From a very early age in life, people meet large numbers of new people. It starts as early as pre-school where small children get enrolled and suddenly have to remember names, including all their new-found friends or enemies’ names…
As the years tick over, it’s primary school, high school, university and eventually the work place. The reality is that many people arrive to start their working career and still do not have a process to remember the names of people they meet.
Have you ever wondered why you can remember the names of your friends from primary school, but you cannot remember the name of the person you got introduced to 5 minutes ago? The reason for this is that your brain is a large network of connections, the more times you repeat a certain name or play with a certain friend, the better and longer you will remember that name.
During your personal and professional life, it’s very important to remember that a person’s name is extremely important to them. Even though it’s only another name to you, the person that you are meeting for the first time is very connected to their name. By showing them that you remember their name and take it seriously, you can change that person’s whole perception of you or even close an important deal in business.
Seeing that we have now established the importance of remembering a person’s name, this article will strive to give you some basic techniques that can be followed to remember the names of people you meet.
When you meet a person for the first time and they tell you their name or get introduced by somebody who pronounces the name of the person you are meeting, ensure you firstly focus on the name itself. Look the person directly in the eyes and clear your mind of anything other than the person you are meeting and their name.
Once you hear their name and see them in front of you, the easiest way to remember their name, is to connect it to another person with the same name that you have known for years. For example, if the name of the new person you meet is John and you have known a John for years, connect that person to John. If you can find any resemblance to John even if it’s only the colour of their hair, try to focus on that and make the connection. After you have made the connection, try to repeat the connection in your head a few times and focus on the resemblance that makes you think about the other John you have known for a long time.
It could however happen that you are in a situation where you meet a person and you do not know anybody that has the same name. This often happens when you are in a new country where the common names you are used to are not used regularly. You would thus have to find a new way of remembering the name of the person you have just met. A good technique to use during these encounters would be to connect the name of the person you have just met, to something that makes you think of the name. For instance, if you meet a person named Donald, you would perhaps think about Donald Duck. Pictures and photos are a lot easier to remember than words or names. Every time you see this person, think about the picture of Donald Duck and find a resemblance to Donald Duck somewhere on that person. Perhaps you imagine Donald Duck sitting on his head, or when you look at his face, you see something similar to Donald Duck. When choosing something to connect this person to what reminds you of them, it could be anything. The more colorful and weird, the better chances you have of remembering it. Another thing to remember is that this technique is for helping YOU to remember – please don’t go and tell Donald that you are imagining Donald Duck on his head every time you see him! Somehow this might not end well for you even though you remember his name…
Now that you have a technique to remember the name of the person you have just met, it’s important to strengthen the connection. If you only do the exercise once, the chances of remembering the person’s name for a long time would be small. You thus need to use repetition to strengthen the connection in your brain. The best way to do this is to use the name, every time you see the person, greet him or her using their name. Remember your personal connections to the person in your mind and repeat it every time you see the person. Even if you have just met the person, try to repeat his name a few times during the first encounter. This will strengthen the connection and help you to remember his or her name for years to come.
It might also happen that you are in a meeting or lecture where you have many names to remember and you cannot make your connections quickly enough. In this particular case, a good way to do it is to write down the names of all the people you meet in the order that they are introduced to you. If they give you their business cards, you can also arrange them on the table in the order you meet them. Once you have gathered and recorded all the names, you can then take your time to follow the same process discussed above to form your connections.
Like everything in life, you might not perfect the techniques the first time, but after a few attempts you should get the hang of it. The best way to improve yourself in remembering names is to practice the techniques until you have a winning formula that works for you.
Now that you have a few tools to remember names, you can comfortably go into the industry and meet new people. You will also start to see the impact your new-found skill will have in securing and building long-term relationships.