How To Remember Names
One of the most important and often forgotten about aspects of business and personal life is remembering peoples names. It’s actually one of the most difficult parts about business as well, because when we are out at all these networking events, talking to people in the office and meeting people in our day-to-day life. We meet people everywhere we go and it seems overwhelming to remember everyone’s name that we encounter. However, there is often power in that which is difficult for us and remembering names is no different.
Dale Carnegie once said:
“A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
If you know anything about Dale Carnegie, you understand that he was one of the most powerful and influential business men of all time. He is the author of one of the best selling books of all time How To Win Friends and Influence People . I’d say that Carnegie knew a thing or two about people and how to interact with people.
I’ve personally been fascinated by remembering people’s names and pride myself on remembering as many names of people and faces as I can. It wasn’t always easy and in fact was extremely difficult for me when I first got involved in business. Thinking back on the networking events I’d go to during college and meeting small groups of 5-10 people, I’d sometimes struggle to remember the names of the people in this small group. One of the latest networking events I went to I met over 35 people and remembered each and every one of their names and faces. What did I do to change this over the past 2 years?
Steps To Remember More Names
Easy, right? Now you’ll remember everyone’s name that you ever meet! Just kidding, it takes a little more work than that. However, because we like to do things the “brain smart” way here, I’m going to teach you how you can implement this 4 step system into your day-to-day life.
The first step is to commit to yourself that you are going to remember more names. Remembering names is the same as improving in any aspect of your life and you must make a commitment to yourself in order to truly make a change. It truly needs to be a conscious decision for you in order for you to dedicate time to this aspect of your life. If you think it’s just going to happen without you committing to it, it simply will not work.
You can’t blame your “bad memory” if you forget names either. The only reason you believe that you have a “bad memory” is because you haven’t been training it to remember names. You’ve got to tell yourself, because its true, that you can remember names if you put your mind to it.
The next time before you head to a networking event or a party anywhere, remind yourself by telling yourself “I will make my best effort to remember the names of the people I meet.” By doing this, you are programming your mind to be receptive of meeting new people and this goes right into the next step of the system…
You’ve got to keep in mind that you can only remember what you focus on and observe in the first place. If your concentration is on something else or you are distracted when someone is telling you their name, you won’t remember it. This means you’ll need to focus on 2 things in this step:
1) Pay attention to the persons name when you first hear it
2) Form an impression of what you thought of them when you first met them
You truly need to listen to the persons name when they first tell you it. Take the time to listen and focus on them. Be genuinely interested in learning about them and what their name is. If you missed it when they first told you their name or you didn’t hear them correctly, you can always say “I’m sorry I missed your name. Can you give it to me again?” You don’t need to be ashamed of this, which you may initially think you would, because you truly did miss their name and want to get it right. The person will be grateful that you are interested enough to get their name again.
If you truly need to, you can even say “I’m sorry can you spell it out for me?” I’ve done this various times when I thought I heard a “b” but it was actually a “v” in a name. Get a clear picture of your impression of the person at this time as well. You want to notice things that will help you remember this person later on. Perhaps the shape of their nose or their smile will help you remember their names.
Repeating anything helps you remember it. It’s the same as with your golf swing, the more you repeat it, the more you become comfortable with it and the more it is engrained in your memory through muscle memory. I use this a lot with juggling and using muscle memory through repetition in order to improve my juggling form.
So how does this apply to remembering names? It’s simple. As soon as you hear the persons name in the conversation you want to repeat it once to verify you heard the persons name correctly. If you didn’t, they will be able to correct you and this will actually be beneficial to you because you will be able to repeat the name a few more times to verify that you got it right.
You can also repeat the name silently to yourself during your conversation with them. I find its best to use the other persons name at least 3 to 5 times within the first few minutes of the conversation. This is not only because people love hearing their own name repeated, but also because it helps you remember their name. Always use their name when leaving the conversation as well, this will leave another memory in your mind about their name.
One of the best ways to remember a name is to associate their name to something that is on their face. Say for example you meet a girl by the name of Nancy and Nancy has a large nose for her face. You can associate “nosey” and “Nancy” if it will help you remember her name. By exaggerating the image and making it larger than life, it will further solidify their name in your mind.
If visual images are the best way you learn, then use visual images to remember the name of these people. If you meet someone named Jack, picture Jack in a Box popping out at you. I find it fun and entertaining to come up with pictures like this from time to time.
If you are more of a sound person, associate a rhyme or sound with the person you meet. For example if you know of The Beatles and meet a girl named Michelle, you can remember Michelle, ma belle.
If feelings are more up your alley, which is typically true of females more-so than males, then you can associate feelings to different people and their names. If you meet a person named Paul, who is fairly pushy, you can remember Paul is fairly pushy. You can find out little tips and tricks that work well for you to allow you to associate your feelings to their name.
Practice Makes Perfect
This is just a starting point for you so you’ll need to remember that this is a growing process and you will find what ways work best for you and what doesn’t work for you.
The next time you are going out to a networking event or party, keep these steps in mind and work on improving your memory. You’ll start to remember names better and will develop better relationships with more people.
If you have any suggestions or tips that have helped you remember names, please leave comments below!