A name is merely a combination of letters. These random sets of syllables belong specifically to a certain face and person which makes them who they are. However, when trying to remember and recall a name, these words and sounds like to play hide and seek with our long-term memory, appearing to run through one ear and escaping through the other before we can catch it.
Right now, you are probably wondering why it’s easier to recognise someone’s face rather than their name. The answer is simple: faces portray significant information. Eye colour, hair colour, bone structure, freckles, dimples and even facial movements are important qualities that we use to recognise a person. Compared to a name, this feeds us a wealth load of information.
Not only is forgetting one’s name cringe worthy, it can potentially affect your career and future possibilities. For you, it will stop you from creating an important contact. To them, it may look as if your thoughts are elsewhere. To prevent this from happening, we have listed our top memory tips on remembering one’s name. Master one or two of these and you will leave a lasting impression.
The Start and Finish Line
Under normal circumstances, it is extremely rare for a person to state their name without a further conversation. You’re habitually going to be involved in a conversation about who you are and what you do. This social etiquette is deemed pleasant; however, it significantly increases the odds of a name being forced out of short-term memory due to information overload.
Known as the “primacy effect,” the brain has a habit of memorising the first thing you hear and the last thing you hear. If a person is introduced to you first, the name will have a higher chance of being transferred into the long-term memory. By ensuring that the conversation ends with their name, it should be on the next train to the memorisation-station. When the conversation has finished, re-state your name and ask for theirs. This will ensure that their name will drive home the conversation.
Rehearse and Repeat
Saying someone’s name three times during the initial conversation is a proven tactic in recalling their name. Occasionally use the individual’s name in conversation, such as “Adam, pleasure to meet you,” or “How long have you been working in finance, Adam?” Not only will this burn the name into your memory, it will demonstrate your interest, charm and professionalism.
Create an image
Try to associate a name with a mental image by listening to what they talk about. The image can be literal or creative. Connecting their name with their hobbies such as ‘Frank likes to fish’ or rhyming words with their name like ‘Jake the Snake’ attaches the aural sound with a mental image. This helps the mind to find a meaning of the word, rather than the sounding of the name.
How do you spell that?
Don’t be hesitant to ask how to spell or pronounce a name. People will have more interest in you if you appear interested in them. Today, many names are spelt differently and adapted in different ways, such as Jonathan or Alyssa. When asking how to spell a name, you have not only mentally repeated the name, but also created a memory of how it was spelt differently. If you can’t possiblly ask how to spell a name as it is too obvious, ask what they prefer to be called or the meaning behind their name.
Remembering a person’s name is the key to opening doors which may lead to chances and opportunities. Have patience and practice these key steps to help confirm your memory and move important details from short-term to long-term memory. These steps will help you to create a bond that could make this person a colleague or better still, the ultimate business partner.