Updated: Dec 30, 2020
Hello, everyone! And I do mean everyone…After all, does anyone out there not have difficulty remembering people’s names? I’m definitely not exempt from this difficulty, as I often have to use strategies to help remember people’s names. With that being said, difficulty with remembering names alone doesn’t mean that there is anything ‘wrong with you’. We only have so much cognitive space to work with and we have a lot of demands on our attention and memory, so I think we can forgive ourselves if we forget someone’s name every once in a while. Now, if you are experiencing other difficulties with memory, attention, or thinking on a more frequent basis, you may want to seek more formal services relative to cognitive evaluation and therapy.
So without further delay, here are some strategies to help remember those pesky names:
Request Repetition: Ask to hear it again, especially if it’s a loud environment. Repetition is an excellent way to get a name into memory.
Repeat the Name: Use the person’s name naturally in conversation. Say it at the beginning and the end of the initial conversation, and say it in further conversations when natural to solidify the retention of the name.
Write it Down: You can write the name down in a journal noting even where you met him/her.
Verify Spelling and Pronunciation: Ask to determine if you’re saying the person’s name correctly and validate the assumed spelling of the name. This is a relatively natural method to get additional repetition of the name as well.
Look at Them: Make eye contact and observe their physical characteristics (looking for cues/links to their name).
Make an Association: Think of similarities/differences between a new person and someone you know of the same name. Associate the person’s name with a thing or a place (picture it).
Listen to the way he/she says his/her name and how it sounds.
I hope these strategies help and if you found this blog beneficial, you can grab a free handout with these strategies on it by clicking here. And remember, don't be too hard on yourself if you forget someone's name.