Education & Courses

How To Remember Names

As a part-time elementary school teacher you would think that I am particularly good at knowing how to remember names well. Well, as it turns out, I’m not all that good at it at all. In fact, usually for the first few weeks of school I’ll have students either wear name tags or we will post little name signs on the front of their desks. I’m pretty sure they think I do that so they can find their desks. For me it’s one of the best ways for me to try to match a name to a face. I also have a few other tricks I like to use and they include the following.

6 Tips On How To Remember Names Better

1. Repeat After Me

Probably my most favourite of the tricks I use to try to remember someone’s name is by using it as soon as I can. For example, if I’ve just been introduced to Tom, I will find a way to refer to him in my conversation. It may be something simple like, “What are your thoughts on that, Tom?” or “I agree with that, and Tom, where are you on this issue?” I find it puts the name of that person firmly in the front of my mind and it makes it much easier for me to recall.

2. Spelling Bee

Here’s a trick I like to use if I’ve been introduced to someone who happens to have an unusual name. I will ask them to spell it for me. It works in that it gives me a mental picture of that person spelling their name and it often helps me to connect the name to their face. An example is I just met Siobhan. Her name is pronounced, Chiffon, but it is not spelled that way. By having her spell it correctly for me I remember that she did this and then I remember her name.

3. The Association Game

I like to try to connect people’s names with something about them that helps to trigger their name to me the next time we meet. For example, Bill works in a financial institution so I will remember him as ‘Banker Bill.’ Sandra is a volunteer who works in an animal shelter. I can remember her as “Sandra Saves Animals.’ The idea behind this way of remembering names is to make it an easy connection to recall but also fun so you can pull a name out easily.

4. Other Connections

Sometimes the best way I can connect a name to a face is by using someone else’s face as the reminder. I know that sounds a little bit um, risky, but when I tell you how I do this, you’ll understand. I just met Angie. One of my best friend’s is named Angie so I’ll try to remember this girl’s name with that connection. I just met Roger. That’s also the name of one of my cats so I’ll remember him that way. It’s sometimes easier to make a name connection through someone else.

5. Then There’s This

Have you ever noticed that on some days you remember names better than on others? It has a lot to do with where your head is at the time. Sometimes our minds are so full of information that trying to stuff a few faces and names inside just won’t fit. Other times you can recall details that pre-date recent memory. What you can do to help this is to give yourself a break. Recharge your mind with a rest or relaxing walk. Names may be easier to retain after doing this.

6. Cheat A Little

I’ve done this. You probably have, too. When you get a moment, ask the person next to you who that person is that you don’t remember the name of. Just don’t say that’s why you’re asking. Fake a ‘brain fart’ if you have to as we all get them and it’s a plausible reason. Just remember, there are times when the person you ask will also be suffering from a ‘brain fart’ and doesn’t know the name you are after either. This has happened to me more times than needed.

Do Whatever Seems To Work Best For You

My tips here are not perfect and they may not work for you whatsoever. However, I hope I have inspired you to look at different possibilities that can maybe help you in your endeavour of how to remember names better. It isn’t always possible when you find yourself in a crowd of people you don’t know, but at least the odds are in your favour that you may be able to remember a few of those names. When in doubt, you could just call each guy by a nickname like, ‘Bud’ or ‘Buddy’ until you firmly replace that with a proper name. I prefer to try to nail the new name as soon as possible or I’ll end up calling everyone by my cat’s names and that could spell trouble for me!

Jeanie Henderson

Jeanie aka CrazyKittyChick Jeanie is an elementary school teacher by day and cat blogger for Top Cat Condo by night. When she isn’t preoccupied with her two mischief makers (Doogle & Roger) she’s exploring and sharing new ways to make money online.