Brain Hack: How to Remember Names


Do you ever catch yourself at an important executive meeting and for the life of you can’t remember the person’s name sitting across from you? You try to wait and listen for cues or any indication of another individual calling that person’s name, but to no avail – it never comes up.

We’ve put together five digestible tips to avoid this situation and help you remember names.

  1. Repetition is key. Whenever possible, repeat the person’s name both in your mind as you’re sitting around the meeting table and in conversation. E.g. “Nice to meet you, Ann” Saying things out loud will allow your mind to focus on the information, but don’t overdo it.
  1. Make associations. Associate names with something interesting about the person whether it is where they work, a hobby, or a unique characteristic. E.g. “Mark owns a boat in the Caribbean.” How many people do you know with the same name? It is natural to use a point of reference to describe a person. E.g. “Kate, the one with the red hair”
  1. Create nicknames. Use something fun to tie in with the person’s name. E.g. “When you meet Luke, think of Luke Skywalker.” Nicknames also tie in the key tip of associating a name, with something familiar.
  1. Turn it into a rhyme. Rhyming names with words helps make it catchy and therefore is better for retaining names and successfully recalling them. E.g. “Ana Banana”
  1. Get a card/write it down. The best thing to do is to get the person’s business card or write it down if the situation is not awkward. The visual element of seeing the name will ingrain it in your memory. Write down specific notes after a conversation to make sure you remember.


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