10 Effective Ways to Remember Names

Sigmund Freud says "a person's name is the single context of human memory most apt to be forgotten." Feelings of embarrassment and social ineptitude are conveyed through this forgetfulness, and unfortunately, the problem persists daily. The ability to remember names is an important skill that gives you an advantage in social and business settings. However, the way you associate and remember names is based on your learning style and personality type.

The following list of ten effective ways to remember names combines visual, aural and strategic techniques. Once you find the best fit for you, it will become easier to avoid muttering the most awkward and impersonal sentence in the English language: "Hey you!"

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
As soon as you hear their name, repeat it back to the person. "It's good to finally meet you, Karen-I hear you're the expert on mufflers."
If you don't do this, you will forget her name within ten seconds of meeting her. Also be sure to repeat the name aloud in the beginning, during and at the end of the conversation. This will allow you to widen various areas of your memory circuit.
"That's a great story Stephanie!" "Wow Tony, you obviously know your hockey." If you speak the name, hear the name, and listen to yourself say the name, you will remember it.

Inquiry
The number one rule in interpersonal communication is to show a genuine interest in the other person. So, ask your new colleague to explain the personal significance of their name. Ask if they go by a nickname. Inquire about the culture from which their name was derived. The spelling question is also effective. Even if Dave or Bob is only spelled one way you can always ask if they prefer "Dave," "David," "Bobby" or "Robert."

In so doing, you show them you care about them as a person. You also transform their name from an arbitrary fact into a meaningful representation of them. Ultimately, you will flatter them and make them feel appreciated.

Dramatize Faces
You probably remember faces better than you remember names. Great! This will only make it easier when you dramatize someone's face and associate facial feature with their name. For example, if their nose or hair is particularly memorable, make a connection using alliteration with their name. Brian has bright red hair. Lucy has a long nose.

The trick is to make your associations and dramatizations memorable and interesting. Remember, that which is exaggerated and ridiculous is memorable.

Forget About You
"Did I give him the 'cold fish' handshake?" "Did I even look into her eyes?" "Do you think she noticed the logo on my company briefcase?" If you try too hard to make a good first impression, odds are you will have no idea to whom you make a good first impression to!

So don't think about yourself! Forget about you! Concentrate on them. When you become too self-conscious and nervous during the moment of introduction, it will interfere with your memory.

Write Them Down
If you are a visual learner, write down the name of the person. This is a flawless method to remember. Most networking functions and meetings take place where tables, pens and paper are available.

Throughout the conversation, look down at the name in front of you, and then look at the person. Maria. Then look at the name again. Maria. Then look at the person again. Maria. You'll never forget.

The additional benefit when you do this, unbeknownst to you, is that at least one other person in your group will see you write the name down. Talk about a good first impression!

Inner Monologue
Imagine you've already used Samantha's name during the conversation. You seem to have it committed to memory. Then again, you don't want to overuse her name aurally. Even if a person's name is the sweetest sound they will ever hear, you don't want to make it too obvious that you use the repetition trick.

Fortunately, there are countless opportunities during the conversation to quickly say the name to yourself while you look at their face: while they get a pen, while they take a drink, while they get something out of their desk, while they laugh at your hilarious joke.

It only takes a few seconds to look at someone and silently think to yourself, "Samantha. Samantha. Samantha." Don't worry; you won't miss anything if you choose to do this at the appropriate times.

Introduce Someone Else
"Have you met my coworker Patty?" you ask the nameless person. "I don't believe I have," he says, "My name is Roger. It's nice to meet you Patty." Roger. That's his name! You thought it was Antonio! Thank God you introduced him to someone else or you would be floating up the eponymous creek.

Furthermore, if you introduce someone you just met to another person, it allows you to: take control of the conversation, show your willingness to encourage connections and expand someone else's network of colleagues.

Listen and Look for Name Freebies
More often than not, you won't be the only person who knows the name of your new colleague. This means that other people will say their name, and you will be reminded. No charge. All you have to do is pay attention.

Also remember to keep your eyes open for subtle, visual reminders such as business cards, receipts, nametags, jewelry, table tents and personal papers. Without getting too nosey, it will be easy to identify these "name freebies" that paint you out of your memory corners.

These ten effective techniques to remember names will be helpful to cross the chasm between you and a potential colleague or associate. When you identify and amplify someone's name, you won't suffer a loss of face. Ultimately, your interactions and conversations will become more personal and comfortable.

Practice. Practice. Practice. That's the hard part. But over time you will learn how these different techniques for name memory will work best for you.

Attitude. Attitude. Attitude. That's the easy part. However, while practice enhances your name memory over time, it only takes a few seconds to decide to change your attitude. Don't yourself that you can't remember names. In fact, from this moment on, you are no longer bad with names. Combine this new attitude with your recently acquired skills, and you'll never have to say "Hey you!" again.

2005 All Rights Reserved.

Scott Ginsberg is a professional speaker, "The World's Foremost Expert on Nametags" and the author of HELLO my name is Scott and The Power of Approachability. He helps people MAXIMIZE their approachability and become UNFORGETTABLE communicators - one conversation at a time. For more information contact Front Porch Productions at http://www.hellomynameisscott.com.

In The News:


pen paper and inkwell


cat break through


Building Great Business Relationships

If you're in a business relationship with anyone ? a... Read More

How to Organize a Successful Bad Sweater Party

"Hey Scott, would you like to go to a Bad... Read More

Network Marketing Secret: On Becoming the ?GoTo? Guy

For years we've been taught to identify ourselves as reps... Read More

Work that Room, Baby!

Networking, schmoozing, making connections. Call it what you want, it's... Read More

How to Avoid Falling Asleep Behind the Conversational Wheel

Think about the last time you feel asleep behind the... Read More

How To Make Your Next Networking Event A Success

There are people who are natural born networkers - those... Read More

Networking for Wallflowers: How to Profit from Getting into the Crowd

The two most common complaints about networking are: 1) I... Read More

Land the Ideal Job Using Social Networks

With at least 60% of job-seekers finding employment through networking,... Read More

Mobile Car Wash Companies; Trading Tips

If you run a mobile car washing firm we recommend... Read More

Online Business Networking: How Personal is Too Personal?

Online networking has opened up some fantastic business opportunities for... Read More

Is The Company You Keep Hurting Your Business?

When you look at your friends, it's like looking into... Read More

How to Gain Maximum Value from Your Networking Time

One of the best ways to get business is through... Read More

Networking: Is Your Approach Too Self-Centered?

It's a classic mistake by networkers: their approach is focused... Read More

3 Reasons to Join a Group

Defining your purpose for joining a group.When you make the... Read More

Success Sentences to Help Combat Conversational Crappiness

Essential to your success as an effective, engaging communicator is... Read More

Five Best Ways To Build A Network

I have been working from home on the internet for... Read More

Strategic Networking: Take the Shortest Path to Success

Do you use Ryze or LinkedIn to promote your web... Read More

5 Ways to Wow People Who Wear Nametags

People wear nametags more often than you think. The majority... Read More

Defining a Quality Networking Group

When it comes to quality, how do you choose the... Read More

Follow-Up with Your Contacts

What happens when you meet a potential client at an... Read More

Create a 10 Second Introduction From Your USP

You can generate a ton of business by networking, whether... Read More

10 Terrific Tips to Talk Your Way to the Top

What is "the top" anyway? According to society, "top" has... Read More

Value-Added Network

A value-added network can be achieved through explicit actions to... Read More

Increasing the ROI on Your Networking

Networking requires an investment of time, money and effort. Here... Read More

Write It Down!

Why would you want to write information on paper when... Read More

Discover Your Own Source Of Business Leads

Generating new business leads is critical in your success, no... Read More

How NOT to Waste Your Time Networking

Ever wonder if networking, referral groups, and conferences are a... Read More

How to Create an Interest Story for the Press

What makes a good interest story?An interest story is just... Read More

Getting Leads

How many leads do you pass on?As a reminder, you... Read More

Creating Successful Alliances and Partnerships through Networking

Douglas Wilder, former Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and... Read More

Should You Offer Commissions For Customer Referrals?

As a small business owner you may find yourself in... Read More

Sticky Situations: Nametag Best Practices

Because a person's name is the single context of human... Read More

Building Business Relationships in a Roomful of Strangers

You approach a stranger at an association meeting or industry... Read More