Some people just seem to be experts at remembering people’s names, while for many of us, the name goes in one ear and out the other, and we cannot remember it just five minutes after being introduced. This may be partly due to the fact that people are more apt to remember things that are important to them, such as car makes and models for some, and forget things that are not so important, like the name of that unattractive person you were just introduced to.
People who remember names tend to do so because it’s important to them. They have grasped the concept that being able to remember names can get you further in life, in networking situations and especially if you are at all interested in sales. Most likely, however, they consciously or subconsciously use some form of mnemonic device or word association for remembering names.
Mnemonic devices are a sort of memory game using silly phrases to help us remember words, letters or acronyms. A classic mnemonic is used to teach music students the five notes of the treble clef, EGBDF. Everyone who has taken a music lesson knows the phrase, “every good boy does fine.”
Phrases to Words, and Words to Phrases
Mnemonics are helpful for remembering sequences of events, lists, medical terminology, and all sorts of things. Sometimes people will take a list of significant phrases and find a keyword to start each one off with so that when they put them in a certain order, the first letter of each keyword spells a word that they can remember.
There are many other memory games and word association tricks that you can use to help you remember important dates, numbers, names and so forth. The important thing is to take some time to concentrate on what it is that you wish to remember. Roll it around in your head. Think about words that rhyme, or significant memories that it triggers. Try to visualize it in your head.
People who are good at remembering names often do this unconsciously. Perhaps they might remember that someone’s name is Henry because he looks a bit like Uncle Henry. Or when they are introduced to someone named Margaret, lyrics to Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville” might pop into their head. As they gaze at Margaret and hear the song in their head, it becomes imprinted, so that the next time they meet the person, they hear the song and make the connection.
Sometimes just the time that you take to remember something that’s important is enough to tell your subconscious mind to store this fact in a place where it can be readily accessed when you need it.