In part one in this series on how to remember names, I introduced you to five easy tricks to get you started. By using just one of the techniques, you should have seen a marked increase in the amount of names you can recall.
Today I’m going to show you the single trick that super glues a name to your memory.
If you really want to get serious about remembering names, you need to turn them into images and associate them with vivid actions.
Certain names like Paige (page of a book), Rose
(the flower) and Frank (hot dog) immediately remind us of particular images. Most names do not, so here’s where we have to get a little creative.
Let’s look at an example:
You meet Jane. We’re going to use the image of a “chain” to
represent her name. We’re looking for an easy, sounds-like
image–so it doesn’t have to be a perfect match. The image serves
as a reminder, and then your brain recalls the true name on its own.
To make this name stick we need to visualize an active and vivid
image. Picture Jane wrapped up in a giant silver chain. She really
wants to shake your hand, but her arms are wrapped up too. So she pushes and pushes and finally busts open the chain. Huge pieces fly everywhere and you duck to keep from getting hit.
Recall this image each time you see Jane, and you will easily
remember her name.
Here’s another example:
You’re introduced to Craig Mitchell. Start by using the word
“crate” for Craig. Now, we remember things more accurately when they are vivid and moving, so picture a huge wooden crate slamming Craig
in the head.
For his last name, Mitchell, use a baseball mitt catching a shell
(mitt-shell). If you picture Craig getting slammed in the head
with a huge wooden crate, then raising his baseball mitt to catch a
shell roaring out of the sky, you will always recall Craig
Remember to really see this image in your head. What kind of wood
was the crate made out of? What color was his baseball mitt? What
kind of shell was it? The more detailed your picture, the more
solid the memory will be.
Let’s try one more:
You meet a woman named, Renee Martinez. To me, Renee sounds like “runway.” Remember, you don’t need a perfect match–just something that sounds similar. I’m going to use “martini” for Martinez.
Now, picture Renee walking down the runway in a fashion show. She’s wearing a red, flowing dress and just looks great. All of the
sudden, a man from the audience runs up and throws a giant martini on her. It was a dirty martini with olives in it, and it has stained her beautiful red dress.
At first, it may seem like a lot of work to use this technique, but it gets easier as you practice. Don’t worry about your mental image being too involved. We process information so quickly that when you next see Renee, your brain will automatically recall the image and you will easily remember her name. With practice, you’ll be able to easily recall groups of people.
The best way to be successful with this method is to pre-load your name images ahead of time.
First, get a name book, search the web, or just think of 10 common names starting with each letter of the alphabet.
Next, write them in a notebook and form an image for each one. Last names work the same way–write down the 10 most common last names beginning with each letter of the alphabet and form images for them.
This way you have images for first and last names pre-set in your memory. (This is what the top name experts and magicians do to master the technique.)
This technique takes time to master, but is well worth the effort. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you in the comments below.