The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Remembering Names

Most of us have experienced it. You are introduced to someone, only to forget his or her name within seconds. You rack your brain trying to remember, but can't seem to even come up with the first letter. Then you get frustrated and think, "Why is it so hard for me to remember names?"

Now we all know how important remembering names is. It's the fastest and most reliable way of building rapport, connection, and creating a good first impression. Dale Carnegie stated that a person's name is to that person the sweetest, most important sound in any language.

So why do we actually forget people's name?

You may think it's just how you were born, but that's not the case, according to Kansas State University's Richard Harris, professor of psychology. He says it's not necessarily your brain's ability that determines how well you can remember names, but rather your level of interest. The other factors that impact your ability to remember people's name are nervousness, being concerned about what to say next or thinking you are just bad at remembering names. 

So.. how do you remember a person's name?

Fortunately, there are some simple brain training strategies that can help you become better at remembering a person's name. According to Edward "Ed" Cooke a Grandmaster of Memory shared the following tips:

1. Clearly understand their name: 

It doesn't matter if you get a name wrong, people are flattered that you take an interest, so take risks, practice actively recalling. This is especially useful if their name is hard to pronounce or from a different nationality. 

2. Say the name out loud, and often:

Names exist to be said out loud. By actively using a person's name you are not only practicing it, you are also getting your mind used to the idea that you are socially interested in the person - and that will boost your memory for them yet further.

3. Spell it out:

It's easy to mishear a name, and many names are similar, such as Katie, Katherine, Kate, Cat, Caitlin, Kathy, Karen. Ask a person how their name is spelled. This gives you time to think about the name, and helps to remember it. 

4. Link the name to an amusing image:

Another powerful method for linking names to people is to treat them as little sentences. 
If someone is called Terrence Mackie, maybe imagine them walking a Terrier eating a Big Mac. If someone is called James Hood, imagine them with Jam in their Hood.

5. Link the person to a celebrity with the same name:  

Try associating people who have such names to the celebrities who share them. Linking a person called George with George Clooney will automatically make their name more distinctive and memorable.

6. Pay attention to the face:

The first reason we ever forget anything is that we fail to pay attention. The trick here is to encourage your eyes to do a Z-shaped movement across a person's face, encompassing both eyes, their nose and the two corners of their mouth. Look for a distinctive feature, and pay attention to that- it will be a landmark by which you'll come to recognise the person the next time round.

7. Use visual associations:

Recognising someone's name or face is most of the job of remembering who they are, but of course you have to link the two in your mind. If Francesca has an amusing nose, say to yourself 'Francesca, the girl with the amusing nose'.

8. Learn more about the person:  

When you first meet a person, you know nothing about them, so it can be difficult to find enough ideas to connect with their name and face to make those associations stick. So learn more about the person. By learning these extra details, the person will begin to occupy more space in your mind.

9. Test yourself:

Once you have learned a name, the best way to strengthen that memory is to make sure you actively recall it by reviewing and remembering it. So think back to the person you were introduced to ten minutes ago, and actively recall their name.


So, the next time you are beating yourself up for forgetting a name, don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal. Learning and using people’s names correctly is a skill you can master. Just like any other skill, it takes some time, some patience and a little effort. The results you get in deeper relationships with clients, colleagues and employees will be worth it.



Pjay is passionate about entrepreneurship and helping businesses grow. He is the recent winner of MR. Nepal Oceania and loves writing articles about Business Development, Marketing, and Productivity Hacks. 






How to Professionally Network at an Event

"The process of developing and activating your relationships to increase your business, enhance your knowledge, expand your sphere of influence or serve the community." - Ivan Misner Founder of BNI

Why do you need to Network? 

  • Continually connecting with quality people enables you to discover new opportunities that may not have been available before. 
  • Networking yields the highest return on your marketing budget.  
  • Relationships are still the key to both business and career success. 

Where can I find the best places to network?

The first critical action is you need to take before growing your networking journey to discover specifically who it is you would like to meet and where you can find them. This will help you pinpoint specifically the best places to network for you.

  • Ask Yourself: Describe the types of people you want to meet. 
  • Ask Yourself: Where can you find and connect with them? Examples include industry professional body events, Meetups and Conferences. 
  • Action: Find two meetups, conferences, or events to attend a week. 

Mission 1: Before an event

Preparing before an event is always the key to success.

  • Action: Leverage social media to learn about fellow attendees and build personal connections before the event. 
  • Action: Prepare a 30-second personal introduction which entails a bit about you and what you do. 
  • Action: Develope S.M.A.R.T objective for the event.
  • Action: Research industry news and trends to talk about during conversations at the event. 

Mission 2: At the event

  • It's time to shine! So show up early, be happy, enthusiastic and positive. People love a winning attitude!
  • Stand near the entrance early and at the end of the event, this way it allows you to meet as many people as possible.
  • Get familiar with people in the room. Target the key people you would like to meet.
  • Eat early, It’s hard to eat and mingle.
  • Stay until the end: You will make more contacts the longer you stay.

Mission 3: During Interaction

  • Establish connections and set appointments with people you can create a win-win situation. 
  • Establish common interest ground by discovering what they do for work or personal interest such what they do outside work.
  • Say the name of the person during the conversation. It will help you remember their name.
  • Write info about the person immediately on their business card or your phone.
  • In an event, it's best to split your interaction time between people you don’t know for 75% of your time and 25% of your time for people you know. While interacting with people, make sure they fit the people that you want to interact with. It’s important not to waste time.

Mission 4: After the event

  • Keep in touch with your contacts.


Networking is a still the most underestimated tool you can use for your career and business. It's a simple tool that yields powerful results if executed effectively. 



Pjay is passionate about entrepreneurship and helping businesses grow. He is the recent winner of MR. Nepal Oceania and loves writing articles about Business Development, Marketing, and Productivity Hacks. 






Pjay Shrestha