Social Intel: Remembering Names

5 Tips For Remembering A Name


1. Repeat the name twice upon first meeting the person. This is a classic tip; the idea is that when you’re in that fresh first zone of memorization, repeating the person’s name gives your memory a bit of a kick start to move the name from the short term to the long term memory.

2. Use the name as much as possible initially. On the same point as the last tip, repetition is key. Try to call the person by their name as much as possible and refer to them by name, within reason, of course. This will help you associate the name with the person.

3. Think of something unique and weird. The best way to memorize something is to think of the unique. Form a mental image of the person’s name, and use weird, memorable stuff–for instance, if the person’s name is John and their voice is deep, picture a talking toilet with a funny deep voice. If the person’s name is Ben and they’re into dancing, picture Ben Franklin busting a move at a gay bar. Hey, whatever helps the memorization can’t be wrong, right?

On a side note, you can also use the “weird stuff” memorization technique for just about anything. My grocery lists are always memorized, and the items on it some of the weirdest mental images you could imagine!

4. If you forget someone’s name, ask a friend to introduce himself. When your friend says his name, they’ll feel pressured to do the same, and you can have a second chance at remembering, you forgetful Francis, you. Make sure your friend knows to ask for the person’s name if they don’t offer it–some people are strange that way.

5. If you can, write down the name a few times. The act of writing something down helps people remember things; different parts of our brains control speech and writing, so memorization is easier when both are involved. Don’t let them see the paper where you’d written their names down a bunch of times, though, as it’s likely to creep them out to an incredible degree.

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