How To Remember People’s Names

How To Remember People’s Names

Meeting new people, whether in social situations, or meeting new clients, can be nerve-wracking, especially if you have a tendency to forget names.


You might be so focused on getting through the introduction and making a good impression that you totally forget the person’s name in the process! The worst part is, generally speaking, you have only this short window to remember the other person’s name. If you miss the opportunity to learn the name, or ask for it if you forgot it, the longer you wait, the more rude your forgetfulness becomes. You might go through the entire day avoiding calling the person by their name or ducking out of situations in which you need to remember it. It can get quite embarrassing!

Of course, it’s s not as if we go through life with a “Hello, My Name Is ________” sticker, which would make everything much easier. If you find yourself having difficulty remembering the names of people, though, don’t fret.


Here are a few ways to remember people’s names, every time:

Practice Saying Their Names


Incorporating people’s names into conversation increases the likelihood that you’ll remember their names. As soon as you are introduced to someone, use their name. The first few exchanges in your introduction might go something like this:

Sarah: Hello, my name is Sarah.

You: Hello, Sarah. My name is ____.  It’s very nice to meet you.

Now, it will be easier to remember this person’s name if you spend at least a few minutes talking with them. Ask them a few questions about themselves; what they do, where they work, where they are from, do they have a partner/children, how are they enjoying the event, etc. During this conversation, try to pepper in their name a few more times. Don’t force it, but if you can slip in their name, you’ll remember it better and they will feel a deeper connection with you. For example, say something like, “that’s a very interesting opinion, Sarah,” or “hm, yes, I do see what you’re saying, Sarah,” or if you’re talking to someone else, bring up Sarah again: “Well, Bob, as Sarah was saying…”



Using this strategy makes conversations much more personal. You should use it all the time, even when you already know somebody. Instead of saying “oh, hello” always say the person’s name. “Good morning, Sarah! How are you doing?” or “Hello, Bob!” The person to whom you are speaking will feel as though they are receiving much more personal attention. Your top o’ the mornin’ or greeting will seem specially crafted for them, as if you really care about their morning or really sincerely hope they have a good day, even if you say the same thing to everyone else.



When you meet someone, immediately try to associate them with something. Do they have big glasses, short hair, a mustache, were they wearing a pink tie, did you like their outfit, etc.? Focus on whatever that thing was and pair it with their name in your head: “Sarah, blue necklace” or “Bob, crooked smile.” You can make associations with anything, from how people sound to how they look to how they behave (ex: “Monika, British lady,” “Katy, very outspoken,” “Marcus, quiet one” and so on).

To solidify these, immediately input these names and associations into your smartphone or onto paper, even if you don’t actually have their contact information yet. I put their names along with their associations straight into the contact name section in my contact book. For example, “Mark, guy with blue shirt from Galaxy Bar”. If you get their full names, put their entire name into your contact book–you’ll never know when you might need it. Plus, you can be a little creepy and pull their Facebook photo from their Facebook page and put it into your phone to help you better remember for next time.

Make Connections


Remembering the names of new people is easier if they have some similarities to people that you already know. If a person has the the same name as your cousin or has a similar birthmark, it can help you remember them better.

Once you’ve implemented these strategies and used them for a while, you’ll become a name master! Franklin Roosevelt was well beloved by all White House staff because he remembered everyone’s names, right down the White House gardener.






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