You have probably heard a similar statement that says, “The most beautiful word an individual can ever hear is his or her own name being called by another person.”
However, this poses a great threat to people who have trouble remembering names, especially those who are frequently attending important business meetings and gatherings. If someone approaches you and called you by your first name, wouldn’t it be embarrassing if you don’t reciprocate by saying his or her name back? And of course, it’s more humiliating to directly ask his or her name when that person expects you to know it.
The same thing stands true for remembering faces. Wouldn’t it bother you to have met successful entrepreneurs in a gathering, only to forget how they look like when you get home?
More often than not, the difficulty in remembering names and faces is caused by the fact that names and faces in themselves are uninteresting, and therefore do not pull in or hold attention as do other objects presented to the mind.
Here are effective strategies to help you remember names and faces easily:
- Instead of merely listening to the faint sound of a name, focus on hearing it clearly and concentrate on firmly implanting it on your memory.
- Repeatedly say the name many times over in your mind. If possible, use the name as often as possible. You can tell your friend now, and then your sister later: “I’ve just met Jonathan Nowitzki.” You can also make a comment about his name: “I have a former classmate named Mark Nowitzki who is very good in electronics. Do you know him?”
- After hearing the name, write it down several times. By doing this, you are acquiring the benefit of a double sense impression, adding eye impression to ear impression.
- When you hear the name of a person being spoken, look purposefully at the person bearing it. By doing this, you are connecting the name and the face together in your mind at the same time. The next time you forget the name, just recall the face and you might have a good chance of remembering it.
- Visualize the name as an object in your mind. See the name’s letters in your mind's eye, as an image or picture. Exaggerate it as much as you can. You can imagine the name “Nowitzki” in your mind as a big hairy object with 3 eyes and with spikes all over it. For a clearer image, visualize Mr. Nowitzki himself lifting the giant word “Nowitzi” over his head, like a weightlifter lifting a barbell. The more exaggerated or humorous, the better chances it will get stuck in your mind.
- Connect a new person with a well-remembered individual of the same name. Associate a new Mr. Coppenhagen with an old customer of the same name. When you see the new man, you would think of the old one, and the name would flash into your mind. You can even visualize the 2 Coppenhagens attached to each other like Siamese Twins, to trigger the thought that they have the same name.
- Reminisce the atmosphere or environment. Recalling what you felt or what you did, when you met a person, could trigger memories of how he or she was introduced to you, how he or she looked like, and other aspects regarding the person.
- Analyze the distinctive features of the person’s face. Notice what makes that individual stand out or different from the rest. You may notice the eyes, nose, ears, lips, hair, or other parts of the face. Such notice and recognition tend to induce an interest in the subject of features. It forces you to focus on the person’s face the first time you meet him or her. Right now, you know the importance of having interest to remember things. If you were introduced to a man who would pay you over $500 on your next meeting, you would be very inclined to memorize his name and to study his face carefully to recognize him, as opposed to a man who has nothing to give to you.
- Link a name with a visual object. Let’s say you just met Mr. Quinlan. To remember his name, you can visualize a land full of queens (Quinlan). Imagine the queens dressed in elegant dresses and wearing shiny crowns with big jewels. If Mr. Quinlan is interested in basketball and you want to remember that too, then imagine the queens wearing basketball uniforms over their elegant dresses, and shooting hoops. And if Mr. Quinlan is also a doctor, then visualize the queens in basket ball uniforms, having large stethoscopes around their necks, shooting hoops. You can even imagine the queens saying in a bugs bunny-like way, “Nyieh. What’s up doc?” The funnier, the better. Here’s another example, but this time with a longer name. Let’s say you’ve been introduced to Mary Bennetton. Now how do you remember “Bennetton?” You can divide it into “Bend-a-ton.” Imagine a large piece of metal with the words “1 ton” engraved at all its sides bending like a soft pillow. You can exaggerate it a little bit by making that piece of metal cry in agony as the bending is taking place. If Ms. Bennetton is a tennis player, you can imagine the bending piece of metal having tennis rackets stuck on top of its head.
- Visualize the faces of persons you have met during the day, in the evening. Try to develop the faculty of visualizing their features to practice your ability. Draw them in your mind and see them with your mind's eye, until you can visualize the features of very old friends. Then do the same with acquaintances, and so on, until you are able to visualize the features of every one you know. Then start to add to your list by recalling the features of strangers whom you meet. By a little practice of this kind you will develop a great interest in faces and your memory of them, and the power to recall them will increase rapidly.
- Make a study of names and faces. Start a collection, and you will have no trouble in developing a memory for them. A good idea would be to analyze photographs in detail, not as a whole. If you can incite adequate interest in names and faces, you will be more prone to remember them.