Why is it important to remember people’s names? Perhaps remembering a customer’s name is a valuable asset in your job, maybe you’re driven by a personal goal to sharpen your mental faculties, or maybe you just like to make people feel special by remembering and saying their name (people love hearing their name!).
Have you ever heard or thought to yourself, “I can remember faces, but I can’t remember names!” There is a reason for this, and more importantly, there is a solution.
The reason why it’s easier to remember a face as opposed to a name is because there is a dedicated part of the brain specifically responsible for visual recognition of faces. This area is called the Fusiform Face Area, which is located ½” in from the back top corner of your ears. The reason why we often struggle with remembering names is because the brain does not have a designated system responsible for connecting a face with a name.
Ron White, 2x USA Memory Champion who is able to remember over 200 names in 15 minutes says that focusis the most important tool in remembering someone’s name. His advice is to create the habit such that whenever you walk towards someone you don’t know, think to yourself “What is their name? I want to know their name.” This mental preparation helps focus and prime the brain to remember. He also suggests that you create a visual connection between their name and their face. Find something that stands out about their face; ears, hairline, anything that initially grabs your attention. Then come up with a visual image that represents their name. For example, if you meet a person named “Karen” and she has pointy ears, you could visualize and embed in your mind carrots as ears (to make the connection of the pointy ear shape.) It also helps to say their name after meeting them. “Hi Karen, it’s really nice to meet you.”
There is a trial and error process in establishing a system for remembering names. You must use the strategies and images that work best for you. If you stay persistent you will notice that you are much better at remembering names, no matter how bad you currently think your are!
As you progress towards your sharpest memory possible, always remember to ask yourself, What is the greatest opportunity for the improvement of my brain?