Memorising Names

Memorising names is a very important aspect of a good memory, and this section is all about memory improvement tips to make memorising names easier. It’s certainly one of the most impressive skills. How can you fail to be impressed when you meet someone you haven’t seen for years and they remember your name immediately? It doesn’t just indicate that they have a superior memory, it tells you that they’ve regarded you as important enough to notice and remember, and let’s face it, it’s hard not to find that flattering.

And haven’t you, like most people, found yourself in the cringingly awkward position of meeting someone you know, only to be at a complete loss when it comes to putting a name to their face? Very embarrassing

Memory improvement tips for memorising names

joke about memorising namesPersonally, I have a big problem with memorising names. It took me a long time to get round to writing a page on the subject, specifically because of it. I almost felt like a fraud planning this page, more than any other, because my own situation regarding names is so strange, and seemingly hopeless.

As I’ve explained elsewhere (the home page), I have a particular problem with memorising names, and nothing I do seems to have much of an effect on improving the situation. Still, I try, and the memory improvement tips and specific memory techniques I outline here have proved useful for countless people, even if not always for myself.

Why is remembering names such a problem?

First off, why is memorising names so difficult? Well, the fact is, for many people, it isn’t. Actually, in my own case, I used to have a pretty good memory for names (and probably better than pretty good, to be perfectly honest), but all that’s changed. I have a condition that’s somehow messed with the part of my brain that was kept busy storing and retrieving names.

It’s like all the little folk that work there have gone on an extended vacation, or maybe even taken early retirement. The place is more or less deserted, as far as I can tell. The lights are on, I suppose you could say, but nobody’s home! Actually, I’m not sure they’ve even left the lights on 🙂

chaotic office party - like having trouble memorising names

Boy … that really was some office party! What a mess!!

Y’know, I sometimes get the feeling they enjoyed their leaving party just a little too much and things got a little out of hand. You know the way these things happen … a bit too much to drink and everything starts to fall apart. Ransacked filing cabinets, photocopier badly misused, papers strewn all over the place, the whole place virtually wrecked. And now they’ve gone, there’s no-one left to clear up the mess!

Having said that, it’s a very specific thing (maybe they just wrecked one particular office?). My memory is affected in various ways, as is my ability to keep my attention focussed on a problem and solve it. I don’t have nearly the same level of ability I used to have, but that’s okay, it just means things take a bit longer for the pieces to fall into place, and usually I get there in the end. I suppose I should be thankful they didn’t wreck the whole building!

Is it a long term memory problem?

As for my problem with names, it comes and goes, and sometimes it’s worse than others, and I’ve realised it’s not quite as general as I thought. Names of characters in TV programmes and films don’t seem to be affected, or at least not nearly to the same extent as actual individuals I know. I can see an actor on TV that I haven’t seen for twenty five years or more and recognise him or her immediately, with the name intact (and maybe that indicates that my long term memory is less affected, I don’t know).

Yet I can open my front door and see a neighbour and be completely mystified as to his or her name. Now, that’s very frustrating! Just as it’s impressive when someone remembers your name, it’s somehow far less than impressive when they don’t, specially if they only live a few doors away! Very unimpressive for the neighbour, I’m sure, and certainly very embarrassing for me.

Getting back to the problem … why is memorising names so difficult? Well, I’m not sure it is, actually. Admittedly, it would be easier if we were all assigned bar codes and carried bar code scanners, but I guess that’s not a very practical solution 🙁

Since we’re stuck with the status quo, we’ve just got to learn to deal with it. And I think this is one of those situations where attention plays a huge part. If you place a great deal of importance on a person’s name, and you take the time to make a note of it, then it’s certainly possible to develop a good memory for names, I’m sure.

barcode for people? Saves memorising namesI only hope that by the time I’ve finished writing this section I’ll have reviewed and revised my knowledge of the important memory improvement techniques needed to memorise names successfully. Hopefully, I’ll have made a start on revitalising my name-remembering skills, and, in the process, given my brain a much-needed boost.

List of memory improvement tips to help remember names

The following page lists a number of memory improvement tips that have proved useful in memorising names. Creating mental images is, of course, vital, and of primary importance, and luckily a whole host of names have images virtually ‘built in’.

But there are other things, such as adding importance to certain physical characteristics of the person, and making up little rhymes or funny connections, not to mention the simple acts of repeating the name and writing it down. If you put into practice some of these memory improvement techniques you should see a marked improvement in your ability to memorise names.


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