5 ways to remember names when networking

five tricks for remembering peoples names

Have you ever been introduced to someone and almost immediately forgotten their name? Stress! Not only is it embarrassing, it can potentially affect your future career – forgetting an important contact’s name at a networking event won’t get you very far. Don’t let this happen to you – check out our top five tips for remembering names:

Your memory isn’t that bad:

Lots of people tell themselves they’re really bad with names – don’t! If you go to a networking event convinced of this, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Instead, go in believing that there will be at least two people whose names you can and will remember. 

Slow down and pay attention: 

Meeting new people often takes place in a noisy, crowded room, which makes it that much harder to hear their names in the first place. Make the effort to pay close attention during introductions, repeating each person’s name as you smile and shake hands with them.

Show them you’re interested: 

Showing an interest can be as simple as asking a question about their name, like where it's from, or repeating the name slowly if it is difficult to pronounce and letting the person correct you until you get it right. Not only will you impress your new contact, you will be much more likely to remember their name. 

Use their name during the conversation: 

Research indicates that using someone’s name at least three times during the first conversation you have with them is key to remembering their name long-term. Saying it out loud helps to ‘set’ the name in your mind, and makes you look more personable.

Connect their name to a mental picture: 

If you can attach a mental picture to their name, it will be even easier to recall the next time you meet them. The picture can be literal – Bob Downe bobbing down for instance – or something more creative, where you break the name down into phonetic syllables and create images that allow your brain to remember the association. Here’s an example – you meet Jake Smith at a conference. Jake rhymes with snake, so in your mind you call him Jake the Snake. For Smith, you can play on the S in snake and in Smith, so Snake Smith is Jake Smith. Or, Smith can be short for blacksmith, so Jake the Snake changes horse shoes. It may sound weird (and it is) but the stranger the images are, the better you will remember them due to the novelty. You don’t need to tell anyone – it’s probably better if you don’t – they are merely a memory aid.

Forgetting names can be a thing of the past if you keep these tips in mind. Try them out at your next networking event and enjoy the benefits of making a great first impression!


CPA Career Mentor


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