Ugh, this is the hardest thing to do. Names are meaningless letters combined that your parents chose before you were even born. Some people made fun of you for yours, others looked up what it meant, but honestly it is just something to quickly identify you without making you a number. It is a little bit more meaningful than a number, and it sure is a lot easier to identify people by letters rather than numbers.
The one thing is that people LOVE when you remember their name. Why? I guess it shows that you respect them enough to remember something that identifies them, but doesn’t define their personality. I could care less if people remember my name, well at least for the first few times I meet them. After a couple of times hanging out, I would expect them to remember my name. It becomes awkward after a little while if you cannot remember their name, how do you identify them? Do you poke them? Say “hey you!” That’s rude. Names are easy to get attention of people because that is how we are programmed, so when you know their name it gets their attention and makes talking to them directly easier.
If you’re anything like me, I meet a person by name, shake their hand, and get into a conversation. By the end of the conversation I have already completely forgotten their name. What now? The logical thing to do would be to ask them their name again and then to remember it. Now how will you remember it?
Associate Their Name with Something about Them
During or after a conversation you can choose something that really sticks out about the person and associate their name directly to that one thing. For example, if they did something you have always wanted to do, such as bungee jumping, then associate their name with bungee jumping. Make sure that you choose something unique to associate with them, because if it is something standard you won’t remember their name the next time someone says they’ve done the same thing.
You can choose to associate a couple of things with this person for added retention. I like to associate things such as: where they work, where they’re from, their habits, color of hair and eyes, what they’re wearing, etc. This is usually the starter of what I choose since those are common initial conversation starters and looks.
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
If you just started the conversation, be sure to reference their name throughout the conversation. If you’re in a group of people, offer to introduce them to other people or reference something they have done that someone else in the group could relate to. By repeating their name, it will begin to stick.
If you have a break in the conversation where they are either talking to someone else or have left for a brief moment, repeat their name in your head.
Play on Words
Play on words are a lot of fun if you like rhyming, and it makes it a lot easier to remember names. By using this association it will just ring off your tongue each time you say their name. An example would be Cathy from California.
Spell it out
Physically spell their name out loud or inside your head, by doing this you will commit their name to memory much quicker since you actually know how it is composed. Some people ask me how my name is spelled, and when I say that it is with a “K,” we jump into a conversation why it is spelled like that and they even sometimes say “E-R-I-K.” By that point, it is definitely committed to memory.
If you genuinely care to learn this person’s name or meet them, you will instantly remember their name. By going in knowing you have to remember this person’s name, your brain will make it a priority and create space specifically for their name. By reading this article, it already shows that you care to learn people’s names, which will just make it that much easier for you.
Pet names are usually reserved for people that are close to you, but if you are an extroverted person, the new person you are meeting will remind you of something that will assign them a pet name. By assigning a pet name, you will be connecting that person with their actual name as well.
Write Their Name Down
If you are in a conference or a meeting in a corporate setting, consider yourself extremely lucky! You can write their name down on your paper and commit it to memory even easier. Better yet, you can look them up on LinkedIn later and associate their accomplishments and picture with their name.
It is called Facebook for a reason, right? You have access to their name and their pictures so you can quickly connect the dots. You even get their full name!
Why is that their name?
Sometimes I ask how people actually got their name, there is usually a story behind the name if it really stands out. If there isn’t, you just asked about their name, and by this time you should have “accidentally” committed their name to your memory.
These are some extremely quick name-remembering tips that you can use in almost every setting when meeting new people. I wrote quick text snippets so you can merge these own tips in your life. Tell me how it works out!