Remembering peoples names is one of the most important ways to create a good first impression. Dale Carnegie named it as one of the top six things to do to make people like you. Yet think of how many of us are sadly inadequate in this regard.
A name is not always a particularly easy thing to remember. Sometimes it has some kind of meaning, such as Carpenter or Smith, yet the meaning it has usually has no connection to its owner. Sometimes it is merely a foreign-sounding conglomeration of sounds. Further, to truly remember a person’s name, the name must be linked somehow to the owner’s face.
Although remembering names has its challenges, these top 10 tips to remember names will help. Check also: 5 steps to remembering names.
- Overcome your shyness. Almost everybody has a least a little shyness, but some are moderately to severely shy. Shy people are often so distracted by their own internal feelings that they have no opportunity to focus on a new acquaintance’s name. Plus, shy people often do not make good eye contact, lessening their ability to focus on the other person’s face and fix it in the mind.
- Be sure to actually hear the name. It is surprising how often we are introduced to someone in a noisy environment or by someone who mumbles, and we are embarrassed to ask the person to repeat himself or herself.
- If you fail to hear the name clearly, be sure to ask the other person to repeat it. Don’t be afraid to ask even two or three times if necessary.
- Ask how the name is spelled. For obvious names like Smith or Jones, or first names like Tim or Sally, this is of course not necessary (although you may well want to differentiate Tim from Jim). For more unusual names, you will want to get the spelling, as this will help to clarify the name in your mind.
- Make a remark about the name. You could mention that you know somebody by the same name, for example. It might be best, however, not to mention that a celebrity as the same name, as a person you are talking to is probably heard this a thousand times before! Remarking on the name, however, will help to fix it in your mind.
- Use the name throughout the conversation. Don’t overdo it; you will sound strange if you try to use a person’s name in every sentence, but do try to sprinkle the name in occasionally. For example “How do you like this area, Sally?”
- Use the name again when you say goodbye. This will once again help to fix the name in your memory and will create what is called a “memory echo” so that you can use further mental techniques to reinforce your memory of the name in your mind.
- Use mnemonic techniques to help you remember the name. For more difficult names, such as Bartochelovich, you’ll want to break the name down into separate components to create what is called a “visual equivalent.”
- Practice. Work on increasing and improving your memory for names every chance you get. You can practice by making an effort to remember the names of people you see in magazines, on television and on the web. You can even practice by trying to remember the names of characters on the screen while at the movies.
- Be patient. This is the last but perhaps the most important of the top 10 tips to remember names. Remember that it will take time to master the art of remembering names.