The 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, once said “Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” Depending on your focus and ability to memorize new material, this may be easier said than done.
Remembering names can be tricky when you are meeting new people, shaking hands, or even just a little distracted. But your ability to recall names is obviously crucial for business and social settings. Remembering someone’s name when you have only met them once makes the person feel special and makes you appear mentally sharp. While everyone has trouble recalling names from time to time, there are steps you can take to help retain the name and face of someone in any situation.
First, start by slowing down the introduction with a brief conversation. When the person tells you his or her name, make a point to concentrate and actually listen to the name. Repeat the person’s name slowly in your head several times and even intentionally add it to your initial sentences, such as “Great to meet you, James”.
Secondly, try to associate an image with the person when you first here the name. For example, you might use an image on the person’s shirt or tie, or an image of something or some place that reminds you of the person’s name such as an applicable landmark, animal, fruit, or flower.
Finally, try to use the person’s name a several times throughout your conversation to cement it into your memory. Because the recall of information is lost if it is not reviewed quickly, go over the name with yourself after the conversation is over.
When you follow these steps to remembering names, you will strengthen your memory abilities in many aspects. There are other steps you can take to strengthen your memory and your ability to recall names, such as practicing memory games with decks of cards, memorizing your friends’ phones numbers, or reviewing and quizzing yourself on historical facts. Also, consuming brain foods that are high in omega three fats, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and B Vitamins, such as green leafy vegetables, fish, nuts and seeds can boost your brain power over time.
While you may need to initially follow these steps consciously for remembering names and boosting your memory initially, soon you will recall names in social settings with ease, even under stressful conditions. This will give you confidence when meeting new people and express to others that the opportunity to meet them is important to you.