How to Remember a Name

Use These Two Simple Memory Techniques

How to... Remember People's Names

© Veer

Remembering names can be easy with the right technique.

Remembering people's names is a vital skill in life and at work! Here are two simple ways to do it.

1. Face Association

Examine a person's face discreetly when you are introduced. Try to find a distinctive feature, whether it's their ears, hairline, forehead, eyebrows, eyes, nose, mouth, chin, complexion, or something else.

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Create an association in your mind between that characteristic, the person's face, and their name. The association may be to link the person with someone else you know with the same name. Alternatively it may be to associate a rhyme or image of the name with the person's face or defining feature.

2. Repetition

When you are introduced, ask the person to repeat their name. Use the name yourself as often as possible (without overdoing it!). If it is unfamiliar, ask how it is spelled. Keep in mind that the more often you hear and see the name, the more likely it is to sink in.

Also, after you have left that person's company, review the name in your mind several times. If you are particularly keen you might decide to write it down and make notes.


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Key Points

The methods suggested for remembering names are fairly simple and obvious, but they are useful. Association either with images of a name or with other people can really help. Repetition and review help to confirm your memory.

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Comments (2)
  • Over a month ago Michele wrote
    Hi becca44,

    Thanks for sharing your experience! I am one who needs to use techniques to remember people's names. I instantly remember faces, not their names. I am in awe of people who have mastered the skill.

    Mind Tools Team
  • Over a month ago becca44 wrote
    Hello; I'd like to provide a couple of friendly notes regarding "remembering names". Back in the 1991-1992, and 1992-1993 school years (junior high, or 7th and 8th grades); I had one particular teacher who taught 7th grade English and 8th grade Spanish. I was her student for BOTH 7th grade English AND 8th grade Spanish.
    Anyways, each school year, which would start in September back then, she would know each student's first and last name by the SECOND day of school, for EACH of her several classes. Of course, she had the class roster for each class ahead of time; yet, after roll call on the first day, she could even remember EACH student's first and last name by face--even outside of the classroom. Either she had excellent memory skills or experience (likely)--AND/OR: she used/had been using some type of technique (likely both)!