How to remember someone’s name

Why remembering a name is important?

Remembering names helps you create a comfort level and a more familiar relationship when meeting with people for the first few times. Names are important to new relationships, as a person’s name connects to their identity and their individuality.

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You know the face, why not the name?

When you meet new people, you may be more focused on impressing that person about your skill and expertise rather than knowing more about them. You introduce yourselves and shake hands. But when you pass the person again at the same event, you fail to recall the name.

Ensuring name recall needs to be done consciously rather than relying on past abilities. This task is a function of your working memory, which is the ability to process and recall information within 30 to 60 seconds. Because names don’t have separate cues attached to them, they are often stored in your brain’s short-term memory which is part of our working memory.

When you can remember someone’s name, it shows them that they are important to you.


Chester Santos

A common name is forgettable because it doesn’t strike your mind. Also, you know multiple people with the same name. On the other hand, a rare name is easy to recognize but harder to recall. And any name, common or not, has to fight for space in your brain.

Names are very important But are hard to remember. Names are arbitrary information and the human brain is notoriously terrible at remembering arbitrary information. This is true for remembering historical dates,  telephone numbers, or someone’s name.

A major reason you don’t recall names is you weren’t listening. Someone says their name and two seconds later you don’t know it. This is not a memory problem. It is a focus problem.


Ron White

You’re at a party and you see someone walking toward you. You know you’ve met him before but cannot recall.

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How can you improve remembering names?

  1. Motivation is the force that drives memory. If you’re in business then you’ve to remember clients’ names. If you’re in a job then you’ve to remember some senior names, subordinates. But if you forget their names then they will think that this person doesn’t remember my name. Then how he/she can do my work well. Your relationship with the other person will only be good. If you remember their name so for having a better relationship you have to remember people’s names. So be genuinely interested in a person.
  2. Focus your mind to remember names. While remembering the name of the person you met, you need to avoid distractions. You also have to understand that remembering the name alone is also not the end in itself, you need to plan to make how to take the relationship forward. Since you want to keep only those names on your mind who matter to you in long run.  
  3. Repeat the name of the person you just met. When someone is telling you their name then you should repeat their name during the conversation so you’ll remember it easily. Try to mention the name in the conversation as much as possible. Use the person’s name immediately after they give it to you, you want to use it so once they give it to you. Hi! my name is John say nice to meet you, Joe how was your day. You know that type of thing so you throw it back at them just to get accustomed to the name even if it’s a complex or confusing name throw it out there. Try even if you’re going to mispronounce it. They’ll correct you put it out there. While ending the conversation you should repeat their name, for example, Nice to meet you, Mary. Another way to repeat a person’s name is to mention how that person reminds you of someone else you know. Practice brings perfection. When introduced during the conversation, comment on how that person reminds you of someone you know with that name.
  4. Don’t have another conversation in your head. A lot of people don’t remember people’s names because they are actually more interested in what they are going to respond with than they are in actually listening to the person. Staying present in the conversation means that you are observing what is going on around you. You may blame your forgetfulness on your retention. It has nothing to do with their retention. It has to do with you paying attention and being present. 
  5. Focus on features of a new person’s face. Pick out a facial feature that may be easy to remember like a big nose, large ears, unusual hairdo, or deep dimples. Connecting a name to a visual trait helps anchor the name in your memory.

Conclusion. You have to interact with many new people, so you need to master the at remembering names. By following the above tips, focusing on learning it, and applying them practically you can easily remember names.

By John Gurung

A former software developer who is now a blogging enthusiast. A true digital nomad.

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