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7 Secrets to Use to Remember Names

7 Secrets to Use to Remember Names

The mind is a very strange thing. It can remember the lyrics to a song we haven’t heard in ten years, but, unless we consciously work to remember it, our brain can’t recall the name of a person we just met, even if they’re still standing right in front of us. Of course, it’s incredibly difficult to consciously remember a name while simultaneously paying attention to the conversation at hand. We suggest employing some psychological tricks to make sure you remember names of everyone you meet and never forget them for the next time you run into each other.

1. Use the names often

When you meet someone, you’re most likely going to be introduced by a common friend or colleague. Resist the urge to just say “Nice to meet you,” and take it a step further, saying “Nice to meet you, Karen.” Try to sneak their name into conversation as often as possible (without sounding silly, of course). Not only should you repeat their name, but you should also make the effort to get to know them a bit more. Doing so not only humanizes them in your own eyes, but also helps make you aware that you’ll be seeing them again, and therefore their name is worth remembering.

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2. Stay focused on the present

When engaged in a multi-person conversation, your mind is bound to wander at some point. (Especially if you’re in a meeting at work, am I right?). Consciously avoid allowing your mind to wander, especially when you’ve just met a new person. You don’t want your boss to introduce you to someone, and then have to say “I’m sorry, I forgot your name” almost immediately. It will give off the impression that you either weren’t listening when your boss was speaking, or that you’re absent-minded. When in social situations, your head should always be on a swivel, anyway. Keep your head in the game!

3. Think back to the moment you met

If you took the first piece of advice about using the name often, you’ll be able to use that moment to your advantage later on in conversation. It will be much easier to remember names when you recall saying “Nice to meet you, Karen” than it will be to remember your boss saying “Matt, I want you to meet Karen.” Just be careful that you don’t get lost in the conversation while trying to relive the beginning of it!

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4. Associate it with a feature

Pick something out about the person you just met and connect it to their name. Or make up a silly rhyme about them in your head (just don’t let them know about the rhyme). Using a mnemonic is definitely a last-ditch effort, but if it works, it works. If you’re put in the unfortunate position of meeting more than one person at a time, check out their clothing and other features; use the color of their tie, their hair, beard, anything at all that could help. In your head, call them “Grey suit Mike” or “Brown tie Robert.” Just make sure to drop the modifier when you say their names aloud. And remember: They won’t be wearing the same thing next time you see them, so try to get their names down by the end of the first meeting.

5. Study their face

This one can be a little rude, but as long as you keep it to yourself, you should be okay. Everyone is unique in some way, so pick of the person’s unique quality and associate it with their name. Steve with the glasses, Rob with the bald spot. Like I said, it’s not exactly the most polite thing to do, but if it helps, use it. And, unlike using their clothing, they’ll most likely look the same the next time you see them. (And if not, you can always use the old “I hardly recognized you without your glasses!” trick).

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6. Cross-reference their name with another person

If you happen to know anyone with that same name, picture the two of them meeting up and hanging out. Picture them doing something you know your friend is into; if your friend Mike likes to golf, and you just met someone else named Mike, picture them both golfing together. When you take new information in and associate it with information your brain already knows, it makes it easier to solidify the new in your mind.

7. Work on it consciously

Like I said before, when you meet someone new, you should work under the assumption that you’ll be seeing them again soon. Don’t let their name out of your head just because the meeting is over. Review the important points of your conversation, so you have more to remember the person by. Since you’ll know more than just their name after having a conversation with them, it should be easier to remember them as a whole person.

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Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm6.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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