By the
Mind Tools
Editorial Team

How to... Remember People's Names

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You can remember many names when you use the right memory technique.

Remembering people's names needs a slightly different approach from all the others explained so far in this section. The techniques used, though, are quite simple.

You'll find these tools helpful:

Using the Tools

1. Face association

Examine a person's face discreetly when you are introduced. Try to find an unusual feature, whether ears, hairline, forehead, eyebrows, eyes, nose, mouth, chin, complexion, etc.

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Create an association between that characteristic, the face, and the name in your mind. The association may be to link the person with someone else you know with the same name. Alternatively it may be to associate a rhyme or image of the name with the person's face or defining feature.

2. Repetition

When you are introduced, ask for the person to repeat their name. Use the name yourself as often as possible (without overdoing it!). If it is unusual, ask how it is spelled or where it is comes from, and if appropriate, exchange cards. Keep in mind that the more often you hear and see the name, the more likely it is to sink in.

Also, after you have left that person's company, review the name in your mind several times. If you are particularly keen you might decide to write it down and make notes.


The methods suggested for remembering names are fairly simple and obvious, but are useful. Association either with images of a name or with other people can really help. Repetition and review help to confirm your memory.

An important thing to stress is practice, patience, and progressive improvement.

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