How to Remember Names
90% of the attendees in my conversation workshops - roughly 10,000 persons -- indicate they have difficulty remembering names of people they meet. In fact, most of those have created a firm belief from their experience, saying "I'm not good at remembering names" as if it's a character trait.
Not being able to remember (and to use) the names of people you have met can create all type of awkwardnesses and difficulties, especially in business and professional life, but also in the personal domain. Not remembering the name of a person you've had an hour-long luncheon meeting with last week - and then having to introduce that person to a colleague - can be embarrassing. In fact, IS embarrassing.
If you are in the majority of those with difficulty remembering names, I have some cheery news for you: With a few small changes of habit, deleting some old, ineffective ones and installing some new, effective habits in their place, you can greatly increase your name-recall ability.
Here's what you can do:
Option #1: Take a 2-day, $595 memory seminar when it comes to your town.
Option #2: Put to use at least a few of the habits in the list below:
1. Intend to remember. Want to remember. Focus on remembering. (This change of attitude and intention will, by itself, greatly increase your awareness and thus your ability.)
2. Slow down. Take time with each person and look them in the eyes. Notice something distinctive about the person, especially their face.
3. Introduce yourself first , saying your name clearly. Others will often follow your behavior and speak their own names more clearly. (A major reason people can't remember a name is that they never heard it clearly in the first place and are too polite to ask the person to repeat.)
4. After you hear their name, say it aloud . Use the first name occasionally during your conversation with the person.
5. Ask about the name, its origin, if time and circumstances allow. (My surname, Ekroth, is unusual, and I know that many have difficulty remembering it. When I explain that it means "oak root" in Swedish, others remember it more easily.
6. SEE the name. If you're at a meeting, look at their name tag. Or get their business card. If neither is available, WRITE their name -- or have them write if for you - in a small notebook. Because 65% of us are primarily visual learners, when we can SEE the name, we remember it more easily.
7. Delete "I can never remember names" from your thought system. If we insist on this limiting belief, it will fulfill itself. Instead, install a new belief, "I'm getting better at remembering names." (That is true, now that you have some specific skills you can put to use.)
There you have it, a list of simple, do-able skills. They work, if you work with them!
Because many situations in which we encounter new people are often rushed, our mental work of remembering is made more difficult. For example, a hostess greets us, walks us over to a group of guests, and quickly (and inaudibly) speaks their names as they nod. Small wonder we cannot remember! If you've been hard on yourself in the past because you've forgotten names, you can now forgive yourself, then put to use the simple remembering techniques you've just learned..
(P.S. Consider forwarding this article to a good friend who has trouble with names. You might be doing a big favor!)