There are a chosen few with a freak ability to remember names with no effort. For the rest of us it is a struggle. Here’s some quick tips on how to remember names easier.
1. Actually Get The Name
One of the main reasons we don’t remember someone’s name is we never heard it in the first place.
There is noise or you got distracted. Someone says “I’m blah blah” as they walk up to you when you were in deep thought. Their name never registered but you don’t want to seem like you weren’t paying attention so you smile, nod, and act like you got it.
Don’t do that.
If you didn’t hear them, just say, “Sorry I didn’t catch that. What’s your name again?”
2. Repeat The Name Back To Them
“Amir, it’s nice to meet you.” Just doing that may insure you got the name.
If you are unsure, a questioning “Was that Amir?” is fine.
If someone has a name you have trouble with, they probably know it. It is a sign of caring that you take the time to get it right. They also might not want to correct you if you get it wrong, because everyone does and they don’t want to see like a jerk about. It is up to you to make sure you got it right.
3. Write It Down
Now we are getting into some next level shit here. Not that this takes a lot of extra effort, but it is not what most people do.
I find the act of writing, or typing into my phone, something makes it easier to remember. Doing this also shows the person they were someone important enough to you that you recorded it permanently.
4. Visualize The Name
An old method is to imagine their name written on their forehead. This does two things, it associates their name with their face. It also engages the visual parts of the brain to remember.
A Bonus Tip
This also brings up a bonus distinction about remember names – or anything – the more attention and time you give it the easier it is to remember the name.
All of these techniques require you to hold on to that name and not let it “go in one ear and out the other.”
Why are we so worried someone will be offended if it takes us an extra bit of effort to get their name right? It actually shows right off we care.
This belief is probably based more on our feelings of inadequacy – that we don’t want to be seen as not having a perfect memory – than an actual fear someone will be offended or mad.