How To Remember Anyone’s Name

remember names

A persons name is the single sweetest sound they can hear, yet many people struggle to remember names. Have you ever been in the situation when you couldn’t recall someone’s name, even after you had met them a number of times? I bet it was embarrassing….

As a performer, remembering names can give a more polished edge to your performance, and if you are speaking with people after the show they will be impressed if you can recall their names :)

Below are some easy things you can do to remember names followed by a KILLER system. Use this system and remember everyone and anyone’s name.

Do You Do This?

There are some simple things you can do to boost your ability to remember names by 50% with little effort:

  • Take an interest in the persons name when you hear it.
  • If you have not heard the name or are not 100% sure what the name is ask the person to repeat it.
  • If you are not sure of the pronunciation ask the person to spell it or try to spell it out yourself. If you make a habit of spelling out people’s names when you meet them you will soon know the common spellings of many names. If its an unusual name or one you have not heard before don’t be afraid to say so.
  • Use the persons name when you are speaking with them. Don’t overdo it but where it feels natural say the persons name, for instance when saying goodbye.

The System (To Remember Names)

Use this system to remember everyones name in a room and remember that persons name the next time you see them. The system is based on creating an image for someones name in your mind then associating it with a facial feature.

Step 1: Create An Image

First we’ll look at surnames. Surnames can be separated into two categories, names with meaning, and names with no meaning.

  • Surnames with meaning: Cook, Carpenter, Fox, Baker, King, etc….
  • Surames with no meaning: Mooney, Littman, Carson, Linkfeld, etc….

Some surnames have no meaning but will suggest a picture in your mind. eg. Lincoln would suggest a picture
of Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Jordan might suggest a picture of the River Jordan.

This gives us a total of 3 categories: names that have a meaning, those that have no meaning but suggest something and names that have no meaning and do not suggest a picture.

For names with no meaning and which don’t suggest a picture you must make it mean something. eg  If
you meet a Mr. Freedman,  picture a man being fried. Fried man—Freedman. If the name were Freeman, You might want to picture a man escaping from prison, he’s a free man.

The key thing to remember when thinking up an image is to make it silly. The more ridiculous, the easier it is to associate the image with the face. Also, giving the image movement makes it easier to remember.

After meeting a lot of new people, and using the systems, you will find that you’ll have certain pictures or thoughts
for names that you come across very often. eg. for Cohen or Cohn you might picture an ice cream cone, for Smith you might see a blacksmith’s hammer.

Step 2: Associate the Image with a Facial Feature

Whenever you meet someone new, look at his face and try to find one outstanding feature. eg. small eyes, thick lips, high forehead, a long nose. To remember their name, associate the image you have for their name with the outstanding feature. So for example for a Mr Fox with a large forehead picture a fox running round his forehead :)

First Names

The system works the same for first names. Substitute words for first names are easy to find. For instance Harry could be hairy, Jenny could be a Spinning Jenny, Pete could be a peat turf. If you use the substitute word idea for remembering first names, after a while you will have one ready for everyone you meet.

Review Names

Each time you look at a person, their name should pop into your mind which helps strengthen the memory. If the name doesn’t come to mind, ask for the name again, or ask someone else to give it to you. Then strengthen your original association.

Writing names down and reviewing them can help you remember. Use the systems when you meet people people then at the end of the day, think of each new person you’ve met and as the name comes to mind note it down. The next day go over this list of names. As you look at each one, a picture of the person’s face will come to mind. Just picture the person for a moment, and see your original association of the name to face. Do the same thing a few days later, a week later, and so on until the faces and names are permanently memorised.

Alternative Method

An alternative method for remembering first names is to picture a person you already know with that name . If you meet a Mr. Jim Holden, you could use the substitute word holding to associate to an outstanding feature; then put your friend, Jim, into the picture (in a ridiculous way) and you’ll remember that Mr. Holden’s first name is Jim.

Now you have a system to remember anyones name. It may take a little effort at first but these methods alone can convince people you have a photographic memory, give it a try!

Credit: H. Lorayne. If you find these ideas interesting take a look at the ebooks available on this website for only $7.

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