Can’t remember names? Try this


When you remember someone's name, that person almost always thinks better of you.


Dale Carnegie said that a person’s name is his or her favorite word in the world.


There are many advantages to remembering someone’s favorite word. Recalling and using someone’s name:

  • Shows that you’re listening

  • Demonstrates that you care, which is even better than saying that you care

  • Makes you more persuasive

  • Makes conversation more challenging and fun

It’s not hard to remember names when you use a special technique that I developed a while back.


5 cool ideas for remembering names


I once earned a speaking engagement by impressing Roxanne Gibbs, editor of Nation News, a prominent Barbados newspaper.


I first met Roxanne and five of her friends in a banquet buffet line. Later, she recounted that I remembered all of their names after the meal.


1. Use a system you can rely on.

People who use a memory device called mnemonics remember Pat’s name because she is wearing purple, but may struggle to recall Pat’s name when she wears brown.


Try to remember a person for who they are, rather than what they wear.


2. Use “cluster imprinting” to learn names.

The goal of cluster imprinting is to imprint your brain with the person’s name eight to ten times within three minutes of meeting them. Listen to the person say their name. Then say “Catherine, it’s nice to meet you.” You’ve now heard her name twice.


Practice makes more perfect


3. Repetition is a form of practice.

After being introduced, you might say “Catherine, is that Catherine with a ‘C’ or Katherine with a ‘K’?” The person could answer “‘Catherine’ with a ‘C’.” Now you’ve heard the name five times and visualized it at least once.


If someone approaches you and Catherine, offer to introduce the new person. “Catherine, do you know David? David, this is Catherine.” At this point, you’ve been imprinted with Catherine’s name seven times.


4. Practice remembering the name right up until you say “goodbye.”

When it’s time to excuse yourself, you might say “It’s been nice meeting you, Catherine,” which makes the eighth time your brain has been imprinted with her name.


You are not likely to forget “Catherine.”


5. Use interval training to help achieve total recall.

Try to recall the name at several intervals during the next 24 hours, stretching the time span for each attempt.


Another form of interval training is to review rosters and registration lists before and after the meeting.


You can do this, right?


Cluster imprinting is really easy, once you have the hang of it.


Have you ever met someone who was really good at remembering names? What was your impression of him or her?


Here’s another article on how to be smoother when working with others.


Some names are a perfect fit!


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