How To Remember Names

and faces too!

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #057

I once helped check in about 100 people for a workshop and managed to memorize about 85 of their names by the time check-in was done. Since I don’t do it very often, I find I have to make a conscious effort, but it works when I put in the effort.

Associate the Person With a Story

If these are people you’ll be seeing over and over, or whom you know more about, you can also build more of a story in your mind. Have you ever noticed that when your friends tell you for months about that smart, attractive, desirable “Pat” who would be just perfect for you, when you’re finally introduced, you remember the name right away? That’s because you’ve already built up a mental context around the name. It was a simple matter to dropping in the face.

If you nonetheless forget a name, and you have a friend around, have your friend introduce him or herself and ask for the other person’s name where you can overhear it. If you’re alone and have no other choice, I find it’s often best simply to admit it. “I’m sorry, could you remind me of your name? It’s very important to me. My … condition … makes it impossible for me to remember names.” If they ask about the condition, you can apologetically say, “Oh, my … condition … makes it impossible for me to remember the name of my condition. I’m so sorry.”

If all else fails, try repeating their name a lot and relying on repetition. Repetition, repetition, repetition. This is Stever. Stever Robbins. Stever. Stever, Stever, Stever.

Thank you Jim, Kristen, Evelyn, Jackie, Steven, Marty, Wendy, Pam, Marissa, Katie, and Amy for chiming in on the subject at blog.steverrobbins.com/getitdoneguy .

This is (remember?) Stever Robbins. Email questions to getitdone@quickanddirtytips.com or leave voicemail at 866-WRK-LESS. Conquer your email with my audio program You Are Not Your Inbox: Overcoming Email overload at YouAreNotYourInbox.com

Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!

Image courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT. 

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