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How To Make Sure You Never Forget A Name Again

Aug 17, 2007
Do you have problems remembering names or are you really lucky and never forget a face ... or a name? If like many of us you go to network meetings or social events where you will be meeting a large number of people, how do you remember all those names?

Get Ready

The first step is to prepare yourself mentally. Make a conscious decision to remember all the names of the people you are about to meet.


When you're about to be introduced to someone, listen carefully and CONCENTRATE! How often does it go in one ear and out the other because we're not really listening or our thoughts are elsewhere?


If you miss it, ask them to repeat it. When you first hear someone's name, repeat it straight away, "Good to meet you John" and try to use it three times during your conversation, "So, tell me John ..." and when you leave, "Thank-you, John, it was good to meet you ... If you realise you've forgotten their name by the time you come to end the conversation - politely ask them again? This will help reinforce their name in your mind. If it's an unusual name ask how it's spelled.


The easiest way to remember someone's name is by association.

* Do they remind you of anyone? A friend, relative, work colleague, actor or well-known person, living or dead?

* Do they have the same first name as someone you know? Does their first name or surname create an image in your mind?

* What type of person do they look like - a lawyer, an accountant, a typical ...salesman, teacher ... (what's typical to you will be different from someone else, use your association)?

* Does their name link directly to an occupation in which case the image is easier to form - Baker, Gardner, Porter etc.

Create a picture

Now create an image with as many of the elements as possible - the person who they remind you of, a location, the image of their surname and the person you know with the same first name. Make it as visual, colourful, bizarre and as detailed as possible.

For example Michael White - reminds you of an accountant, visualise him with a massive 'white' calculator, pouring over a pile of papers and account books, surrounded by large, colourful numbers.

David Brooks reminds you of Woody Allen and has the same name as your Uncle David - visualise your Uncle David in 'Manhattan' dancing around in a 'brook' that meanders between the buildings.

Another obvious association is between someone's name and a physical feature or trait. The shape of their face, a distinguishing part such as eyes, ears, chin, nose, hair colour etc. Alan Blackburn has big black sideburns (does that translate?). So emphasis the image - see your friend Alan (also called Alan) with big black sideburns or a large 'allen' key with great big Black sideburns.

The first thing you think of is the strongest association - use this, it will make it easier to recall later.


This might sound like a very long-winded and lengthy approach but the brain is amazingly fast, efficient and brilliant at recognising images. The more you practice, the faster you will get at making associations and the easier it will become. The brain works more effectively with images and the more bizarre they are the more likely you are to recall the information.

Try not to link the image to their clothing or something they are wearing such as jewellery, especially if you are likely to meet them again. They are highly unlikely to be wearing the same thing when/if you next meet them.

If you're with a group of people for a whole day, linking to clothing can work while you get to know them better. It helps to keep recalling their names throughout the day and using their name when in conversation with them.

OK, my examples may not do it for you but hopefully you get the idea.

If you get introduced to more than one person at a time, for instance in a group, take your time, scan each face and find the association. The more you do it the faster you'll become and the easier the associations will be to find.


Another important key to remembering names and faces is to review them regularly. When you're at a meeting or social event, you can briefly scan the faces in the room and recall the names. The more often you do this, the more likely you are to remember them. When you get home, recall their face. If you have their business card, recall their face linked to their card and if possible do the same the following day and a week later to get it into longer-term memory.

The more often you associate the face with the name, the more likely you are to remember them the next time you meet them. You know how good it feels when someone actually remembers your name and people are always flattered when you do.

Use these ideas and with a little practice you need never forget a name again.

Copyright 2006: Clare Evans
About the Author
Clare Evans works with busy, stressed individuals and small business owners to help them plan and organise their time more effectively. Contact her today for more details and a free consultation. http://www.clareevans.co.uk
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