It's happened to the best of us: you're introduced to someone, you shake his hand, you talk to him for several minutes and all the while you're thinking, ‘what was his name?'. Save yourself the embarrassment of forgetting people's names by learning how to remember them. Here are a few tricks to jog your memory and help you to remember people's names.
Use a name as soon as you learn it. The best way to keep someone's name in your memory is to use the name often. As soon as you are introduced to someone, shake his or her hand and say ‘Hello (Jack/Peter/Susan). It's nice to meet you. (Jack/Peter/Susan), have you met my wife, Jill?' Notice how you used the name twice within a few sentences. If you keep using it, your long-term memory will take over and you won't forget the name.
Make use of lulls in a conversation. If you're in a group of people you've been newly introduced to, practice new names silently in your head. Go around the circle and try to name each person you've just met. The more effort you put into remembering people's names, the easier you will recollect them. If you can't remember someone's name, listen in on the conversation and wait for someone else to use that person's name. Commit the name to memory, and then go through the group again until you can name each new person you've met.
Write down names. People who remember other people's names sometimes have an advantage, whether it is in networking situations, job interviews or social gatherings. Help yourself out by writing down the names of people you meet that you may need to remember in the future. Record their names, affiliations to you or your company, and something that will help you remember each of them (a funny tie? a quirky mannerism? the guy in the cubicle next to you?) Make a list and look back on it a few times. You never know when remembering people's names will help you out or win the respect of others.
Get a business card. Another trick to help you remember people's names is to ask for a business card. Rather than saying, ‘what was your name again?' or ‘I'm sorry. Your name escapes me', avoid the awkwardness by asking for a business card. The name will be written on the card and you'll have it to keep with you. Store your business cards in a business card file (available at your local office store), and with the help of the business logo on the card to jog your memory, you will always have the name of any contact you need right at your fingertips. With a permanent file of names, you'll never have trouble remembering people's names again.