The key to remembering people and
their names (or anything else) is to pay
attention and process the information as deeply
and in as many different ways as possible. Iíve
listed a few steps below that you may find
Focus on the name you want to
remember. If you arenít sure you heard the
name correctly, confirm it by saying it back
aloud. Donít think about what you are going
to say. Too many times we donít pay enough
attention to names to even begin processing
Focus on the person you want
to remember. Try to answer some of these
What makes the person
How would you describe
the person to someone else? Consider
personality (warmth, intelligence,
confidence, likeability, etc.) and
general physical features (height,
weight, build, etc.). Donít worry about
specific details such as a person nose
or lips unless those details are
particularly striking. General judgments
about a personís dress and grooming
(neat, stylish, casual) may be helpful,
but these aspects of a personís
appearance my change, especially if you
meet them in a different situation.
Does the person remind
you of someone else, such as a friend or
Repeat the name.
Use the name immediately.
Repeat it silently to
Use it occasionally in the
Use it when leaving.
Write it down. This helps
in two ways.
Simply writing something
helps involves additional parts of the brain
in processing. In fact, just going through
the motion of writing a name without a pen
or pencil will help you remember it.
A written record makes it
easier to review the name later, which will
greatly help your memory. Adding some
descriptive information about the person and
where you met will further help in
processing and remembering the name.
Review. Keep a list of
people whose names you are trying to remember,
along with the descriptive information you wrote
down. Review the list occasionally, especially
before occasions when you might be seeing some
of your new acquaintances again.
Oops. Using these tips
will greatly improve your ability to recall
names, but nobody is perfect. Here are some
options if you canít recall a name:
You might be able to jog your
memory by running through the alphabet.
Introduce the person whose
name you donít recall to someone you know
and hope the person will volunteer their own
Look delighted to see the
person, extend a warm greeting, and find out
the name from a friend or list later.
Ask again: "I remember you
well, but your name has slipped my mind."