The Name Game- Memory Tips & Tricks

by Gabriella Albert
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Anyone can recall that awkward moment, when you are scrambling to recall the person’s name that you met at a business meeting with a few days ago, or even avoiding the mutual friend you were just introduced to because you can’t remember their name. Nothing is worse than having to ask someone, “What was their name again?” This awkward encounter can be easily shaken off as “having a bad memory” or being “better at faces than names” but it is true that remembering and using a person’s name often, both in the business environment, or just out in a social setting, can increase your likeability and enhance your relationships with others.


It is said that a person’s name is the most important word in the world to them. We are subconsciously more apt to respond to those who use and recognize our own name in conversation. I experienced this first hand at the gym I recently started attending. At the beginning of every class, the trainer goes around and says “Hi (name)!” and high fives every person in the class, sometimes being 50 or more people! As this had been my first class, I was astonished that he even knew my name. I felt like the trainer was there to help and encourage me as well as the other members, simply by remembering my name. This led me to continue going to the class! Although it seemed like just a simple and friendly gesture, there is a marketing tactic in remembering the names of each person in the class, and enhances the relationship between the clients and the companies! Everyone wants to feel like they are well known and part of a community. To this day, several months later, the same trainer still begins every class by going around to 50 or more people, and a simple Hey (Name)! makes a difference.
Having the ability to remember names can positively influence your relationships with others and promote yourself in your personal life. There are some key tips that can help you to remember names fast! Practicing these in your everyday life can put you one step ahead of your peers and help create and maintain important relationships!

Commit and Pay Attention-  

Make it a necessity to remember the name you need to learn, before even being introduced to that person.
Sometimes the act of introducing yourself, shaking hands, making eye contact, thinking of what to say, smiling, can prevent you from even hearing the person’s name, to begin with. This makes it impossible to remember it! Before you even are introduced or approach someone at a networking event, for example, Keep in mind the importance of this! This will help you focus on the name you are hearing, and not be distracted by your surroundings.

Repeat it back immediately-

I use this tactic in my job as a server. When someone orders a drink, I repeat it back to them right after. This also works with a person’s name. Saying the name out loud, not only confirms that you heard and pronounced the name correctly, but it helps It to stick in your brain for a longer time. Responding with “(Name), so nice to meet you” can help put the thought into your short-term memory, until you have the chance to make note of it, later on.


Try to associate the person’s name with an image or word. This can be as simple as saying Patricia has black Pants on, or Dan is standing by the door. It does not have to be a noteworthy association, as long as it works for you!


Another way association can be helpful in connecting someone’s name to someone you already know with the same or similar name! If you have a sister named Maggie, or your friend’s dog’s name is Maggie, making this connection will help you remember the name, even if it, not the same exact one. Also, associating a name you need to learn, to a famous person, can also help you to retain it into your memory.

Go back over names at the end of the day

Once you have made these associations, and the interaction is over, find a time to write down the names of those who you have met, even if it’s just on a spare piece of paper or even in the notes on your phone! This can help in networking and business situations where the person will be impressed that you have remembered their name the next time you see them.



Working on these tips and tricks at work, out with friends, or even with strangers in your everyday life, is a practice that can help you prepare for more important situations. When the time comes where your memory of names is put to the test, you can feel confident and ready to make a lasting impression!
Gabriella Albert

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