The Ultimate Trick To Remembering Names


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
Mitchell’s name.

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.

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.

Erin Matlock About the author, Erin Matlock
Erin Matlock is and advocate, speaker and advisor working in the brain health and mental health markets. Catch up with her at

12 Comments On This Post

  1. fantastic exercise I can’t wait to try. anyone have a list to start with or dare I say I will be the first to post what I come up with?… Great exercise can’t wait to do it…

  2. Does anyone know of a resource where there are a list of objects to link to common names. That way you know them as you meet someone instead of trying to come up with an image with the time you could be using to create the memorable connection.

  3. […] Part 2 has now been posted. The Ultimate Trick To Remembering Names. Photo Source   Share This With Your […]

  4. Interesting and constructive idea…This method not only help for names but also for helps to remember English Vocabulary for the people whose mother tongue is not English(like me)…Thanks for sharing….
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  5. Lol, nice imagery. Seriously I am probably the worst when it comes to remembering names. Ill have to give your technique a try.

  6. Thanks, that must have taken a loads of work to put that together. This is a great summary.

  7. That is too funny Erin. You must really dislike that Craig guy to envision head head being crushed every time you think of him.

    Seriously though, I think that using images to remember things makes a big difference. When I was in college, I worked in a kitchen that was a mess. I began using images to help the dishwashers remember where to put things. (i.e. I drew a square where the square lids went and so forth). My little scheme ended up working out great in the long run as the kitchen really cleaned up after a couple of months.

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  8. Richien – yeah, your brain needs something to attach the name to so it will recall it properly. Images are extremely easy for us to recall so attaching the name really cements it in your memory.

    Jordan – Me too! I have to focus during introductions because if I don’t repeat the name to myself and then form an immediate association – it’s usually gone. I still find myself distracted at times, so it’s something I’m constantly working on.

    Carolin – Hey! Thank you. It’s a great technique, and it works for me – as well as the big “name experts” out there. It’s so worth learning if you’re truly serious about remembering people’s names.

  9. Wow, I love how well you explained that!
    I’m gonna have to practice a lot.

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  10. I always have such a problem remembering people’s names unless I find something to associate their name with.

  11. Your examples were very informative. I have heard that you should associate images with the names, but I never heard it explained so well. Thanks


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