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Tricks & Tips for Remembering People’s Names

Aug 17, 2020
(updated: Dec 5, 2022)
Max 5 min read

It can be challenging to remember people’s names. Whether this is at a networking event, meeting new clients or colleagues, or seeing someone you’ve previously met and trying to recall their name. 

If you’re telling yourself, ‘I can’t remember names!’ we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll share how to remember names better from different tricks and tips, and games that will help you recall names. 

Set an Intention

Sometimes the best technique for remembering people’s names is to set an intention. It’s common to not be fully present when meeting someone new and find the introduction to be more of a formality to get us to the next part of the conversation.

When meeting someone, start by setting an intention to be fully present when introducing yourself and hearing the other person’s name. 

Techniques for remembering people’s names

Repeat the Name Multiple Times

When meeting someone new, when they introduce themselves, begin by repeating their names several times. It’s more helpful when you can do this within the conversation. After they introduce themselves repeat back to them, “Nice to meet you, X.”

At the end of the conversation, there’s an opportunity to use their name. Use a phrase similar to “Thank you for taking the time to chat with me. I really enjoyed talking with you, X”. If you don’t recall their name by this point, it’s okay to ask them to repeat their name again. 

Create Visualizations and Associations with Their Names

Another trick for remembering people’s names is to create visualizations that adds imagery related to their face and name. This technique of creating silly images to remember something is common for professional memorizers who employ the ‘memory castle’ technique. If you’ve met three people at a networking event: Tony, Lucas, and Anna, try creating visuals like the example below. 

Imagine Tony the Tiger drawing in an art studio while eating boxes of Frosted Flakes. This is a visualization to help you remember Tony and that he is a graphic designer. It’s memorable. 

For Lucas, picture him as Luke from Star Wars in the Falcon Spaceship. He’s flying the ship and delegating to Chewy & Leia. This will help you remember Lucas and that he’s a manager.

You get the idea. The crazier the visualization the easier it is for our brains to remember. Using memorable characteristics they have in their faces can help cement the learnings in even deeper. 

Ask ‘How Do You Spell That?’

This is harder to pull off with simple names like Emily or Tom, but it can be a great technique for names that you might not know how to spell or have different ways of spelling them. For example, with names like Karisa or Erika, there are multiple different ways of spelling them. From Carisa, Karissa, or Erica, that are many different modalities. 

Having your brain learn how to spell their name is another way to help embed the learning deeper and allow yourself another data point to remember the name easier

Kindly Ask for them to Repeat their Name

It can take a lot of time and practice to incorporate some of the tricks above into practice that works. Some strategies might work great, while others you’ll have to let go of. 

Remember, it’s okay to ask someone to repeat their name. Many people have this struggle and you’re not alone in trying to get better at this.

We wish everyone had an Indy Profile complete with a photo and a bio so it would be a snap to remember names, but until then you can use these techniques to help you. It’s a great skill to practice and can make a big impact on the relationships you're building. 

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