The scenario always goes as follows: Hi, my name is G. Five minutes later, I already forgot their name. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been bad at storing names on my server. Even when I was a dance teacher, names were not my thing. Recently, at a workshop, I was in awe, looking at this GR8 guy with a fantastic capacity to remember everyone’s name. By the end of the workshop, he remembered every participant’s name he spoke to, probably around 30.
Enchanted by his ability to remember people’s names, I decided to fine-tune my brain training exercises to accomplish the same. Here’s what I found was helpful.
1. Repeat Their Names
We retain 90% of what we see, hear, and do. So, the next time someone introduces themselves to you repeat their names. Not only in your mind but audibly. A first encounter should be something like this:
Person: Hi, my name is G.
You: Nice to meet you, G, my name is M.
Just repeating their names out loud will help you retain the information better. Some people say you should repeat their name three times in your head. I found it helpful to say it out loud at the beginning, throughout, and at the end of the conversation.
2. Focus on One Feature
While I wasn’t too good at retaining names, I was GR8 at remembering faces. When I found out about this feature’s brain training tip, it all made sense to me. Focus on a specific feature on the person’s face that will be easier to remember.
For example, they have a small nose, deep dimples, large ears, or thick eyebrows. Whatever it is, pick a feature that will be easy to recall later and link it to their names. So your name remembering strategy goes as follow:
Person: Hi, my name is G.
You: Nice to meet you, G, my name is M. –Internally: G has dark under-eye circles.
3. Link the Name to Something You Know
Connecting a name and a face to something you know is a fantastic strategy to remember someone’s name. This is a trick I used back when I worked in retail, and many waiters use it as well. For example, the name John might make you think of John Lennon, or your cousin John. Associate this person’s face and name with something that you already know to make sure you remember their name.
4. Stay Focused
None of these brain training tips will work if you don’t stay focused. When you meet someone, shut down all the small conversations happening in your head. Many people don’t even listen to the name of the person because they’re thinking, “What am I going to talk about?” Or “I must remember their names, what was their name again?”
Let go of your inner conversation and pay attention to the actual discussion. When someone introduces themselves, stay focused on every word they say and repeat steps one through three.
5. Do Your Homework
Once you go to bed, repeat the names of everyone you met. Do your best to write a mental list in your head of everyone you met throughout the day. Visualize their faces and their names and force your memory to stay active. This will help you store their names in your long-term memory.
Now, I have no doubt you’ll remember G’s name. Brain training can greatly improve your life, just making sure you remember your new boss’s name is helpful enough. Don’t forget to check back in for more brain training advice.