It’s happened to the best of us: we recognize the face, but their name escapes us. They’re standing in front of you, talking excitedly and you’re still stuck on trying to figure out who they are. If you have trouble remembering people’s names, you’re not alone. But for anyone, it’s an important skill to have. When you learn how to remember people’s names, you not only show them that you were listening and have taken note of them, but that you’re also smart and capable of learning things! If you want to improve on your ability to remember people’s names, consider these simple suggestions.
Repeat their name. When you are first introduced to someone, make it a point of saying, "it's nice to meet you, _______". And as soon as you can in the conversation, make it a point of using their name again. "Honey, _______ and I went to the same high school, isn't that right _____?" The more you repeat the person's name, the better your chances are of remembering it.
Think of someone else with the same name. If you know someone else who has the same name as this new acquaintance, make note of that. Tell them, "Oh, I have a brother/sister/aunt/doctor named _______". They won't really care, but it will give you a chance to verbalize your relationship of their name with your own life. And again, saying their name out loud will reinforce their name in your long-term memory.
Think of something that reminds you of their name. If the name reminds you of something, picture this person holding that something. If the name reminds you of a place, picture that person at that place. For example, if her name is Tiffany, picture her holding a Tiffany lamp. Or place Mike on stage with a microphone in your mind. It may give you a little grin, but you'll likely not lose that mental picture.
Practice names silently. If you're in a large group of people, you're likely not going to be talking all of the time. When you've got a break from the conversation, take time to go over new names in your mind. Focus on the person (inconspicuously) and say their name to yourself. If you've forgotten their name, follow the conversation to listen if anyone else uses the name, and then repeat that name inside your head until you can pass through the whole group of names without making a mistake.
Take notes. Once you are away from a situation where you have learned new names and faces that you need to remember, take a few notes. Write down the person's name, who they work for, why and where you met them, and any unique features or quirks that will help you to remember their name and face. For example, "Dave, the pocket protector guy, introduced himself to me at the comic book convention and I'll see him at the next one in June". If you prepare yourself for future meetings by jotting down important names, you're less likely to forget a name.
Although the excitement of meeting new people usually clouds your learning ability, it’s important to focus on how to remember people’s names as soon as you hear them. Take quick note of their face and anything that will help you remember their name. And practice and repeat the name out loud and to yourself until you’re sure you won’t forget.