How to be “that guy” who remembers everyone by name

by Josh

Isn’t it incredibly flattering when we bump into someone we’ve just met very briefly and they remember our name? It makes us feel good and in a way, important. If you know how to win friends, you know that the favourite word of every person is their own name.

To me, remembering people’s names has become an immeasurably helpful tool in becoming more sociable and confident. It also gives me something to do at parties (why not try to get to know everyone by name?).
Anyway, my point is, being good at remembering names is not a very widespread skill and it can be learned.
“But I am so bad with names”
I have heard this sentence a lot recently. Of course most people are a lot better in remembering faces than names. Names are abstract and quite often not at all familiar, so you have a reason to be bad with names. Enough of that. Here’s one magical way how to do it
So first of all, we have to

If you are anything like me, you are generally a little bit nervous when introduced to new people and our brain is all over the place. As awesome as that new person might be, try not to get caught up in “what to say next”. Breathe, smile and stay in the moment (sweet little tool for all kinds of situations).
2. Link it to something your brain can (easily) remember
This can be done in a number of ways, but what works best for me is
trying to vividly visualize this new person with certain outstanding or (even better) weird traits that give my brain hints to the name.
You already know someone with the same name?
Imagine the new person with the same clothes, hairdo, face or whatever you like from that person you already know.

You dont know anyone with that name?
It works basically the same. Visualize something that shows the name in a picture.
I recently met a guy called Jonas and I pictured him in the mouth of a sperm whale; another guy called Macek I imagined full of mud since Macek sounds like the German word “matschig” which means muddy, Swetlana wears a hoodie and has very sweaty armpits
…you get the point.

3. The more exaggerated and odd you can make your picture, the easier you will remember the name.

4. Take a moment to brightly and vividly picture it in your minds eye. If you don’t do this, quite likely the picture will be gone very quickly.

There is no “right” way to do this. Try out what kinds of pictures work best for you. In German we call this a donkey bridge. A path that makes things very simple to remember. So what you basically do is to build a donkey bridge for every single name. This may sound like a lot of work, but it is actually very easy and a lot of fun too. Finally, if you end up trying to remember everyone’s names at party, you can run through the imagined pictures in your head a lot easier than you could through a list of names. Also, if you forget one, you can just run through the list and most likely the one missing link will come back very easily.

Now go out and have fun with it 🙂