5 Strategies to Remember Someone’s Name

September 06, 2021


We’ve all been in a situation where someone has introduced themselves and our brains have automatically forgotten their name. As we age, the task of remembering an individual’s name may become trickier, but thankfully, there are techniques to combat that.

Moorings Park’s CogniFit Specialist, Kelli Russo, has provided five useful tips to help your brain remember a name. Remember, practice makes perfect.

Related Blog: At-Home Brain Exercises for Seniors

1. Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

This first trick is quite simple. After you are introduced to a new face, repeat their name back to them. For example, you may want to say “It is very nice to meet you, Jane,” and incorporate their name into your conversation. It may also be helpful to repeat the name several times to yourself while observing their face. Do they have any features that stand out to you, such as wearing glasses or a specific hairstyle that will help you recall their face and name. 

You can also write the name down, asking the person how they spell it. This not only shows that you have given them their full attention but have also taken an interest in remembering them.

2. Connect with the Name

For this trick, connect the name you want to remember to someone you already know. If the person’s name is John White, think to yourself to whom in your life can you connect this name. Do you have an uncle or son named John? Making a personal connection to a new name is undoubtedly helpful.

To take it a step further, look at the person’s features; is there a physical feature that could help remember part of their name? Such as wearing a white shirt or having light or white hair, in connection to the person’s last name. John with the white hair: John White.

3. Visualize the Name in Your Brain

This idea requires creativity. When first learning someone’s name, use your mind’s eye to visualize the name. For example, if the person’s name is Rose Martinez, this may trigger you to think of the flower rose and a martini.

Russo admits, the funnier you make the comparison, the more likely you are to remember their name.

4. Create a Story with the Name

Think back to grade school when you would entertainingly string a list of words together to create a story. Do the same thing with a name.

Did Alley Applegate run through an alley with an apple in her hand where she had to climb over a gate? The sillier the story, the better.

5. Practice the AM Principal

Overall, the key is to practice the AM Principle: Attention and Meaning. If something or someone is important to you that you want to remember, give it enough attention, thought and meaning. You will be more likely to store it in your memory and recall it when you need it the most.

Remember, forgetting a name is completely normal and happens to everyone. The main way to remember a name, or anything you would like to remember, is to put focus and effort into it. You’re not going to be able to recall something that doesn’t have any importance to you.

Moorings Park Communities’ CogniFit Specialist, Kelli Russo, has an abundance of techniques to help strengthen your cognitive muscle for all levels. Check out the books she has recommended to help strengthen the brain here.

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