We’ve all been there. You are standing next to someone you’ve met a few times and draw a blank on his or her name. Awkwardly trying to get someone to say their name again so we can make a proper introduction, or using those nonspecific phrases like, “hey there!” to skirt around the issue. When you remember someone’s name, it sends the message that the interaction was important to you. People love hearing their names. In fact, studies show that when you hear your name it activates the brain.
Even though this is a common problem, forgetting someone’s name sends a message that they weren’t memorable or meeting them didn’t matter to you. Start showing off your listening skills, build rapport and trust the next time you meet someone or are next to a blast from your past.
Here are 4 tricks to remembering names that you’ll definitely want to remember.
1.Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
The minute that someone introduces themselves, we tend to focus on what will happen next in the conversation, instead of staying in that moment and really remembering their name. When they initially say, “Hi, my name is Tom,” Repeat their name back to them by saying, “It’s nice to meet you, Tom”. This way, since you’re saying it, it will be stored in your working memory. If holding a business card, instead of placing it in your pocket right away, take a good look at it and say the name aloud in your head Repetition will help your brain to form the connections needed to retain information.
2. Ask for a Business Card
This can help you out in many different ways. First, if you can’t remember their name after you have met someone, you can save yourself by asking for a business card. Second, you can keep this card, to remember for future use. Third, you can look at the card in that moment, and focus on how much you want to remember their name. Later, you might not even need the card to remember!
3. Ask How it is Spelled
This is a super polite and professional way to remember names. If you ask someone how it is spelled, it could change the way that you remember it. For example, if their name is Meghan, and your sister is names Megan, you’ll remember that the non-family member Meghan has an “h” in her name. Having something spelled out for you also gives you a visual of the word, storing it in your memory visually.
4. Associate With What You Know
Let’s say this person that you don’t know, but just yet, is named Ben. Think of anyone you might know named Ben, whether it’s a colleague, family member, or pet, and file this person in your mental folder of Bens. This way, when you think of what his name was later, your memory retention can focus on the fact that his name is in a folder with others that you know with the same name. If you don’t know anyone with that name, think of a celebrity or famous figure, with a similar name. Ben Affleck, anyone?
Now that you have these four tips, write them down, repeat them to yourself, and practice! Once you train your memory to retain these tips, you’ll be remembering names like never before.
Want more tips on your amazing memory? Check out these tips to improve your memory!