1. Remind yourself before the meeting, call or engagement you will be hearing new names. This gets you into what we have come to call ‘name mode’ where you are actively listening for names and ready to file them ready for recall. Set yourself a goal of collecting new names today and seek them out.
  2. If you get to speak first: Introduce yourself and (if it’s appropriate in the context of the conversation) ask their name. You know it’s coming so you can give it all your attention.
  3. If you speak second: Repeat their name back to them as you introduce yourself. ‘Hi Sam, my name is Chris…’
  4. Use their name early on: ‘So Sam we have been looking into this and found…’
  5. Whilst they are talking look at them and repeat their name in your head. Do this several times. Try spelling it out in your mind as well. (Don’t say their name aloud though as it would definitely look a bit weird…)
  6. Associate them with someone famous or fictitious that has the same name. So for Sam it might be Fireman Sam or Sam Smith and picture them with the person in front of you taking a selfie.
  7. Use imagery to lock their name in your memory. Pick something about them that stands out and Is unlikely to change (facial features are better than jewellery, clothes or hairstyle these are likely to change from day to day) then imagine something connected to it that will remind you of their name. So if you thought of Fireman Sam you could imagine a fireman’s ladder ascending the gentle slope of their unique nose. The ruder and funnier the image you make the easier it is to remember. They’ll never know. Unless you laugh that is…


  • Don’t use their name more than two or three times - it just sounds fake
  • Try using their name at the end of a sentence rather than the start. The surprise coupled with the delight of hearing their name is very impactful. ‘So we talked to several departments and the one thing they all said Sam is…
  • If you do forget try saying something along the lines of  ‘in all the rush / after all that i realise I’ve forgotten your name I’m so sorry… and offer your name back to them as they will most likely have forgotten too.