Let’s face it, we’ve all had that moment. That moment when we’re talking to someone from work, class, or Latin club, and instead of listening to what they’re saying, we’re trying to remember their name. This is an uneasy feeling, but there is one even worse…when they remember your name! Embarrassing? I think so! To remedy this, I’ve started using some tricks that greatly improve name recall.
1: Mindset. You are no longer “bad at remembering names”. Stop thinking this!
2: Focus! The first thirty seconds of many conversations are on autopilot. We’ve done it so much that it’s just a routine, similar to when we drive someplace and then can’t remember the trip (aka driver amnesia). Wake up! Pay attention
3: Use their name as soon as you learn it. If they say, “Hi, I’m Mark.” Say something similar to “Hi Mark, I’m _______, it’s nice to meet you.”
4: Repetition! Once they say it, repeat it in your head until you feel comfortable or have to listen/speak again. In 1-2 seconds you could say it anywhere from 3-10 times.
5: Create a link to someone (or something) else. There is a good chance you already know someone with the same name (friend, family member, actor, singer, etc.). Draw a connection to this other person in your head. Picture them. That way, if you forget the person’s name that you just met, all you have to do is remember the person you linked them to. Also, only have one “home base” link per name. Every new Nick I meet, for example, I link to the same “base” Nick. If you can’t link them to a person, link them to a familiar or significant object/event. For example, I recently met a man named Mr. Bridges and immediately linked him to the Golden Gate bridge. Be creative if you must, but the bottom line is to create a powerful and accessible association.
6: Ask for spelling! If it’s an uncommon name and you can’t create a link, ask them how it’s spelled. This also works for sneaking in repetitions. “Jezebel? That’s a fun name, how do you spell that?” Writing helps our memory; write it in your head as they say it: “J-e-z-e-b-e-l”.
7: Continual use. Use it at least once or twice during the conversation and especially when you say goodbye.
These have helped me dramatically and I hope they will do so for you! Good luck
Photo by intuitives