How to remember people’s names?

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Remebering people’s names… why does it matter?

When dating, meeting new people or making new friends, one of the simplest things you can do to stay memorable or make a good impression on a person, is to remember their name.

A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language” (Dale Carnegie).

Now, you may be telling yourself: “Ugh. Forget it. I just can’t remember people’s names”.

Ok, fine. But what are you going to do about it?

Because the truth is, that kind of attitude transpires in everything you do. The “I’m not the kind of person to do this or that, so that’s all there is to it” type of attitude. It shows that you have a fixed mindset where progress is not possible. And the person who suffers the most from it is you.

Unless, of course, you absolutely do not give a f**k about remembering people’s names… in which case, I wonder what are you doing reading a post on how to remember people’s names? ????

If, however, you wish to do something about it become better at remembering other people’s names… then yes, there are things you can do to help you do just that.

It’s pretty easy to remember people’s names. Take it from someone who could not remember a single name for most of my life.

Now I manage to remember people’s names 95% of the time, even random people that I met months ago. All it takes is to pay a little attention to the person when they say their name, repeat it a few times, out loud and in your head, and then write it down somewhere later.

So, how do you remember people’s names?

Remembering people’s names in social gatherings or other random events

How can you make ensure you remember someone’s name when you meet them at a social gathering or any other random circumstances? (Like in a park, for example).

Step 1: When the person states their name, repeat it automatically


  • Hello, I’m Francesca!
  • Hi Francesca, my name is Dora. Nice to meet you.
  • Nice to meet you too, Dora. Blah blah blah…

Step 2. Repeat their name again at some point during the conversation

This technique works best if you allow a few minutes to pass after the first introduction.


  • Do you come here often?
  • Yes… um, Dora, right? As a matter of fact, I do come here often. I live nearby and come here to read or just relax.

Don’t repeat the person’s name in the sentence right after the person said their name. It could sound a little bit awkward, although, to be honest, I did it a few times, and it was fine.

But if you expect the conversation to be a very short one, then go straight to step 3.

Step 3. Say their name one last time

After you’ve talked a while and you guys are about to part ways, repeat that person’s name one last time.


  • Okay, I must go. It was nice to meet you.
  • Thanks, Dora, it was really nice to meet you too.

Step 4. Write down that person’s name on a post-it or on your phone

Now, the next step for remembering someone’s name is to write it down right after the encounter. Preferably on your phone, as you are less likely to you carry post-its in your bag when you are out and about.

The key is to write down their name as soon as you part ways so that you don’t give yourself a chance to forget that person’s name.

Step 5. Repeat that person’s name in your head 2 or 3 times, following your interaction

As you continue walking, take a minute to reflect on that encounter you just had and repeat the person’s name in your head 2 or 3 times.

Doing this allows you to “cement” the encounter in your memory, and by repeating the person’s name you become much more likely to remember it later.

Step 6. See if you remember their name

The next time your encounter with that person comes to mind (2 hours later, or 2 days later), treat it like a “test” and see if you can remember that person’s name.

If yes, congratulations! Mission accomplished.

If no, then look for their name on your phone (step. 4), and a) repeat the steps above; and/or b) keep trying with the next person you meet, until you become better at remembering names.

Learning to pay attention and remember people’s names is like training a muscle: it’s based on your ability to improve; it’s not a magic formula.

All of this may sound like a lot, but really, steps 1 to 6 take all but 60 seconds to accomplish.

How do you remember people's names
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If the person has a “complicated” name

Okay so if the person you just met has a complicated name, How do you manage to remember that person’s name?

FYI, you would still use all the techniques previously mentionned, plus what follows.

First, if you didn’t hear their name correctly the first time, ask them RIGHT AWAY to repeat it

The first mistake people make when meeting someone with a “weird” sounding name is that they pretend to have understood it, and then just avoid saying the person’s name altogether.

Then, later, it simply becomes too late to ever know that person’s name.

I mean, it can be pretty awkward to say to someone: “Hey. So, we’ve been talking for the past 6 months but I still don’t know your name… What’s your name again?”.  

If you can’t say their name without mistakes, then ask them to repeat it.

Secondly, you are definitely allowed to ask someone to repeat their name a third time or ask them to spell it

Yes, it’s okay to ask someone to repeat their name more than once, or even, God forbid, ask them to spell it!

The key is in your attitude.

If you snort derisively when you hear their names and then ask them to repeat it in a tone that suggests they are a funny alien visiting your planet, then you are being rude.

But you don’t have to do it like that. Just keep a blank facial expression, or better yet, smile kindly and politely ask them to repeat their name because you want to get it right.

Or, lastly, you can just ask them to repeat it one more time, but more slowly

Here’s an example.

I once met a girl named Srivastana (pronounced Shrivastana).

Beautiful name, not at all that difficult to understand. But when she introduced herself, she said her name so fast I didn’t understand a thing.

I mean, I get it. She’s probably used to people mispronouncing her name all the time, so I’m guessing she became sort of self-conscious about it? And so now, she just says her name really fast as if to rush through the introductions and be done with it.

So, anyway, the interaction went something like this:

  • Hey, I’m Monica, what’s your name?
  • Srivastana (said suuuper fast).
  • Um, excuse me? I’m afraid I didn’t catch that.
  • Srivastana.
  • (Me, with a smile): I’m sorry, I just want to make sure I get your name right. Sri…?
  • vaaa – staaaa – naaa.
  • (Me, laughing): Oh okay! Hi, Srivastana. I apologize for making you repeat it so much, I just wanted to make sure I didn’t mispronounce your name.
  • Oh, it’s fine. You actually got it right, which most people don’t do.
  • Etc…

Remembering people’s names during an interview

During job interviews, you can easily be facing 2 to 4 people at once. Remembering all their names is an easy way for you to make a good impression on the interviewer(s).

But how do you go about remembering all 3 or 4 names when you are already stressed and already trying to remember all the things you had to prepare for that interview?

The answer is simple:

  1. Ask for the name(s) of your interviewer(s) ahead of the interview. This is a pretty standard thing to ask so don’t be shy, and shoot the HR person an email asking for that information as soon as you get the invitation to the interview, or a few days ahead of the interview (if it’s scheduled long in advance).
  2. Keep a notepad with you during the interview and take notes. Again, this is a completely normal thing to do during an interview. Of course, you shouldn’t bury your head in your notes; however, taking notes during an interview makes you look like you are more prepared and/or care more than the other candidates.
  3. If option 1 didn’t work (perhaps they didn’t have the names of your interviewers yet), then use the guidelines in section A: social gatherings and random events. At the beginning of the interview, you will introduce yourself and your interviewers will do the same. As soon as they state their names, write it down on your notepad, in the order that they are seated.

Key takeaway: pay attention

And lastly, you increase your chances of remembering a person’s name by simply being more present. This means, give them your full attention: don’t check your phone or keep letting yourself be distracted by what is happening around you while they are talking to you.

Simply focus on them.

In general, and especially in our attention-challenged modern society, offering someone your undivided attention is one of the most polite and respectful things you can do when having a conversation with them.

So, that’s how you remember people’s names. Or in any case, that’s how I remember people’s names now.

Honestly, it may sound like a big deal or an overly complicated thing, but it really is not.

Just remember: if you want to remember people’s names, simply pay a little attention to the person when they say their name, repeat it a few times out loud and in your head, and then write it down somewhere later.

That’s it!

Now, go and meet people!

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About Steph

I am a personal growth/self-management enthusiast. I was able to completely transform my life using everything I share here. I hope this blog helps you transform yours as well.
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