put this in
    your own words, but be sure it is very positive.)

That’s the workout.  Give it a try!

 

Body Weight Blast Workout

Photo courtesy freedigitalphotos.net Photo courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

Here’s the next workout in the Fit in 7 series. Once again, this is body weight only, so no equipment is needed. You don’t even need a step or a chair – just a space with enough room for you to perform the exercises.

As with the original 7 Minute Workout, perform each exercise for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of rest in between.

High Knees Jumping Jacks

High Knees Jacks

 

 

 

One-Legged Romanian Dead Lifts (alternate legs)

Romanian Dead Lift

Burpees

Burpees

Russian Twist

(Ignore the back roll at the end of the clip – that was just for fun)

Russian Twist

Lateral Jump Overs

Lateral Jump Overs

Hindu Squat

Hindu Squat

Diamond/Triangle Push Ups

Triangle Pushups

Plank Jacks

Plank Jacks

Knee Strikes

Knee Strikes

Reverse Lunge w/Rotation

Reverse Lunge w Twist

Side Bridges (left side)

Try with hand on hip or lifted up.

Side Bridges

 

Spider Man Push Ups

Spider Man Pushups

Side Bridges (right side)

 
 

 

Mix it Up

Photo by Dave B, Flickr

This Fit in 7 workout will introduce you to some exercises you may not have seen before, along with some perennial favorites.  This is another body weight only workout for you.

As usual, perform each exercise for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds rest between each exercise.  Rest for 30 seconds between circuits.

The Circuit

Star Jumps
Camels
Hindu Push Ups
Single Leg Dips
Plank Thrusters
Rear Foot Elevated Squat (both sides)
Reverse Plank
Low to High Plank
Butt Kicks
Lateral Lunge (Side Lunge)
Inchworm
Hip Dips

How To Do it.

Star Jumps
Start with feet together.  Squat down, bringing your arms into your chest.  From this position, launch yourself into the air, spreading your arms and legs out wide.  Land with your feet close together and repeat.

Camels

Great for the legs and glutes.  Start on your knees, with an erect posture so that your legs are at 90 degrees.  You should have a straight line from knees to head.  Lift your arms straight out in front of you.  From this position, keeping your upper body straight and using only your legs and glutes, lean your body backward.  Reach one arm back to touch your heel (i.e. right hand touches right heel).  Return to the upright position, keeping the upper body straight throughout.  Repeat, reaching back with the opposite arm.

Hindu Push Ups

Start with your tail in the air, legs wide apart and your hands placed on the floor in front of you so as to form a V shape (this is known as the downward dog position).  Ideally you will have a straight line from wrist to hip.   Bend your arms, lowering your body toward the floor, and in a swooping motion move your body down so that your hips move toward the floor and your head and chest move upward. Keep your motion fluid and controlled.  You will end with your hips near or touching the floor and your chest and head raised.  Return to the downward dog position, keeping your arms straight and shifting your hips up.

Single Leg Dips

Start seated with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands just behind your hips, fingertips facing forward. Draw your abs in tight as you lift your hips up off the floor, pressing down through your hands. Lift one leg and extend it straight up towards the ceiling. Bend your elbows and lower yourself to just above the floor. Quickly press back up. Switch legs and repeat.

Plank Thrusters

Start in the high plank position.  Using your core, bring your legs and feet in underneath you.  From this position thrust your feet back out to return to the plank position.  Repeat.  Be sure to keep your core and glutes tight as you perform this exercise.

Rear Foot Elevated Squat

This exercise works the same muscles as a regular squat, but is performed on one leg (making it a wee bit harder). Stand a few inches in front of a chair, couch, plyo-box, etc. that is about knee-height.  Step forward and place one foot on the chair. Keep the foot resting on the chair throughout. Keep your back straight and chest up as you lower into a single leg squat. Once the thigh of your front leg reaches parallel to the floor, push back up to the standing position.

Low to High Plank

Start in the low plank position, resting on your elbows and forearms.  Moving one arm at a time, push yourself up into a high plank position.  Reverse the process to return to a low plank position.  Repeat, alternating which arm you start with each time.

Butt Kicks

You know ‘em and love ‘em.  Jog in place, bringing your heels up to your tush.

Lateral Lunge

Starting with feet about shoulder width apart, take a large step to one side, landing in a side lunge position.  Be sure to keep your back straight and knee behind the toes.  Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Inchworm

Start in a standing position.  Bend over until your hands touch the floor.  Keep your core tight to support your lower back.  Slowly walk your hands forward until you are in a plank position.  Perform a push up and then walk your hands back until you can return to a standing position.  Repeat.

Hip Dips

From a plank position, dip one hip down towards the floor.  Return to the plank position and repeat on the other side.  This can be performed from the low or high plank position.  Beginners should start in the low plank position.

The Name Wizard Workout: 5 Easy Steps to Remembering Names

Have you ever met someone new only to realize a few minutes later that you have forgotten their name?  You may be able to muddle through the initial conversation without giving away your lapse, but what if you meet them again later on?  “Hey, how are you doing, er, friend?“   It can be awkward and embarrassing, right?

Let me tell you, I’ve always had a great memory for faces.  I don’t know why, but I have.  The problem was, I was terrible with names, particularly if I ran into somebody outside of the context I originally met them in.  I’d think to
myself, “I know you.  How do I know you and what is your name?”, and then try to fake it as best I could until I could figure it out.

If you’ve ever had a similar experience, then this Social in 7 workout is for you.  Here are five simple steps you can practice to become a name wizard and never forget a name again.

The Name Wizard Workout

The next time you meet someone new, practice this technique.  You can even
deliberately put yourself in a situation where you are meeting new people.  In a few minutes or less you will remembering names and making new connections.

The technique is simple.  Just Care and S.A.V.E.

1.  Care.
Experts tell us that the number one reason we don’t remember names is
that we don’t make it a priority.  Genuinely care about the other person
and see them as worth remembering their name.  Focus on the persona and
make remembering their name a priority.

2.  Say it.  When someone tells you their name, repeat it back to them.  “Nice to meet you, Susana.“

3.  Ask.
Ask about the name – how it is spelled, pronunciation, preferred name (ex. Jim or James), origin, etc.  In the appropriate situation, ask for a business card so you can glance at the name periodically.  If you’ve already forgotten it, ask them to repeat it.

4. Visualize.
Create associations between the name and things they tell you about themselves (”Paul likes to paint.”) or between name and something in your experience (”David – I had a roommate named David”).  You can also create mental pictures, create rhymes (”Jane has a cane.”), use alliteration (”Mark manages marketing.”), etc.

5.  Express.
Use their name periodically throughout the conversation.  Don’t overuse it.  Close the conversation with their name.  “It was nice talking with you, Alejandro.”

If you like, you can practice this on somebody you already know and who you trust not to laugh at you (laughing with you is okay).  Just tell them what you are doing.  It only takes a few minutes and most real friends will be glad to help.

Giving credit where credit is due, this technique was developed from the work of Jim Kwik, Colin Rose, and Benjamin Levy.