One of my favorite people in the Nordstrom’s Rail department and I have the hardest time remembering each other names. It’s bizarre. I remember him as Chris or Ryan (hint: one of these is correct), every time, and he remembers me as Nicole or Natalie (hint: one of these is correct). It’s like some crazy mental block so I decided to help us out with a few remembering names tips. After all what good is etiquette if it’s not helping you out in the real world?!

Remembering names is always touted as one of the marks of the social and business greats and one of the keys to getting ahead. It’s true. It’s impressive when someone remembers your name and Ryan (or was it Chris?) and I need some reminders.

Chances are in the course of meeting new friends, coworkers, your significant other’s extended family, parents in your little one’s classes and play groups, or interviewing for a job, you’ll probably have to remember names a time or two in the near future too.

Tips on how to do it after the jump.

 Houston Etiquette Speaker Natalie Weakly How to Remember NamesHow to Remember Names

Repeat It

Starting off simple with the easiest of the three! When first introducing yourself or meeting someone new, repeat their name back to them. You engage more of your senses and are more likely to remember.

Use It

It takes hearing things three times for our brains to really lock the data away in our memory vault. In meeting someone for the first time, you of course hear their name in the introduction so that takes care of one time. In the course of the conversation use their name again (second time) and finally use their name at the end of the conversation. Three times gives you the best chance of success. Because, as I mentioned earlier, after three times you are more likely to secure the information in your memory bank!  < See what I just did there? ;-)

Attach It

Give yourself a mnemonic device for the person. Whether it’s something their name rhymes with or a song you think of, or a distinguishing feature, attach that device to their name. Smiling Sara or Ryan works in the Rail department < what?! Problem solved. How did I not think of that one earlier?

Of course, if your device is something… off color… maybe keep the details to yourself. ;-)


And of course, if you forget someone’s name – ask! Better to ask, even sheepishly, than to fake it.

Are you good at remembering names? What are your tricks for remembering? I’d love to hear your tips and suggestions!