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7 ways to remember names, even if you suck at it

It can be difficult to remember names, especially in a fast paced business or a crowded room, but even the most forgetful folks can nail it with these tips.


Pro tip: don’t forget anyone’s name. Ever.

When you’re in business, you meet a lot of people. Remembering their name means a lot when you see them again.

If you find it difficult to match up a name to an individual, you aren’t alone. It’s not a lost cause.

7 ways to remember anyone’s name

Here are some tips that will help you recollect the person’s name when you see them again. You’ll impress them and get their business, so it pays to take the time to remember someone.

  • Pay attention. Repeat their name back to them once they provide it. This helps you lock it into your brain. Make remembering their moniker a priority. Repeat the name silently to your self a couple of times.
  • Use their name when you address them. Before you part company, Make sure you have their name right. Tell them that you’re bad with names, but you’re trying to be better.
  • Build associations. Ask a question about a hobby or interest that you can put together with their name.
  • Use mnemonic devices and word play. Link the person to someone famous or something that rhymes with their name. For example: Cindy sings.
  • Get the person to spell it out. You may not need someone to spell out Jeff or Mark, but with unique names that could be mispronounced, this breaks the ice.
  • Help people remember your name. Come up with a word play association for your name. Make it fun. I always tell people “my name is Dawn, like in morning, not Donald.” With my accent, sometimes people spell it D-O-N.
  • Introduce someone else to them if you forget. Opening up the conversation to a third party often takes the heat off you when you just can’t remember. Generally, the person will bring their name into the conversation to avoid any mispronunciation or error.
  • If all else fails, apologize and ask them again. Just tell the truth. “I’m sorry. I’m not good with names, but I’m trying to be better. Could you please give me another chance?”

At your next networking event, or just meeting a new client, remember these tips to help you recall anyone’s name, even if you are normally forgetful in this department.


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Dawn Brotherton is a Sr. Staff Writer at The American Genius with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is an experienced business writer with over 10 years of experience in SEO and content creation. Since 2017, she has earned $60K+ in grant writing for a local community center, which assists disadvantaged adults in the area.



  1. Laurie Hurley

    June 1, 2015 at 10:19 am

    All good tips. Fortunately, when I network, most people are wearing a name badge so I can see their name as well as say it. But, your last pointer is a good one. If you forget, just ask!

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(OPINION/EDITORIAL) It's the little things that count: up your networking game with some tips on remembering names.

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