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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 December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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