How To Remember Names

and faces too!

Stever Robbins,
Episode #057

Today's topic is connecting names and faces. The quick and dirty tip is to use your internal motivation, visual recognition and memory, and auditory repetition to connect faces with names.

A listener calls in:

My name is Chris and I have a question regarding remembering names and putting them with faces. While I can remember faces very well, I have difficulty putting names with faces.

Thanks so much for calling in. I feel your pain, Joe. Bill. Er, Ferdinand. Well, whatever your name is, it’s a good question.

Our name confusion starts young. You see a man and woman looming over you. He keeps saying, “Da Da.” She keeps saying “Ma Ma.” You’re too young to know they’re using your first word as a symbolic power struggle that will come to characterize their marriage for the next three decades. It will eventually fund three therapists adding entire additions to their homes. But all you think at the time is, “What great people. They’re trying to teach me!”

But hey, you’re zero. You don’t get it, yet, and it’s confusing. Is he named Dada? Or is he trying to tell you that her name is DaDa? Then the phone rings. They hold it up, point to the phone, and say “Grandma! It’s Grandma!” … Oh, isn’t that helpful? That clears everything right up.

You Have to Care About Remembering Names

Some people get it right from an early age. I once met a church minister who remembered names. I mean, really remembered names. She met me once for about 30 seconds. A year later I met her again and she said, “Stever! Great to see you again.” It felt so good, I had to check and look--I wasn’t even wearing a name tag. So I instantly said, “Please, can we talk?” in a slightly wounded-sounding voice of a supplicant in need. They always fall for the supplicant-in-need thing. She said “Yes,” and I immediately quizzed her on how she remembered names.


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