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How to Remember People’s Names

How to Remember People’s Names


    Have you ever met someone and within seconds completely forgotten their name?

    (Haven’t we all.)

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    Remembering people’s names is crucial if you want to build strong relationships in life. And we all know strong relationships are one of the most important factors for a productive and successful life.

    So why is it so difficult to remember someone’s name?

    And what can we do to make sure we’re not left in an awkward situation where we utter those fatal words: “sorry – what was your name again?”

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    Why Bother Remembering Someone’s Name?

    One of the key reasons we forget names is that we don’t ‘focus’ our attention on them. As soon as we’re introduced to someone new, our thoughts are racing ahead to think of ‘what to say next’ and we pay no attention to the name we’ve just been told.

    Not only is it embarrassing when this happens, it can also severely damage new relationships.

    Because the truth is, you will offend people when you forget their name. You’ll make them feel like they’re not that important and that essentially you don’t really respect them enough to go to the trouble of remembering their name.

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    On the flip side, one of the quickest and easiest ways to build rapport and demonstrate your respect for someone – is to use their name when you’re speaking to them. You may have noticed that successful people who carry a lot of authority in their jobs often use peoples names when they’re speaking. They do this to be more persuasive and build relationships at the subconscious level.

    So remembering people’s names really is worth it!

    What Can You Do to Remember People’s Names?

    There are a few things you can do to help you with this.

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    1. Focus & listen intently. The first is to mentally make a decision to remember the name before you hear it. This focuses your brain and directs it to store the name in your long-term memory. You can imagine that this person is very powerful and important and that it’s in your interest to remember their name! By making an effort to focus, you will also naturally lean in and listen more intently when they say their name.
    2. Repeat the name. The second is to repeat the name back to the person you have just met. You can take this a step further by asking them to spell their name or asking them the origin of their name. This extends the conversation and provides more mental ‘triggers’ for you to recall the name at a later stage. It also builds rapport because you are showing an interest in their name. Remember to only ask these questions if it makes sense to do so (i.e. the name is unusual). People may question your intelligence if you ask them how to spell common names like ‘Dave’ or ‘Sarah’!
    3. Associate the Name. The third is to associate their name with something familiar. For example you could associate them with someone else you already know who has the same name.
    4. Rhyme the name. The fourth is to rhyme their name with another word. The more absurd the rhyming word – the better. Our brains love absurdity and finds it very easy to remember absurd things over dull things. I once had a client called Anshika – which I’m sure you’ll agree is an unusual name. How did I remember it? I rhymed it with ‘chicken tikka’ – this sounds silly but guess what? I never forgot her name! You can play around with adding an image to your rhyme too, to increase your chances of remembering it! I’m sure you can imagine how I may have pictured my client Anshika! :)
    5. Note Facial Features. The fifth is to note any distinguishable facial features. What is different or unusual about this person? For example someone may have unusually curly hair and you may remember them as ‘curly sue’. By associating their name with the characteristic the next time you meet them, you’re memory will be triggered by the feature (in this case curly hair) which will in turn trigger the name! (curly sue).

    As you can see, there are many ways to increase your memory when it comes to remembering people’s names. And in my experience it really is worth it to make the effort, especially if it means you escape that dreaded phrase: “Sorry what was your name again?”

    Why not try using one of these tips next time you’re introduced to someone? Who knows – it could be the start of a really important relationship in your life?

    (Photo credit: Close Up of Man with Name Tag via Shutterstock)

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    Zoe B

    A strategist, coach and blogger who shows people how to stop what isn't working for them in life and to start to plan the life they really want.

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    Last Updated on June 13, 2019

    How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

    How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

    Think you have a boring life?

    The definition of boring is dull or not interesting. Maybe you’ve been doing the same thing and living the same life for too long, or maybe your daily routine is limiting your growth and happiness. Whatever your reason is, the following list of 20 things can definitely make any day more interesting. Some of them are silly, while some are more meaningful, so hopefully just reading the list makes your life less boring and sparks your creativity.

    Let’s dive in the list to quit your boring life and start living an interesting (and meaning) one!

    1. Channel Your 7-Year-Old Self

    What would he or she want to do right now? Color? Paint? Run around outside? Play dress up? Eat with your hands? Play that instrument hiding in the back of your closet that you haven’t touched in years?

    Just because you’re a grown up doesn’t mean any of this stuff will be less enjoyable than you remember it. Give yourself permission to play.

    2. Go Play with Kids

    Speaking of little kids, if you have your own or access to any (in a non-creepy way, like they’re your niece or your best friend’s kid, you get the idea) go play with them!

    They didn’t create an entire show called Kids Say The Darndest Things because kids aren’t hilarious. They also keep things so simple, and we can really stand to be reminded of this and stop allowing ourselves to get bogged down in boring details.

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    3. Order a Hot Dog

    While you’re eating it, Google: “What’s in a hot dog?” You decide whether or not you want to finish it.

    4. For the Ladies: Wear Your Sexiest Lingerie Under Your Work Clothes

    Your “little secret” will leave you feeling anything but boring all day!

    5. Play Cell Phone Roulette

    You’ll need at least one buddy for this. Scroll through the contacts in your phone, stop on a random one and call the person.

    You could spark an incredible catch up session or be incredibly awkward. Neither are boring.

    6. Fill out a Pack of Thank-You Cards

    Give them to random people who probably don’t get thanked too often for doing what they do ever day.

    Ideas: police officers, librarians, servers, baristas, cab drivers, sanitation workers, teachers, people behind any check out counter, receptionists, your friends, the guy at the falafel stand, etc.

    7. Sign up for a Class in Something You’ve “Always Wanted to Do”, or Something That Makes You Really Uncomfortable

    Ideas: pole dancing, salsa lessons, improv, pottery, cooking, knitting (yup, there are classes for this, too!), karate, boxing, something techy like the workshops they run in Apple stores, get Rosetta Stone and learn that language you’ve always wanted to speak, etc.

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    What’s good about joining an interest class is that you will also meet new people!

    8. Interview Your Grandparents About Their Lives

    You can bet they’ve had some crazy experiences you probably never knew about.

    9. Get up on Stage at an Open Mic Night

    Whether you’re funny or not, get up on stage and just talk funny. And if you’re not, memorize a few of your favorite jokes and tell those!

    10. Do Something for Someone Else That You Wish Someone Would Do for You

    We all have a few ideas on this list. I promise you will feel amazing after and anything but bored.

    11. Start a DIY Project in Your Home

    It doesn’t have to be super complicated. If you need ideas, there’re plenty on Pinterest. Or you can also check out these 30 Awesome DIY Projects that You’ve Never Heard of.

    12. Plan a Weekend Trip or an All-Out Vacation

    This will give you something to look forward to.

    Even if you don’t have the time or money to go on a vacation, plan for a staycation, which is same fun and relaxing!

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    13. People Watch

    Find a bench in a crowded area (centers of transportation like airports, bus stops and train stations are great for this!) and just observe.

    People are infinitely interesting.

    14. Eat Something You’ve Never Eaten Before

    Bonus points if it’s a random fruit or veggie.

    15. Dance

    You can get your friends together for a night on the town or just pull up a video on YouTube and bust a move from your own living room.

    If you’re feeling extra brave, you can even dance in public and get other people involved.

    16. Go to YOUTUBE and Search “Funny Pets” or “Funny Babies”

    This is also a great quickie ab workout as you will be laughing hysterically.

    17. Pick up a Book and Start Reading

    Check out the NY Times Best Sellers lists and grab a new book you can get lost in.

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    18. Step Away from the Computer and Go Get Some Time with People You Care About in Real Life

    Facebook stalking doesn’t count as real social interaction. You can even share this post with your friends and vote on which one you’d like to do together!

    19. Check out a Museum You’ve Never Been to Before

    OK, depending on your interests, this one might actually be boring. If you love learning, art or different cultures though, this one is for you!

    20. Write a List of Things You Desire and Truly Want

    This is a great way to help you figure out the real reason why you’re feeling bored about your life. Maybe you haven’t really done things that you truly enjoy? Maybe what you’ve wanted to do all the time has been left behind?

    Think about the list of things you really want to do, and ask yourself why you aren’t doing these things (yet). Then start taking your first step to make what you want happen.

    Now go make your life interesting and live your dream life!

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    Featured photo credit: Kev Costello via unsplash.com

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