You'll have an easier time making small talk with new people if you remember their name when you meet them. Not only will this help you build rapport faster, but you'll also come off as someone more interested in getting to know him or her. This, in and of itself, helps in making friends. After all, who doesn't feel flattered when a new person is interested in them? Some people have a very easy time remembering names while others struggle. If you fall into the latter group, here are a few tips that can help.
Repeat Their Name When Introduced
Don't be obnoxious about it, but repeat the name of the person back to them when they first introduce themselves. It's a good idea to comment on their name in some positive way, which can help you remember it. For example, you meet someone at a party and she says, "Hi. I'm Julie." In your own mind, say the name back to yourself several times: Julie, Julie, Julie. Then comment on it out loud. "Julie. What a beautiful name. I have a cousin named Julie."
Do this step before you give your name or continue to make conversation. This way you are focused on Julie's name and concentrating on remembering it. If you don't catch someone's name in the beginning, feel free to ask them to repeat themselves. It's better to do this than simply go through the evening wondering what their name was! This is especially helpful with foreign names, or those that are unusual.
One thing to be cautious of, however, is using their name too much in the very beginning. Say their name silently to yourself if you wish, but don't repeat it too many times out loud.
For example, this would be an unacceptable way to use their name.
- Them: "Hi. I'm Julie."
- You: "Julie, Julie, Julie. I have a neighbor named Julie. What do you do for a living, Julie."
Assign a Visual to Their Name
As soon as you meet someone, picture a visual object that could help you remember their name. For example, say you meet someone named "Patty" and you instantly picture Peppermint Patty from the Peanuts. Visualize her with Peppermint Petty's clothes or her voice, and you'll have an easier time remembering her name the next time you see her.
Choose visuals that you know well and remind you of the individual you are meeting. If you meet someone named "Carrie," for example, you could think of "carrot." Picture her wearing all orange, or even chomping on a carrot. That way you'll remember "carrot, Carrie" a little bit better than if you didn't assign a visual to her name.
Words That Rhyme With a Name
Another good strategy is to think of something that rhymes with the person's name. Once at a party I met a man named "Bruce" and immediately thought of "truce." I even pictured him at a table signing a treaty. It may sound silly, but it's tricks like these that can help you remember someone's name.
When you picture something along with their name, it adds depth to a name and allows you to recall it later when you need it. This is especially helpful when you are in a room with several new people, or when you are tired and not on your "A" game when it comes to meeting new people.
Write Out Their Name
When you get home from meeting a few new people, write down their names somewhere. Do it by hand and not typed on the computer. This will further help you with recall later on as you are using a different part of your brain. If you received a business card when you met someone new, write the name on the back of the card. (Even though it is already printed on the front.) Spelling out the name in your own hand will allow it to stay in your memory a bit longer than if you spoke it aloud only.
Practice Remembering Names
Like anything, memorizing names takes practice. The more you get out and make small talk, the better you'll be at using a new person's name in a natural manner. Don't get discouraged or use negative self-talk with yourself by saying something like, "I'm just bad with names." Tell yourself instead "I will be great at remembering names" before you enter a party, and you'll probably remember more names than if you had already convinced yourself that you would fail. Think positively with name recognition and know that as time goes on it gets a lot easier.