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How to Remember Names (even if you think you’re bad at it)

An easy way to make a strong impression is to remember someone’s name. If you can remember a room full of names, you shift from leaving an impression to being impressive.

So, how do you remember names even if you have a poor memory?

You make the effort.

Remember names is not a God-given ability. People who don’t remember names usually don’t bother to do so. It’s much easier to excuse yourself from remember names by blaming a “weak” memory than it is to be held accountable to remember someone’s name.

For those of you looking for practical ways to remember names, here is the process that I follow:

1. Pay full attention when the name is introduce.  Maybe it’s when you greet the person or perhaps when the individual introduces themselves to the group. Resist the urge to go into automatic pilot and consciously focus on the name you just heard and person associated with it.

2. Repeat their name immediately after they introduce themselves and use it as often as possible. “Hi, my name is Robert. Nice to meet you. Hi Robert, my name is Amy. Nice to meet you.”  Be careful not to overdo this as it can become annoying. If you’re in a meeting or a larger group setting, write their name down on your notepad.

3. Ask them to repeat the name if you didn’t hear it clearly the first time or if it is an unusual name. Also ask for the spelling if the name is unusual to you. Write it down or picture it in your head.

4. Find ways to connect with the name. Perhaps this individual has similar features to someone you already know with the same name or you can picture them with objects. Whenever possible, form anchors to other pieces of information already embedded in your memory. The more connections you have, the easier it becomes for you to recall their name.

5. If you do forget the person’s name, politely ask them for their name again and use the tips above. Practice makes perfect. The great news about this skill is you can practice all the time with every new person that you meet. If you do this right, you can avoid the awkward and apparent, “Hey….man, it was nice meeting you.

Use these simple and effective tips today – remember the key is focusing your attention and repeating the name as often as possible. If you get this right especially in large groups, you’ll pleasantly surprise a good number of people.


Photo by Sam

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  1. […] criticize, condemn or complain. Smile, be sincere and genuinely take an interest in other people. Remember names and make the other person feel important. These practical tips along with many others are worth […]

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