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  • Writer's pictureBob Prentice


Updated: Mar 26, 2021

Have you ever been introduced to someone that you have never met before at a meeting or a church or community function and then a few days later bumped into them at the grocery store and had that embarrassing moment of not being able to recall their name? A real sour feeling wells up inside you as you try to hold a conversation while at the same time you’re thinking to yourself, “I am so terrible at remembering names.”

I know that with the thousands of people I meet each year it is vital to have a system for remembering names and faces. How about you? Wouldn’t it help if you had a system for total recall?

Well, I just so happen to have a system I have been using for a number of years that has really helped me greatly in this area of remembering names, and I will be glad to share with you.

First of all, start saying to yourself, “I have a great memory.” This is actually the truth, since we were all given the gift of memory at birth. The way our mind works is incredible, but most of us have never been given the tools to master our memory. So the second thing we need to do is discover some tools to help us learn names, so we can better remember them the next time we meet that person.

I work hard on getting an impression of the person in my minds eye. I speak their name out loud, saying something like, “It’s nice to meet you, Randy Brock!” Then I repeat his name to myself several times throughout our conversation. Sometimes, after the conversation, I will take a moment to jot the name down.

My favorite thing to do, though, is to make an association of a person’s name for total recall. I may make an association with their name and a business, or I make up a quick little rhyme like Randy is dandy, as sweet as candy. To remember Randy’s last name–Brock–I think of Brachs candy. This helps to lock his name in place. Get creative with it and start making a game of remembering names.

Here's another idea. Consider developing a mind’s eye picture with that person and some exaggerated picture in your mind. You can even use their appearance as a tool. Let’s say you meet a George Bush (not the former president) and George has bushy eyebrows and is rather stout. You picture Georgy Porgy, with bushy eyebrows eating pudding and pie. The name George Bush is locked in to your memory.

When I meet someone named Vicki, I immediately associate that Vicki with Vicki my wife.

You could ask someone if they know the meaning of their name, or the ethnic origin of their name, which can allow you time to develop an association that could also aid you in remembering.

One more tip I just love: From now on when you connect with someone, simply ask them their name first, before you tell them yours. That way you are focusing on them. And besides, you already have your name down pat.

When you focus on other people, instead of yourself, and use these simple tools I have suggested, you will have a lot more fun with remembering names. Developing a quick association will most certainly banish the “I can’t seem to remember your name” syndrome and nearly always lead to total recall!

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