How To Stop Forgetting People’s Names

How To Stop Forgetting People’s Names

There is power in a persons name. But remembering a new name can be easier said than done, especially in the frenzy of meeting new co-workers or attending a party where you are the odd-one-out. Being able to recall someone’s name days or even just moments later is an important part of not only making a good impression, but can connect you on a deeper level and build better relationships. It also makes you look more intelligent and confident. There is nothing quite like striding into a meeting, looking at a person you met last month at a conference and greeting them by name. It changes the power dynamic of the exchange instantly and in your favor (especially if the receiver can’t remember your name). As a Man of Order, remembering names is a skill you must master so take a moment and review these tried and true tips.

Focus On Remembering

This is simple but it’s a mindset change. When you are getting ready to go into a situation where you’re going to meet new people, take a beat and get into the headspace of remembering. Not just names and faces, but body language, dress, voice tone and eye movements. Prepare to read the room BEFORE you walk in.

Use Mnemonics

Use something about the person to tie their name to either something they said or their appearance. Lamar is drinking a Moscow Mule? Lamar Likes Lemonade. Michael is into cycling? Mike rides Bikes. They don’t have to rhyme, you can simply tie a fact to them and turn it into a mental badge. Megan was born and raised in Chicago? Megan from Chi-town. You can do appearance mnemonics but those run a risk being faulty if the person changes dramatically (women and hair color comes to mind) or can lead to an embarrassing situation if you blurt out that Gary looks like a Bear.


Repetition can help ingrain a person’s name into your mind and I’ve come up with my own variation of this method. It involves commitment every time you meet someone but the results have been stunning. Here is the formula: When a person tells you their name continue to keep eye contact and repeat their name in your head three times. Repeating their name to yourself WHILE maintaining (normal and not creepy) eye contact attaches their FACE to the NAME you are repeating. With time and practice you’ll be able to ask follow up questions to give you more time to memorize their names if you need it.

Use It

An easy way to keep repeating a name is to use it in conversation. This is easy to get away with during an initial interaction. But if you are still talking an hour later and you are still using their name in conversation, it’ll probably be weird. So use the verbal repetition method in the first 10 minutes of the interaction only.

Ask How It’s Spelled

A nice one time use trick for office settings. Be playful if you deploy this trick as spelling out a long name can be awkward. Also... only do this if the name is unique. Don’t ask Bob how he spells his name.

Ask A Friend

If you are caught in an interaction and can’t remember a name and know you’ll need to talk to that person later…ask a friend. If they don’t know, ask another. Don’t go around the whole party asking about peoples names, that’ll be weird. So only use this method as a hail mary.

Write it down

Let’s say your initial conversation is dying down and the names you just learned are at risk of slipping from your mind. Offer to refresh peoples drinks, get away from the group, pull out your little black book or journal and write them down. (I’ve gone over the merits of journaling before so if you haven’t already give that post a read.) Writing down a quick name and possibly a description can really give you an edge and it serves as a record of the interaction. Being able to recall details because you wrote them down is a superiority flex that will serve you well.

Having a commanding presence involves having sharp recall. You can’t be taken seriously if you are always the guy fumbling for peoples names. Use these tips to level up your status in life.

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