Have trouble remembering names? Try these three tips.
Have you ever walked into a room, met a bunch of people only to forget their names moments later?
If you have, congratulations! You’re human.
In fact, one study discovered that of the various types of information we’re given about someone, their name is one of the hardest to remember and ranks lower than their occupation.
We seem to find it difficult to remember names because names are fairly arbitrary and don’t tell us anything about the person. This is where nominative determinism comes to the rescue.
We find it easier to remember that a person is a potter, i.e. makes pots, than if their surname is actually Potter. Or a banker if their name is Moneypenny, or Taylor if they’re a suit maker. (This happens surprisingly more often than you think.)
However, next time you meet a cute guy or girl at a party, you can follow these steps for a better chance of remembering their name:
Step One - Pay attention when someone tells you their name. This means being present, undistracted, and having already decided you are going to remember their name. (Being present also gives you a high chance of getting the person to like you.)
Step Two - Repeat their name back to them as soon as you can, preferably immediately (them: “I’m Toby”; you: “Hi Toby”). Repetition improves recall, and it forces you to pay attention in the first place.
Step Three - What really makes names stick is when you create mental associations with the name. You could use metaphor, word play, or create a more literal representation of the name. For example, if you meet someone called Oscar, imagine him as a miniature gold statue. If you meet an Alexandra, call her Alexandra the Great. But if you meet a Mary, please don’t call her bloody Mary to her face!