Becoming a Top Gun by Ron White
I want you to get this image in your head…
In international waters an aircraft carrier is busy with movement. Flight deck crews are safely directing aircraft. The air traffic controller is giving commands. Pilots are throttling their engines and sailors are swiftly and precisely preparing for a mission at 07:30. The mission is for a squadron of F-18 Hornets to take flight, but there is one problem: one of the cockpits is empty.
At 07:28 a young pilot, scarfing down a donut and chugging a cup of coffee, is smiling and laughing as he scampers toward his aircraft still zipping his flight suit. He grins and says, “Sorry guys, it was one of those Murphy’s Law mornings [or traffic was bad or something else]. Sorry I am late.”
Was that hard for you to picture? It was for me, because we all know that military pilots are some of the most trained and disciplined people on the planet. And in this scenario that lack of attention to detail would affect an entire mission and very possibly cost lives.
In life and business an often overlooked component to success is attention to detail and precision. If you want to be the best of the best, if you want to be the “Top Gun” of your organization, the only way to achieve that mark is to fail to make excuses, and more important, to fail to put yourself in a position where you have to make excuses. A true “Top Gun” will pay attention to the smallest detail and this means:
1. Realizing when you fail to meet expectations, you impact your entire team and customers. There is a difference between risking and failing and failing because you were sloppy.
2. Becoming an expert at preparation. In the military this is called the pre-flight briefing. You better have a pre-flight briefing before every sales call, business day or meeting to organize your thoughts and actions.
3. Every mission has an objective. Never make a sales call or business contact without a clearly stated and defined objective. A military pilot would never take off just to see what will happen. Have an objective.
This is how you become a “Top Gun”!
How to Remember Names and Faces
By Ron White
I remember the first time I heard the Zig Ziglar quote, “People don’t care how much you know until they first know how much you care.” I was 18 years old and at a time in my life when I would read theological books at night so I could debate and “win” the next day. This quote helped me understand that my friends didn’t care how much I knew until they first knew how much I cared. Later in life I realized if I could remember names and faces, I would be able to show people I cared in a tangible way. This makes an impact on personal and business levels.
I began working on developing my memory 20 years ago and since that time I have been a two-time USA Memory Champion and even held the record for the fastest to memorize a deck of cards in the USA. However, the truth is anyone can improve their memory and yes, even remember names and faces.
How many times has this happened to you? You shake someone’s hand and then two seconds later you are looking at them thinking, “Wow…what is this person’s name?” Let’s face it, it has happened to all of us. This challenge is not a memory problem. A healthy brain does not know a piece of information and then forget it two seconds later. This scenario is a focus problem. If you were candid you would turn to the person and say, “Hey, you know a few minutes ago when you told me your name? Well…I wasn’t even listening!” Most of us don’t take that route. So how do you do it? How do you get better at recalling names and faces?
1. Focus – Good nutrition and exercise will help your focus. Avoiding excessive alcohol the night before a big meeting is also good advice. In addition, and perhaps even more powerful, develop the habit of asking yourself this question as you walk towards someone, “What is their name?” Asking yourself this question 2-3 times before you say hello focuses your brain.
2. Store the name – You need a location on their face to store the name. Observe the face and select a facial feature that really catches your eye. A scar, unique ears, big nose, distinctive eyes, bushy eyebrows, beard, goatee, lips, wrinkles or something that really catches your eye. This is where you will mentally place the name.
3. Turn the name into a picture, something that you can see. Some examples are, Lisa = Mona Lisa, Steve = stove, Karen = carrot, Robert = robot, David = divot, Kevin = cave in, Al = owl, Albert = burnt owl, Gary = garage, Ron = run.
4. With action and emotion visualize the picture for their name on their distinctive feature. If Steve has a big nose, imagine a stove cooking his nose. If Karen has pretty eyes, visualize a carrot in her eyes. If Gary has bushy eyebrows, imagine a garage door closing on his eyebrows.
5. Review, review, review. When you are standing across the room observe and review your pictures. When you are driving home, review; and at the end of every day ask yourself, “Who did I meet today?” Occasionally ask yourself, “Who did I meet last week?”
This is a habit and it takes work. Right now you may be thinking, “Are you kidding me? A five-step process? That is more work than just remembering the name!” Initially that is true. With that said, if you invest a month or two in this process you will have turned hundreds of common names into pictures and with practice you will see how quick this process really is. I once memorized 301 names in Canada at a conference. There is no way I would have been able to do that without this system.
If you would like a little short-cut, visit http://www.brainathlete.com/ and click on the box for free names training. There you can get my pictures for 150 common names. Zig Ziglar tells us, “People don’t care how much you know until they first know how much you care.” Dale Carnegie taught that everyone’s favorite subject is himself or herself, and the sweetest sound to their ear is their own name. When you develop the skill of remembering names you will build relationships, make friendships and even maximize business profits.
Don’t forget to remember!
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