One of the most useful skills that you can develop in life is the ability to remember the names of people that you meet. It is an age old truth that people love hearing the sound of their own name. If you think about it for a second you’ll realize that you already instinctively know this to be true. The most popular people at school, at sports and social clubs, and other organizations that you may be involved with, tend to know everyone’s name. Politicians understand this fact of life very well. When a politician attends a fundraiser, they want to be able to call everyone there by their name. They are clear about the power in this and how it can make them more likeable. There is no question that if you become great at remembering names and other things about people that you will quickly make many new friends in school and become more popular!
So, how can you develop this important ability? The key is focus. I realize it may seem obvious but a lot of times when someone is introducing themselves to us, our mind is on so many things other than the person’s name. There is no getting around the fact that in order to remember someone’s name, you must focus on it for at least one to two seconds. The following four simple steps will help to do this:
Immediately repeat the name and shake the person’s hand. If you are introduced to someone named John, you will say something to the effect of “Nice to meet you, John” or “Pleased to meet you, John” while shaking his hand. This forces you to focus and pay attention the name. That’s the only way that you would be able to repeat the person’s name back to them while shaking their hand.
Early on in your interaction with the person, use their name while asking them any simple question. “John, how do you know Chester?” or “John, what brings you to the meeting today?” are examples of doing this. I want to emphasize here that I am only recommending that you ask one simple question using the person’s name earlier on in your interaction. It is not necessary and I in fact do not recommend that you use the person’s name repeatedly during your conversation. One question using the name will suffice to help keep the name in your mind and prevent it from just going in one ear and out the other.
Think of a connection between the person’s name and anything at all that you already know. I really do mean anything. The name John might make you think of John Lennon, the Gospel of John in the Bible, John F. Kennedy, or it could even simply be that you have a friend or family member that is also named John. Thinking of a connection between the name and literally anything that you already know will really help the name to stick well in your mind.
Say goodbye to the person using their name. Before you leave the party, meeting, wedding, or whatever other type of function you may be at, make sure to say goodbye to the people that you’ve met using their names. A simple “Goodbye, John” or “Until next time, John” will go a long way toward cementing the name in your mind and give you a much better chance of remembering it the next time you see the person.
Ideally, you’ll want to combine the 4 steps above with a powerful visual that will connect the person’s name to some aspect of their appearance. If you meet someone named Jane that has very beautiful hair, you might imagine that her hair is made of chains that are clacking together loudly. This memorable visual is likely to stick well in your mind and the next time you see this person and once again notice her hair, the imagery will come back to you and chain will remind you of Jane.
These tips on names are just the beginning! In my new book, “Instant Memory Training for Success”, I provide many more visual based techniques for remembering names that are very powerful and effective. The book also teaches fun and effective techniques to cut study time dramatically while greatly improving recall!
Chester Santos – “The International Man of Memory” is an award-winning international speaker, U.S. Memory Champion, and author of “Instant Memory Training for Success” available from Amazon UK here:
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