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Simple Tricks to Remembering Names April 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — ktetaichinh @ 2:50 pm
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Benjamin Levy, author of Remember Every Name Every Time, advocates the FACE method: “focus, ask, comment and employ.” Focus: Lock in on the person’s face. Ask: Inquire which version he prefers (“Is it Ted or Theodore?”). Comment: Say something about the name and cross-reference it in your head (“My college roommate’s name was Ted.”) Employ: Put the name to use–“Nice seeing you, Ted”–to drive it home.

1. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

Dane Wirtzfeld/iStockphoto

The most surefire strategy is to repeat the person’s name–both in your head, and out loud–as soon as possible after you’ve been introduced. Occasionally use the person’s name in conversation. “Pleasure to meet you, Bob,” or “Bob, so good to see you.” Don’t overdo it, of course, but don’t worry that Bob will recoil, either. He’d rather you remember his name than not.

2. Find the Trigger

Tom Berens

Try to associate names with things people tell you about themselves (careers, hobbies) that will trigger the sound or association of the name in your mind. Fred likes to fish, Margarita runs a bar–you get the idea. “You have to search in the moment for something familiar,” says Spiegel. “It’s a simple trick, but it just sticks.”

3. Word Play

Dianne Allen/iStockphoto

Let the words do the work for you. Mnemonic devices (Dale works in sales) work nicely, as does alliteration (Joann from Jersey).

4. Speak Up


Embarrassing as it seems, don’t be afraid to ask someone to repeat his or her name. Start out with a compliment, such as “I’ve had so much fun talking with you, and I’ve completely forgotten your name.” If you realize you’ve blanked on a name a few seconds after introduction, just say: “I’m sorry, I missed your name.”

5. Lead the Way

Dmitriy Shironosov/iStockphoto

If you know that your name will be hard to remember or pronounce, do other people a favor and help them out. They’ll return the favor–or, if you’re chatting with a Mike or a Bob, maybe they’ll make some big production out of their own common name, making it stick in your mind.

Once you’ve gotten over the hurdle of remembering someone’s name, you might face the added dilemma of not knowing whether to address the person by a first or last name. Spiegel recommends starting with the person’s last name followed by a flattering comment and a casual introduction, such as “Mrs. Smith, I’m such an admirer of yours. My name is Susan.” The person just might respond, “Nice to meet you. I’m Mary.”


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