July 4, 2016

11 Simple Hacks For Remembering People’s Names

Names are challenging things to remember. We have all met thousands of people in our lives, yet how many of their names to we actually remember? Not as many as we would like to that’s for sure.

man applying blank name tag to shirt

Remembering someone’s name is a great way to make a favorable first impression. When we draw a blank on someone’s name not only is it rude, but it can be both awkward and embarrassing too – especially when they remember your name. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s game over.

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We can all relate to forgetting someone’s name. It’s frustrating, but it still happens to everyone. Luckily, there are a few simple hacks for remembering people’s names that you can try and apply:

  1. Listen – The number one reason people forget names is because they don’t listen. Listening is a valuable skill that people respect. It will help you retain info (like names) and appear genuinely interested.
  2. Repeat It – As soon as someone says their name, repeat it. Use their name at every chance during your initial conversation to help you remember it.
  3. Visualize Their Name – Once you hear the name, it’s time to visualize it in your head. Spell the name out and see each letter – it’s kind of like counting sheep.
  4. Ask Them To Spell It – When someone has a unique name, ask them to spell it out. This will help you visualize it and commit it to memory.
  5. Create An Association – Quickly brainstorm a word association with the name that pertains to a unique characteristic, story, object, animal, or anything else. For example, Peter “Penguin” or Mark “Moose” This process will help to connect the person with something else.
  6. Play The Rhyme Game – Try to find a word that their names rhyme with. Then repeat it in your head several times to help create that lyrical memory.
  7. Commit To It – If you go into every conversation with the goal of remember the other person’s name, you’ll be more successful.
  8. Make A Connection – After the conversation starts to roll, try to find out an intriguing detail about the person. Getting to know something interesting about a person will help you remember them.
  9. Ask For Help – If you’re totally drawing a blank, recruit a friend or co-worker to play detective. Introduce them and quickly relearn the name. Then apply the above steps.
  10. Write It Down – After a job fair or networking event, sort out your business cards and write down the names of the people you met. This will help with long term name retention.
  11. Ask – If all else fails and you can’t remember someone’s name, just ask. Don’t dwell on your embarrassment. Ask politely and move on with the rest of your conversation.

The next time you’re at a networking event, cocktail party, or company outing, use these simple hacks for remembering people’s names. They work well when applied correctly. And who knows remembering someone’s name could help you edge out the competition in the job search or help you finagle your way into a promotion or raise. Remembering names is more important than you might think.

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Everyone likes to hear their name. It adds a personalized touch to a conversation and interaction. Do your best to remember other people’s names because not everyone in the world is going to wear a name tag.

About this Author 

Derek Lennon is a skier and writer who lives, works, and plays in the mountains. He travels the globe in search of snow and adventure. Life has allowed him to live and work all over the world doing cool jobs and loving every minute of it.

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