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10 Tips to Help You How to Remember Names

Updated on March 10, 2015
Name Tag
Name Tag

In a lifetime, you’ll meet thousands upon thousands of strangers, all whose names uniquely identified for them. A common problem that most individuals have, is remembering the thousands of names from the people that they’ve met. There are ways that you can help yourself remember these names.

A while back, I attended a conference and I could not be more impressed by the speaker. As I entered the location where the conference was being held, the speaker was standing at the front doors, greeting himself and asking the name of the person to whom he was speaking with. There were about 200 people that attended this conference and he had similar conversations with each person there as they entered. About mid-way through the conference, the speaker began discussing the importance of remembering names and the effect that it had on overall business methods. He proved his point by literally repeating back every single person’s name that he had met, all 200 people. I was completely astonished by what he had done, and will never forget the experience that I had.

Don’t be discouraged because anyone can do what he did and learn how to remember names, the above example should inspire you. The following tips will help you remember names, and not just temporarily, but on a permanent basis. Also, keep in mind that the following tips will vary based on the individual, so understanding what type of learner you are and adapting these methods towards that will impact your results much more significantly.

1) Care:

You typically tend to remember the things and moments you care about, so the beginning step to learning how to remember names, is to first genuinely care. Care about learning both, learning the persons’ name, and perhaps learning a little bit more about who they are as a person. It doesn’t have to be their entire life story, but even the tiniest factoid. You never know what may come of it.


2) Focus:

Don’t let the environment that you’re in distract you, no matter what is happening around you. Focus on the person to whom you’re speaking with and what they are saying. It will help you gather information about the person from the things that they say and by the observations you make about them. Plus, it will show them that you care about who they are and what they are saying.

3) Ask:

There is nothing wrong with asking questions. If mid-way conversation you happen to forget their name, apologize and kindly ask for them to repeat it. It’s better to ask sooner rather than later, if you forgot their name, don’t let it get past the point of no return, because then it’s just plain insulting. If you hear of a name you’ve never encountered before, you can also ask them for the meaning or the origin of the name. Of course, this will help you remember their name in the future, but you may also learn something new.

4) Spell:

Learn how the other persons’ name is spelled, especially if their name is uncommon or it’s a name that is new to you. If you have heard their name before, still ask them how they spell it, maybe they spell their name differently than how it sounds or perhaps it’s a different spelling from how the general population spells it. Either way, this will contribute greatly to you remembering their name. It will uniquely identify them further and make them and their name stand out more in your memory.

5) Write It:

Once you know the name and how it’s spelt out, write it down. If you can write it down on paper, that’s even better, because then you have something you can reference back to, but even if you can’t, visually seeing the name written out in your mind can help just as well, more particularly if you’re naturally a visual learner.

How to Remember Names
How to Remember Names

6) Associate:

Making a connection between the persons’ name and how they look like, to something that reminds you or resembles something else, will definitely help in remembering that persons’ name. That way when you encounter this person again, whatever association you’ve made with that person, it will present itself to you and you’ll make the connection between that association and what their name is.

7) Mnemonics:

Creating a mnemonic to remember a name, or anything else really, is a time old classic, and it’s like that for a reason, it’s because it works! A mnemonic is a method used to help remember something. Create a link between each letter in the name to something that resembles the person. Ensure each letter in the name is the beginning letter of the word that you’re connecting the name with. It’s also advisable to create words that, when read together, form a sentence.

Watching the following video will help put things into perspective. It’s a clip from one of my favorite shows, Modern Family. It’s from season 2, episode 1, when Phil is trying to remember the name of someone that he’s selling their family car to, and is using a mnemonic method that he has developed to help him remember names. Not only is this clip funny, just like how much of the show is, It’s also a great example of how applying associations from things that stand out to you about the person can really jog your memory into remembering something else.

8) Repeat…Repeat…Repeat:

Consistently repeat the persons’ name during the interaction, both aloud casually in the conversation and silently in your head. Repetition is the key to remembering a name and practically anything else. Repeating something on a conscience level at the moment, will help recollect the same information on an unconscious level in the future.

9) End with The Name:

Once the conversation has reached its natural ending point, repeating the persons’ name again will not only reemphasize their name in your memory, but it will also leave a good impression on the other party. So you can end the conversation with something similar to, “It was nice meeting you (name of person)”.

10) End of Day Recall:

This may not be feasible for everyone, because some people just an enormous amount of people during the day, but right before you go to sleep, or when you have a moment to yourself after a long day, reminisce about all the people you’ve met that day and their names. If you’re able to recall their name again at the end of the day, there’s a high chance that you’ll remember their name in the future. Especially doing this on a weekly basis, instead recalling the people you’ve met during the week.

Remembering Names
Remembering Names

Besides the 10 tips above, there are other things you can do that will improve your memory and overall brain power, which will eventually result in you remembering names more proficiently. There are certain foods, such as almonds and fish, more specifically salmon and tuna, which improve brain functionality and memory. You can also train your mind by playing games specifically designed to improve your memory. You can play ‘matching cards’, or one of the many phone game applications that are out there. The best way to get better at something is to practice it, and the more you let your brain practice, the better your memory will become.

Can you remember names easily?

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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Anytime Jenna.

    • writerjrose profile imageAUTHOR

      SJ Rose 

      3 years ago

      Thank you @kristenhowe I'm glad you found this useful :)

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great tips, Jenna, on how to remember names. Voted up for useful!

    • writerjrose profile imageAUTHOR

      SJ Rose 

      3 years ago

      @miranshuleta Forgetting names happens to me all the time but these tips have definitely helped, I hope it does for you as well! Thanks for your comment :)

    • profile image

      Miran Shuleta 

      3 years ago

      Goodness me the amount of times I have forgotten names is embarrassing. Safe to say I will definitely try these methods out.


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