If you have trouble remembering names--or just meet many people during the course of your day and need to get better at it--don't worry. There are some tried-and-true tricks that can help.

  1. Give the name meaning. During learning, the brain will try to make associations between new information and old information. But this doesn't have to be a passive process--you can form associations actively. For example, you might meet someone named Diana and think of Lady Diana and the royals, or maybe Diana was your grandmother's name.
  2. Get silly. Remember, the brain adores novelty. So, as you try to make associations, it's good to be goofy. For example, picture Anna as a banana. And while rhymes work, you also can mix the name with something distinguishable you notice about the person. For instance, if Anna Goldstead has a cute nose, you can imagine bananas with golden noses growing in a flower bed.
  3. Push repeat. Repetition helps your brain lay down and thicken the neural pathways you need for recall. And researchers now know that repeating something aloud to remember it is most effective if you do the repeating in front of someone else. Say the name of the person you meet as soon as you can after you meet them, such as "It's nice to meet you, Eric." Then weave it into the conversation naturally, such as "Eric, I couldn't agree more" or "Eric, do you enjoy ... ?" Make sure you say it again as you leave, such as "I look forward to seeing you again, Eric." Then, at the end of the day, review, ideally by telling someone else about the interaction. For example, say, "Today, I met Eric Holt from Quanica Sales."
Published on: Jun 11, 2019