How To Make Sure You Never Forget A Name Again
Do you have problems remembering names or are you really lucky
and never forget a face ... or a name? If like many of us you go
to network meetings or social events where you will be meeting a
large number of people, how do you remember all those names?
The first step is to prepare yourself mentally. Make a conscious
decision to remember all the names of the people you are about
When you're about to be introduced to someone, listen carefully
and CONCENTRATE! How often does it go in one ear and out the
other because we're not really listening or our thoughts are
If you miss it, ask them to repeat it. When you first hear
someone's name, repeat it straight away, "Good to meet you John"
and try to use it three times during your conversation, "So,
tell me John ..." and when you leave, "Thank-you, John, it was
good to meet you ... If you realise you've forgotten their name
by the time you come to end the conversation - politely ask them
again? This will help reinforce their name in your mind. If it's
an unusual name ask how it's spelled.
Association The easiest way to remember someone's name is by
association. * Do they remind you of anyone? A friend, relative,
work colleague, actor or well-known person, living or dead?
* Do they have the same first name as someone you know? Does
their first name or surname create an image in your mind?
* What type of person do they look like - a lawyer, an
accountant, a typical ...salesman, teacher ... (what's typical
to you will be different from someone else, use your
* Does their name link directly to an occupation in which case
the image is easier to form - Baker, Gardner, Porter etc.
Create a picture
Now create an image with as many of the elements as possible -
the person who they remind you of, a location, the image of
their surname and the person you know with the same first name.
Make it as visual, colourful, bizarre and as detailed as
possible. For example Michael White - reminds you of an
accountant, visualise him with a massive 'white' calculator,
pouring over a pile of papers and account books, surrounded by
large, colourful numbers. David Brooks reminds you of Woody
Allen and has the same name as your Uncle David - visualise your
Uncle David in 'Manhattan' dancing around in a 'brook' that
meanders between the buildings.
Another obvious association is between someone's name and a
physical feature or trait. The shape of their face, a
distinguishing part such as eyes, ears, chin, nose, hair colour
etc. Alan Blackburn has big black sideburns (does that
translate?). So emphasis the image - see your friend Alan (also
called Alan) with big black sideburns or a large 'allen' key
with great big Black sideburns.
The first thing you think of is the strongest association - use
this, it will make it easier to recall later.
This might sound like a very long-winded and lengthy approach
but the brain is amazingly fast, efficient and brilliant at
recognising images. The more you practice, the faster you will
get at making associations and the easier it will become. The
brain works more effectively with images and the more bizarre
they are the more likely you are to recall the information.
Try not to link the image to their clothing or something they
are wearing such as jewellery, especially if you are likely to
meet them again. They are highly unlikely to be wearing the same
thing when/if you next meet them.
If you're with a group of people for a whole day, linking to
clothing can work while you get to know them better. It helps to
keep recalling their names throughout the day and using their
name when in conversation with them.
OK, my examples may not do it for you but hopefully you get the
If you get introduced to more than one person at a time, for
instance in a group, take your time, scan each face and find the
association. The more you do it the faster you'll become and the
easier the associations will be to find.
Another important key to remembering names and faces is to
review them regularly. When you're at a meeting or social event,
you can briefly scan the faces in the room and recall the names.
The more often you do this, the more likely you are to remember
them. When you get home, recall their face. If you have their
business card, recall their face linked to their card and if
possible do the same the following day and a week later to get
it into longer-term memory.
The more often you associate the face with the name, the more
likely you are to remember them the next time you meet them. You
know how good it feels when someone actually remembers your name
and people are always flattered when you do.
Use these ideas and with a little practice you need never forget
a name again.
Copyright 2006: Clare Evans