tips to remember names

Wouldn’t it be great if all shirts came with built-in name tags? / Image: Amanda via Flickr CC.

We’ve all been in this situation: you’re at a party, or a networking event, and you find yourself being introduced to a new acquaintance. You exchange names, you say hello, perhaps you make a little small talk – and then suddenly you realize that you have no recollection of their name. Melissa? Megan? Or was it Michelle? The panic sets in as you rack your brain for their name, or try to find ways of retrieving it without admitting that it went in one ear and out the other in the first place.

I think it’s pretty safe to say that most of us have experienced this before. And, if you’re anything like me, you likely experience it all the time. Names are difficult to remember for many people, but luckily, there are some tips that help make remembering them much easier. This article from Refinery29 is incredibly helpful and interesting; here are some of the most valuable takeaways:

helpful tips to remember names

“Can he tell that I’m only half-listening as I desperately try to remember his name?” / Image: Christophe Sion via Flickr CC.

Really, really listen. As Refinery29’s Paige Brettingen notes, it’s worth asking yourself if you’re simply not listening carefully when you’re being introduced to someone. Memory-enhancement expert Brad Zupp agrees. “A lot of times, people think they don’t remember names well, but that’s not true,” he says. “We’re not focused, we don’t hear well, or we’re worried we have spinach in our teeth.” The next time you’re introduced to someone, really focus on their name, and if you don’t hear it fully, don’t be afraid to ask. A simple, “I’m sorry, I missed your name,” will suffice.

“Color Code It.” This is a really quirky visual tip, but one that can really come in handy when trying to remember a person’s name. “Gina with the large gold necklace becomes Gold Gina. Diane with the red dress becomes Red Diane,” suggests Brettingen. Using this tip is a way of utilizing your visual memory, rather than just relying on your verbal memory. Creating visual references to remember names is a tip that really works!

Repeat early and often. Brent Sverdloff, author of “How Could I Forget You! A Creative Way to Remember Names and Faces,” wants you to make “Meet, Greet, Repeat” your official mantra for networking events. He claims that repeating the name of someone you just met right away will help you memorize it easier. Because repetition builds familiarity, say the name out loud by injecting it into a conversation when appropriate. “Try to weave names into the conversation as best as you can,” suggests Sverdloff, “but, don’t force it.”

What other tips do you have to remember names?

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Sarah is a freelance writer with a wide variety of interests, including international relations, politics, education, humanitarianism, women's rights, yoga, mental and physical health, and natural remedies.