How to Remember People’s Names

Have you ever been introduced to someone, only to forget their name before the conversation is over?  Our names are important to us; when someone remembers your name, it shows that you matter to them.  When you start your relationships with this type of impression, it becomes much easier to make meaningful connections.  Here are some tips to help you remember people’s names:

Make an effort.  Just by making a commitment to remember people’s names, you already get a little better at it.  You will find that you really listen when people introduce themselves, and that you’ll automatically focus on committing their names to memory.       

Get their name right.  If you are going to remember their name, it’s important that you get it right from the beginning.  Don’t be afraid to ask people to repeat their name if you didn’t hear it the first time. It is better to ask now, than to call them by the wrong name later.

Repeat their name.  As you repeat their name, you will become more comfortable saying it, and it will be easier for you to remember.  Repeat it once or twice in the conversation (but don’t overdo it), and then repeat it quietly to yourself after. 

Make an association.  Here are some tips from Think Simple Now to help you remember names by using associations:

Exaggerate the sounds. Prolong the syllables. Ie. “Teeeeeeeee-Naaaaa!” The funnier it sounds, the easier it will be to remember.

‘Chunking‘ – Break the name into several distinguishable parts.  Associate parts of the name with words that you’re already familiar with and can easily pronounce. Ie. “Ramesh” = Mesh, Mash 

Create a story – Especially great for foreign, long or unusual names. Make the story highly visual, it is especially great if the story sounds silly and makes you laugh.  For example, “Bengodi” -> Ben Afflect is going to become a deejay.”


Make an extra effort to remember unconventional or foreign-sounding names.  People with uncommon or hard-to-pronounce names are used to their name being forgotten or mispronounced.  If you correctly remember their name, they will appreciate it.  The best approach is to ask them to repeat their name to make sure that you have the correct pronunciation.  Most people will be happy that you are making an effort.  “Focus on making up a phonetic spelling that’s easy to remember. For a name like Chakravarty, you could think to yourself, “CHALK – RAHHH – VAR – TY, rhymes with party”   When you use their name again, double check that your pronunciation is correct.


Many of us are so focused on our own lives, that we barely see the people around us.  We miss opportunities everyday, by living in our own cocoon.  Try to break out of that mindset.  Give the people that you meet your full attention.  You can start this change today by making an effort to remember people’s names.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)

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