A Young Entrepreneuer's Quest

How to Remember Names

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by Patrick Toerner on March 23, 2010

Remembering a person’s name is one of the greatest compliments you can give. It subtly tells them that you think they are important.  Lately I have taken it upon myself to become a guy that is great with names.  I have referred to myself as terrible with names, but no longer.  Here are the ways I am using to remember names better:

1. Repetition

I make sure to repeat the person’s name at least three times in the conversation.  This cements the name into your brain.

2. Correlate a Trait to Their Name

A good way to remember names is to make a connection with their name and a trait.  For example, Tim with black hair.  When you see him again, the black hair will actually help you remember his name.

3. Rhyme

Make a silly rhyme out of the person’s name and you will be amazed at how it sticks in your brain.  A quick example would be, John loves Pokemon.

4. Write it down later

If later in the day you write the name down and remember the face, i promise you will never forget that person’s name.  Even typing it into your cell phone will work.

Now, if you forgot their name what should you do?

1. Ask someone else

I would first ask someone who knows his or her name.  This is a safe approach that most people do instinctively.

2. Introduce the person to someone you know

Introduce him or her, but gesture for the person to say his own name.  It sounds harder than it really easy. People are accustomed to saying their name when meeting someone new, so take advantage of this.

3. Ask them

It is really not that bad if you ask the person.  It actually does show that you are interested.  Say something like this, “I am terrible sorry, but your name escapes me.  What was it, again?”  Everyone forgets names, they will understand.

Remember, a person’s name is the sweetest sound in the world to them.  Give them a compliment and make an effort to remember it.

Have any other great ways to remember names?  I would love to hear about them.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Moon Hussain March 24, 2010 at 5:42 am

As I’m getting older, it does seem harder to remember peoples’ names. Maybe because when I was younger, I’d associate their name and looks…. I think repetition is the key though!

How’s the mini-site coming along?
.-= Moon Hussain´s last blog ..Are You Embarrassed Of Saying “Passive Income” Out Loud? =-.


2 Patrick Toerner March 24, 2010 at 7:14 pm

Yes, repetition is the biggest one I think, as well.

The mini site is moving, working on building content and backlinks, there will be an update soon!


3 harvestwages March 26, 2010 at 1:24 am

Hey Pat,
Names are really important especially in cementing a business relation. I used to forget names, but now on know their role in my business interactions, i never forget names. I often feel embarrassed when a friend forgets my name.
.-= harvestwages´s last blog ..5 traps that seduces great minds =-.


4 Richard Scott | Jewelry Secrets March 29, 2010 at 12:35 am

Hi Patrick, what a great post you have Patrick. These tricks work very well, do you use them all Patrick? Patrick is easy to remember since it was just St. Patty’s Day. I won’t forget that Patrick. Seems to me like it’s working… Don’t ya think Patrick? ha. ;)

By the way, I have a picture that I took down South that was the “Tom, Dick and Harry” road. No lie! The street sign is crazy. Won’t forget that! :)


5 Patrick Toerner March 29, 2010 at 12:42 am

Hah! That probably would have made a better picture than the one I put on this post. And you effectively got my name in there six times, you won’t be forgetting Patrick for a while I reckon.


6 Mars Dorian March 29, 2010 at 1:26 pm

That’s so vital

I’ve also heard that one’s name is one’s favorite word, ranking higher than “love”.
I usually remember names by making weird associations.
But I’m going to go simple now, I’ll try : number 3 (rhyming) and simply writing it down !
thanks for sharing !
.-= Mars Dorian´s last blog ..What’s Your Mission ? =-.


7 Patrick Toerner March 29, 2010 at 3:15 pm

I didn’t realize it was statistically a fast that names were one’s favorite word. I based it on weird facts like: “There are three times as many dentists named Dennis than any other name” and “The name with most frequency in Florida is Florence.” They are kind of older statistics but still show the principle.

By the way, I think the easiest and most natural of the above of repetition. Thanks for reading!


8 Eric March 31, 2010 at 8:35 am

I just had to comment on this because I’m also not all that great at remembering names. I don’t have too many names to remember in the first place but new people I might meet’s names often escape me.

Good tips here! :)
.-= Eric´s last blog ..Have You Done It Yet And If So, Have You Learned? =-.


9 Patrick Toerner March 31, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Don’t get down on yourself for being bad at remembering names :) The first thing I started doing to help me remember names was tell myself and other people, “I am good with names.” I am way better with names now, so maybe that helped.

Good luck with remembering names!


10 Selurus April 3, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Interesting tips. I read a book about memory improvement by some author, whats his name, jk. It was by Harry Lorraine. He explains about creating a funny mental picture of the persons name by breaking down the name or some other means and seeing it for a few seconds to help remember it. Works for me. :)


11 Patrick Toerner April 3, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Yeah, mental pictures pictures work for a lot of people. I have heard of people crashing the person’s name into their head and having an explosion or something. It never really worked for me, I guess I am an audio learner :)


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