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Do you have trouble remembering people’s names?

Don’t worry. It’s actually a pretty common phenomenon.

In my line of work remembering people’s names is vital and over time I’ve developed a really successful system for how to learn someone’s name and remember it for the next time you meet.

Focus on me not the storm …

The first step is to be ‘focused’. Most of us are not focused or we are pre-occupied when being introduced to someone for the first time. We’re usually pretty caught up in our heads and not being present that we actually come across detached in any given moment, rather than focusing outwardly. So, from now on, try this … set your intention when you meet a person to ‘listen’ to their name.

Listen and silent are spelled with the same letters …

Make sure that when you ask for the name, you actually hear it and understand it in the first place. Make sure you can pronounce it, ask kindly for help if you can’t and just explain that it is important to you that you’re saying it the right way.

Once you’ve got it, repeat it in your head. And repeat it again. See the letters etched on your forehead if you can.

Just prepare well …

Next, pick out the most distinguishing feature you notice immediately on their face, whether its curly hair, dimple, acne, big forehead, buckteeth, scar… etc. It doesn’t have to be a flattering feature, just something that you notice. Something that’s quite unforgettable.

Association is a very important key to success …

Now that you have an ’image’ to associate the name with … place the name in your mind, with the distinguishing feature you picked out. There are numerous ways to turn a name into an image, go with the first thing that pops into your head, without thinking about it too hard because this will be your ‘default’ setting, what your brain comes back to time and again.

You might think of a friend with a similar name, you might even think of a cartoon character with a similarly shaped nose, you might think of a famous actor. And then you can make the association in your mind … come up with an image, the easiest is to go with a mental image of someone you know that has the same name (famous actor, friend, family, cartoon, etc.).

Cities full of empty people …

Sometimes it’s easy to choose a place or an item that sounds like the name (e.g. Steve sounds like stove or Brian sounds like Iron).  You might meet someone called ‘Colin’ and immediately think of Collins St. It’s entirely up to you, but go with the first image that comes to mind.

And then finally, to cement this process in your mind, you need to create a mental image that connects these two things. And you need to try to make the connection as vivid as possible (violence, humor, erotica, bizarreness is the best kind of memorable things). Use all the senses. Try using sound, colour, or even smell!

Let’s try one on for size …

Maybe you’re meeting me.  I am small, with big green eyes and curly Blonde hair.

My distinguishing feature (the one I’d most certainly pick if I were you, is my hair). I tell you my name is Catherine Plano. And you might instantly think of Catherine Zeta Jones. We look nothing alike, but just for fun, imagine her … with my curly Blonde hair!

Maybe posing for a photo with husband Michael Douglas … she’s dancing near a piano (which is associated with the surname Plano), like in the movie Chicago, and then maybe if you add a song or two … pretty soon you’ve got enough senses involved to have made the connection.

… And I guarantee, next time you’ll remember my name!