As part of a charity auction, I promised someone a letter containing all my advice for life. I should have known at the time that this was folly - "The wise man knows he knows nothing."
Setting yourself up as an authority on anything, let alone anything as broad as 'life', isn't for anyone who wants to avoid being a target - of incredulity, of jokes, of whispers behind your back. Fortunately I don't care about any of those things (which is one of my first pieces of advice) so I'm ploughing on and writing the letter. In fact, I'm loving it.
Lots of my 'advice' is on seemingly frivolous subjects like honey and umbrellas. Also, most of the really fundamental style advice (for men, at least) has already been written in this book, which I highly recommend. (Though there is room in my letter for my own extra thoughts on style, of course, and to disagree with a couple of things in that wonderful little book.)
But meanwhile, I thought you might like me to share the odd thing or two from my letter. Tips that could be genuinely useful to you. In fact, I have one of the most useful tips you'll ever get. You'll use it a lot, it really works, and it could change your life: HOW TO REMEMBER NAMES.
Parties, networking events, meetings... remove all the awkwardness and anxiety by simply knowing how to remember someone's name first time. How great would that be? Here's how:
The first time you hear someone's name, try to work out what it is backwards. (You don't need to do this aloud, just in your head.)
It works for common names, unusual names, all names. I haven't interrogated exactly how it works, but I've been doing it for years, since I started it as a joke in my teens. And it does work. My guess is that it's something to do with planting the name in a different part of your brain.
I quickly realised my 'party trick' wasn't entertaining enough to be worthy of that name, but I found myself doing it in my head anyway and never forgetting a name. So I've used this trick ever since. At speaking events in schools I've remembered the names of a whole class of kids while the register was being taken. That's taking it a bit far, but it's good practice and it's fun freaking them out when I know everyone's name.
Give it a go. And if you'd like me to help you or your company with conversation, networking, public speaking, or any aspect of spoken or written word, I'm available. Get in touch.
More life tips coming soon. Possibly about honey and umbrellas.
Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments.