How to Memorise Names

Many people will admit they struggle to remember names. The more we stress about trying to remember a name it seems the more likely we are to forget it.

Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People) places great emphasis on using names for establishing positive relationships.

Think about it. When someone forgets your name, you are very understanding. We all forget names, including you. So, you don’t take it personally.

However, think about the times when your name IS remembered. It definitely feels good, doesn’t it?

If you are still reading, then I suspect you would like to improve your ability to remember names.

Well, there are systems, as a simple Google search will reveal.

Ron White’s System

I like Ron White’s memory training system. He offers a free introduction pdf on remembering names. I will outline his idea here. If you want to learn more, you can follow the link at the end. Of course, he offers a paid course too. I haven’t enrolled so can’t endorse it and I am not an affiliate.

Here are the steps:

  1. You need to determine to remember the name. When we meet people we may often ask the name but already be thinking about what we will say next. (Me: Pick a card). Instead, our priority must be to tell ourselves we are now going to learn the name.
  2. Look at the face and pick out a prominent feature. We all have some feature that stands out: nose, lips, eyebrows. Don’t pick something that might easily change by the next time you meet them, such as lipstick colour or facial expression.
  3. In my previous article about memory I mentioned that visualisation is at the core of many memory systems. It is here, too. Ask their name and then think of an object it suggests. You then create an image connecting the object and the prominent feature. Ron White’s Pdf includes lists of hundreds of name/image suggestions to use if you need help. I like to employ my own because they will be more likely to spring to mind when I hear the name e.g. Pat is a COWPAT; Brian will be BRAINS; John will be a TOILET; Gary is a GARAGE; Sharon will be a ROSE OF SHARON; Joanna will be a PIANO; Joanne a WHITE VAN.
  4. Visualise a really strange combination of the object and the facial feature. Frank has a big nose which is now transformed into a FRANKFURTER. Gary has large cheeks, so I see them as GARAGE doors opening to admit a car; Patrick is bald and has a COWPAT on his head. Joanna has very white teeth which are now PIANO keys.
  5. Review your ideas as soon as you and at the end of each day for a while.

Want to Learn More?

Ron’s booklet includes 30 pictures and names to practise on. I studied them for about 15 minutes before going to sleep and was able to get 28 right the following morning.

You can practise the system when you are out and about. If you are on a bus or in a café, look around at people. Pick out a feature and apply an imaginary name. As so often in life, frequent short bursts of practice lead to rapid progress.

You can find out more about Ron’s system by clicking the link underneath his video tutorial here: Ron White Names System