How to Make Better Introductions and Remember Names (Part 2)

Making introductions is hard. Remembering names is even harder. In Part 2 of this series, the Public Speaker shares her 5 secrets for always remembering the names of people you meet. 

Lisa B. Marshall,
December 27, 2013
Episode #232

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In Part 1 of this series, I gave you my best tips for making proper introductions. Today we’re going to talk about how to remember names. Although it can be tough to remember people's names, with some practice, you can definitely learn to do it. Remembering names and making good introductions will help you feel at ease in any social or business situation.>

John attended a job fair in which he was hoping to dazzle and create leads for employment. He found himself not being able to remember a colleague’s name, so he resorted to his old trick of asking the person, “You have a unique name. How do you spell it?” And to his embarrassment, the reply was, “B – O – B.”

Oops. Maybe John needs a few other tips in his arsenal so this doesn’t happen again. Let’s explore some ideas for remembering names:

Tip #1: Use Images

Names are hard to remember because usually they are not associated with any objects or images. This is why assigning an image to someone is effective. It especially helps if you use the sounds of their name to form those images.

I kept forgetting a woman whose name is Jennifer, so finally I decided to picture a hen (sounds like Jen), with her hairstyle, shivering with a fur (fer). Her hairstyle stood out to me, but for someone else it could be something unrelated and just sounds like the name. Take the name Phil. We met at a party and he liked to fill up his plate at the buffet line. Now I’ll never forget his name! Also, use some information that person has given you about themselves for your mental image, if possible. Phil likes to mountain climb, so I can picture him in that activity. Use your imagination, too. The crazier the image, the more likely the name will stick. And no one has to know how unflattering or bizarre the image is in your mind. It’s all for a good cause.

Tip #2: Use Your Surroundings

You can associate the person and their name with something you remember about the event where you met.

For example, I’ll always remember that I met Eva’s mom Jennifer at a birthday party. I can still see our mutual friend’s yard, patio, and house. I can picture the birthday cake with Jennifer’s name on it, or picture her name written on the tablecloth. I see the name Jennifer on the balloons from the party, bobbing around in my mind. Now, whenever I see Eva, I can remember her mom’s name by having an anchor memory to which I can add the missing pieces.


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