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How to remember someone's name when you meet them

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How do you remember someone’s name when you meet them?

Do you find that when you meet someone and they introduce themselves to you that their name goes in one ear rolls across your brain and then out of the other ear to be lost forever, leaving you embarrassed and wondering how to find out who they were again? It can add stress to a social or business occasion that you just don't want, as well as feeling embarrassing!

When you remember someone’s name it makes them feel great and of course it feels great for you too when someone you met remembers who you are.

Having worked for the BBC as a presenter for years and interviewed many famous people I know that they love using your name back to you, and you instantly feel connected to them and flattered that they remembered it. You feel great about yourself.


So what can you do to help yourself remember a name when someone tells you theirs?

Five steps to remember anyone's name...


Step One

When they tell you their name ask it them what it is again! 

“I’m sorry I didn’t catch that?” By asking them again you are already starting to learn their name through repetition. It’s how we learnt our times tables when we were at school and its how I learnt my lines when I was an actor. Just the action of repeating that name helps to lock it into your mind.


Step Two

 Add some visuals.

When they introduce themselves we can use the fact that we are much better at remembering pictures than names to help. Do they have a name that is the same as a famous person or a friend of yours? Imagine them looking a little like that person or even a caricatured version of that person. So if they are called Jerry and you have a friend called Jerry who wears glasses you could imagine them with giant glasses like your friend Jerry. Or maybe you could imagine them being chased round the kitchen by a cat called Tom...Tom and Jerry!  It’s getting stuck in your mind already isn’t it !


Step Three

Take some time out. You don’t want to have them thinking that you are looking at them for too long as you come up with a way to visualise the name, so if you ask them a question that doesn’t really matter, like, “how did you get here”, or “what about this weather !”,  then you can buy some time to fix that name in your mind.


Step Four

Repeat and repeat. If you can find a way to say their name back to them before the end of the conversation then it will really help to fix it in your memory. You may do this at the end of the conversation if you are not comfortable saying someone’s name lots of times. “It was lovely talking to you Rita, I’ll see you later”


Step Five

Review that name as you leave. When you leave the conversation you can remind yourself again of a few things that you remember about that person. Review the visual image and the name you called them and it will really help to fix it in your mind.

When you do this and you remember names it really helps people to feel great and if you know how well it can help you to feel great when someone remembers your name, it’s a skill that’s well worth thinking about.

Just imagine... all that practice can help you remember other things you need to do like, picking up the milk on the way home or sending a birthday card that you need to make sure gets put in the post. The possibilities are endless.



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