How To Remember Someone’s Name

There is nothing more endearing, charming, and impressive than remembering someone’s name. It is a proven fact that no word elicits such a positive response, such a feeling of euphoria and acceptance, than hearing one’s own name. Despite this powerful psychological tool, almost everyone is terrible at remembering names. How many times have you been introduced to someone, only to forget their name moments later?

It’s not your fault, it’s human nature. We remember faces instinctively. It times back to when we were cavemen and remembering an enemies face was often the difference between life or death.

But names, however, are a relatively new phenomena, one not necessarily tied to survival. It is however, a skill that can be the difference between nailing a client pitch or being looked over, getting her number or getting her back, the modern man’s life or death.

Hopefully, we are about to make this faux-pas, a thing of the past- for you and your professional life.

In social settings, don’t introduce yourself from the start of conversation. If possible, postpone it. Whether you are at a networking event, in the work lunchroom, or other social situation involving several people, introductions before conversations tend to be forgettable by nature as half the people are you talk to will be boring by nature.

Be nice to everyone, but you’re struggling to remember names, we’re going to filter some people out to make it easier for you. Let’s only focus on the people you truly want to befriend.

So what do you do?

First you must become a genuinely interested listener. You must actively listen in the conversation, rather than just waiting for your turn to talk. That way when you finally ask for their name it doesn’t just go in one ear and out the other. This is a skill that takes time to practice, but probably one of the most important skills you will ever learn in your life.

You will gain more friends in two months by becoming interested in others, than two years trying to get others interested in you.

Ok awesome, you have their name. Don’t forget it now! What do you do?

1.) 90% of the time it’s going to be a common name. In fact, you probably already know someone by the same name. We’ll use “Christie” as an example.

I want you to picture your new friend Christie doing something crazy with the Christie you already know. Sky-diving, robbing a bank together, performing in a play, it doesn’t matter what it is, all that matters is that you associate your new friend with a familiar face. The name will come to you almost instantly whenever you need it.

2.) If the name is uncommon, ask for a spelling and then make up your own visual association. You are going to need to get creative with this one. For example: my name is Ayman, very weird, very uncommon. I introduce people by saying:

“My name is Ayman, like Cayman Islands without the C.”

I think every single person I’ve used that line with has remembered my name. I don’t know if they associate me with a tropical paradise, but I’ve engaged their memory and made sure my name wasn’t another word falling on deaf ears.

Unfortunately, not everyone is as accommodating so you will need to make up your own visualizations. Get creative. What’s important is that you take a conscience effort to try and remember the name. If you do that, you’re already 80% ahead of the game.

Never again will you shy away from a business connection because you’re too embarrassed to ask for his name again, never again will you fumble your words in chance bumpings with acquaintances.

Good Luck.

Pro Tip: The conversation went great, you’ve created a great business contact and plan to meet up for lunch, you can’t screw it up now by asking for their name again. Here’s what you do:

As you’re entering their info in your phone, use this line:

“How do you spell your name?” or “Is your name spelled the normal way?”

When they look offended and begin spelling out their name say,

“No I meant your last name.”

Either that or hand them the phone so they can punch it in themselves while asking for their phone in return.

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  1. Olman J. Quesada April 7, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    My name is Olman… like old man without the d

    1. brokerchange April 7, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      That is an unsettling image.

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