Focus on the other person...their interests...what they are working on...volunteer work...hobbies...and use their name at least three times during the conversation. It will help you to remember it
I worked in the hospitality industry for 25 years...it's all about schmoozing people. I found that remembering names ... A simple thing I picked up for Dale Carnegie, was the most useful thing I ever learned. People love to be remembered...and by talking about their interests, it's easier to make associations with them
No, I was in Rooms and Food & Beverage... Director of Operations, General Manager. The GM has to be able to schmooze!
I have found that when I listen to what the other person is saying helps. While that sounds obvious the reality is that most of the time we think we are listening but really we are thinking in our head what we will say next.
Part of us does this because of fear of that awkward pause (feeling it makes us look silly). I have over come that with the raised eyebrows and a head shake, indicating I have heard and trying to formulate my words in response. People actually seem to notice and appreciate it. Good luck.
Ask people about themselves...comment when you can relate to what they're saying...