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How to remember names

A simple guide to avoid embarrassment

How to remember names
11 October 2010

Are you a bit of a Trigger? Think certain people are called Dave? Well, more often than not, they're not.

So courtesy of Emyr Thomas, founder of concierge and lifestyle management types Bon Vivant, here's a handy guide to remembering people's names as and when you're told them. Essential for parties, obviously...

  • Repeat the person’s name when they tell it to you: “Hi Charlie, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” Then try and feature it a few times whilst you’re holding a conversation – “So, Charlie, what line of work are you in?”, “Have you done this before, Charlie?” Try not to go over the top though – there’s nothing more disconcerting than someone consistently reminding you of your name.
  • Make sure that you go into the conversation knowing the person’s name. If you don’t hear the name the first time it’s unlikely that it’ll come up again so just ask them if they wouldn’t mind repeating themselves and listen carefully the next time.
  • Associate the person’s name with a specific physical attribute. For example, if Ben is fat he’ll be ‘Big Ben’ or a Mary with a thick fringe will become ‘Hairy Mary’. However, try not to call them this nickname to their face – it could result in a very abrupt end to your relationship.
  • If your meeting takes place at a work do, when the person offers you a business card, tap the name and phone number into your Blackberry or iPhone with a few choice bits of information about them. For example, if they were introduced to you through a particular contact of yours or if they had done something of particular interest, take a note of it.
  • If you genuinely can’t remember someone’s name try and remember something about them. People are a lot more forgiving if you can recall your first encounter and haven’t just written off your introductory meeting altogether: “Hello I’m Emyr, we met at Toby’s birthday party last year. You were there with your new husband. I’m so sorry could you remind me of your name?”

Image: Rex Features