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How To Remember Names And Details About People Better

How To Remember Names And Details About People Better

You’re introduced to a friend of a friend and two sentences into the conversation you have completely forgotten their name. Suddenly you lose all ability to pay attention to the conversation while your mind races for a way to figure out their name. We’ve all been there. I’ve been there more than I care to admit and only recently did I realize that this disease of forgetting names is actually quite curable.

Here are three easy steps I’ve learned for how to remember names and details about people you meet.

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1. Care About People

I shouldn’t even have to write this, but if you don’t care about the people around you, you’ll never be good at remembering their names. People easily forget about things they attach no importance to. You can learn to care more about people by losing yourself in the service of others, but that’s a topic for another time.

2. Remember To Follow Through

The same way a good golf swing requires more than just striking the ball, you’ll remember names far better if you follow through. Thurlow Weed, the man who is given credit for mentoring William H. Seward, understood this principle well. He was concerned that he “lacked a native facility for remembering names and appointments.” As a result, he consciously trained his memory by spending 15 minutes every night recalling everyone he met and everything that was said. It’s no surprise he became especially well known for his amazing ability to remember information.

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Every night I like to give myself a few minutes to remember as many details as I can about my day. Once or twice a week I also try to see how many days I can go back and recall using the same technique. This constant exercise has proven to be the vital follow through I needed in order to improve my memory. Now when I meet someone new, I instinctively attach more value to names and details because I know I will be going over them later. Thank you, Mr. Weed!

3. Say The Name Out Loud

One of my favorite, yet extreme, examples of this is Anna Faris in House Bunny. If you’ve seen it, you’ll remember that when someone new introduces themselves to her, she gets a serious look on her face and repeats the name in her deepest, raspiest voice possible. It’s pretty hilarious. She claims it helps her remember names better. While it might just be a funny quirk to add dimension to the personality of her main character, it is directly in line with a simple truth. If you repeat a person’s name back when they introduce themselves, you are much more likely to remember it.

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Think of a person’s name as a key to your conversation. Once they give it to you, use it once or twice throughout the conversation to keep it going. The quicker you commit a name to memory, the more you can focus on the details of the actual conversation.

Repeating names not only helps you focus and remember, it’s also an excellent way to build better relationships. In Dale Carnegie’s book, How To Win Friends and Influence People, he teaches that “a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

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Remember, care about people, follow through, and say the name out loud. If you still struggle, there is no shame in openly admitting you are trying to be better. Everyone learns at their own pace. Even the slowest progress is better than no progress.

If you struggle with remembering names and details, I would love to hear your experiences trying these tips. Let me know how it goes in the comments below. What other methods do you have for remembering names and details?

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Braden Thompson

Braden is an advocate for better living who finds fulfillment in helping others become better.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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