How to Remember Someone's Name when you Meet them - Foolproof Tricks!

By Mary Smith. Updated: June 5, 2018
How to Remember Someone's Name when you Meet them - Foolproof Tricks!

It has happened to all of us that while talking to someone we've seen several times, even though it is not the first time we've met, we just can't remember their name. The worst scenario is in a work meeting when we should remember the name of a customer, supplier or colleague and although they have previously told us, we do not remember it. Having the ability to memorize names is important both personally and professionally, but are there tricks for this? The answer is yes, and at oneHOWTO we will explain how to remember someone's name when you meet them effectively.

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The first and most essential part of being able to remember someone's name when you meet them is knowing how to listen. Although it seems obvious, if you are talking to someone during a presentation or do not pay attention when the person says their name, storing the information in your brain will be impossible and therefore you won't be able to remember it without having to ask another person.

Whenever someone introduces themselves, listen to their name carefully, and if you do not hear it because of noise or some interference or because the name sounds complicated, then politely say 'sorry I did not hear you, could you repeat your name please?'

How to Remember Someone's Name when you Meet them - Foolproof Tricks! - Listen


Once you have it, repeat it to reaffirm the name in your brain. There is a way to make this simple and natural: when the person introduces themselves and says, for example, "Hi, I'm Charles", you should say "Hi Charles, nice to meet you."

That reaffirmation of the name of the person not only allows you to confirm that you have understood it, but also gives you the opportunity to repeat it again, helping you to memorize it.

The reason behind the name

Now what happens when it is a strange sounding name? This further complicates the ability to memorize it but also makes it more interesting. Suppose you meet a girl named Vishnu, a Hindu name of one of their gods. Maybe this name has nothing to do with you or your culture so you may not have ever heard it before, so it will be difficult to memorize.

To do this it is best to break the ice quickly, repeat the name as suggested in the previous step and then, if the opportunity allows, ask about the name's origin and listen to the story. This information will allow you to create associations that will later help you remember it. If possible, do this during the conversation, but always naturally, use the name a few times to try to memorize it better.

How to Remember Someone's Name when you Meet them - Foolproof Tricks! - The reason behind the name


Once you've followed all the steps above, it?s time to really memorize it so you can remember it whenever you see that person. In this case the most effective option is always creating associations between the name and another person or thing for your memory to store it forever.

The easiest way to do this is to identify the name with another person or character that has the same name. For example, every time I meet an Anthony, I think "he has my father's name" and it's impossible to forget it later. But, when I tell people my mother's name, Salomé, which is not a common name in English, I give them an easy way to remember it: "My mother's name is Salomé, like salami". Many people can remember this simple fact.

To remember someone's name when you meet them you can establish all kinds of associations that are as strange as you like, some of the most common are:

  • Relate the name to someone you already know, the easiest of all.
  • Associated the name with the star of a movie, a play, a musical, a singer or a famous actor. For example Julia = Julia Roberts/ Michael = Michael Fassbender/ Dan = Daniel Radcliffe, etc.
  • Match the name with a related concept, such as Paloma = doves, Rose = the flower of lovers, etc.
  • One of the best and most effective associations is rhyming because we can play with names that are strange to us and remember them. Never mind if the rhyme doesn?t make sense, it is important for remembering the name. For example Vishnu = Tutu / Aaron = Heron / Camila = Manila

Improve your memory

These are the best techniques to remember someone's name when you meet them effectively, if you use them from now on you'll never forget another name. We also have some other tips for you to get better with this technique in our article on the best foods that help improve memory.

Remember someone's name you forgot

However, if you feel you are in an uncomfortable situation and you have already forgotten the person's name before you had time to try out the tricks mentioned above, there are confortable ways of trying to remember someone's name you forgot:

  1. A great way is to ask the person for their number. Start typing the number and then ask the person if they can add the number yourself. You can use any excuse, from needing to go to the bathroom to quickly remind someone else about a very important subject. The person whose name you don't remember will add their name with their phone number.
  2. Ask for their Social Media accounts. Ask if you can follow them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. As people often don't use their whole real names, it is appropriate to ask what their online name is, which will either give you their full name, or at least a clue.
  3. Ask the person what their friends call him or her. Many people have nicknames or use the short version of their name. This way, you can know the person's name, or at least how they prefer to be called.
How to Remember Someone's Name when you Meet them - Foolproof Tricks! - Remember someone's name you forgot

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