When you hear someone call your name, it’s like music to your ears. You respond to your name more than any other word. When you have the ability to remember people’s names, you can easily avoid getting yourself stuck in an awkward situation. Plus, remembering names is a very useful asset in business and social interactions. Save yourself the embarrassment, and follow these simple tricks to help you remember any name.
1. Give importance. Recognize the value of other person, not just yourself. During introductions, be interested in the other person as a human being, rather than focusing on how that person can help you. Give your undivided attention and be sincerely interested. Make sure you heard the other person’s name correctly. Clarify it if you’re not sure that you heard it right the first time. This only shows that you care and that the person is important to you.
2. Visualize it. Imagine writing people’s names on their forehead. This can be an effective technique, especially if you picture people’s names written in different colors. President Franklin Roosevelt used this trick to remember nearly everyone he met.
3. See Faces. Knowing two or more persons with the same names can be tricky. The key to remember who’s who is association. Relate the first person with a distinctive facial mark, the second person with a unique talent, and the third person with the place you first met them. Imagine their faces with what they are associated with.
4. Associate it. Connect a person’s name with a familiar image. If a person has a famous name, associate that person with that famous personality. Also, if a person has a unique facial feature, exaggerate that mark to make a vivid picture of the person’s face. Use the first feature that caught your attention like thick eyebrows, rosy cheeks, or wide forehead.
5. Repeat it. Use the person’s name frequently during your conversation. Repetition can help move information from your short-term memory to your long-term memory. Acknowledge the other person immediately, like “It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Smith.” Repeat his name when you ask a question or when you’re saying your goodbyes. For example, “What are your plans, Mr. Smith?” and “It was a pleasure doing business with you, Mr. Smith.” Try also to repeat it silently in your head, especially when you’re shaking hands or looking in his eyes.
6. Write it down. Jot down new names on a notebook when the other person is not looking. It would be helpful if you write a short description beside each name, including when and where you met. Go over your contact list now and then to refresh your memory, especially if you will be attending a conference or a meeting. You’ll never know when you might bump into an old acquaintance once again.