How do I remember a name? I am not a name dropper and am hopelessly bad about remembering names and faces. Most of my friends and colleagues seem to be really good at putting names with faces. Is there a way to be socially more adept at remembering peoples’ names?
–Nameless, Washington, D.C.
1. Jobs: 69% 2. Hobbies: 68% 3. Home towns: 62% 4. First names: 31% 5. Last names: 30%At a recent even, another guest remembered that my husband was a writer with an interest in military history, but he called him Bob, which nobody ever calls him, instead of Rob. Nicknames are more easily remembered than given names, because they usually have an endearing meaning. A possible story behind the name, the person's features, or occupation can make learning and remembering easier than when the name is John Smith. Unless of course, if you register it in your brain as being a simple and easy name to remember. Or he looks like John Wayne, John Travolta, John Lennon, John Mayer, or John Fitzgerald Kennedy. We are more apt to recall that a person's occupation is a baker before we recall that his name is Josh Baker. Or, since she's an equestrian you don't forget that her last name is Ridder -- because she's a rider. Make a memorable association in your mind. You have to consciously learn a name. Always greet the person by his name. Don't worry about pronouncing it incorrectly; the person will correct you. You'll repeat it back, which will help you remember. You can always ask for a business card and read off the name on the card -- the polite thing to do for several reasons. Business cards do serve a purpose. How do you know you need to remember someone's name the first time you meet them? You don't. Unless you're the maitr'd of a renowned restaurant. But remember that studies of neuroimage scans don't lie, the brain reacts positively -- jumps with happiness -- when hearing it's name