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Remembering Names for Career and Personal Success

Practical tips to keep you from drawing a blank

by Miriam Salpeter-Keppie Careers  |  2058 views  |  2 comments  |        Rate this now! 

According to a recent career tip published online in The Wall Street Journal, one of the most valuable business skills is the ability to remember people’s names. "Name recall will boost your image, earn you respect and differentiate you," explains Nicholas Aretakis, author of No More Ramen: The 20-Something's Real World Survival Guide.

You’re not good with remembering names? All is not lost! Try these tips:

1.) Be sure to repeat the person’s name. “Nice to meet you, Sarah.” Try to say the name several times during your first introduction.

2.) Write the name down or secure a business card as a reminder.

3.) Did you meet two people together? Perhaps a couple? Link their names to try to remember them. I know a couple named Debra and Brett. Once I learned Debra’s name, I used the “B” sound to remind me of Brett’s.

4.) Use a mnemonic device. suggests: In order to remember that the name of a tall, thin man, that you have just been introduced to is Mr. Adamson, you might try visualising the biblical first man "Adam" (complete with fig leaf), holding a little boy in his arms. Adam's son -- Adamson.

5.) Think about how the person looks. For example, Short Shelly, Muscular Mike, or Dapper Dave.

6.) Witt Communications suggests that you create an exaggerated image, rhyme or connect a feeling based on the name to help you remember. Some examples are:

Imagine a ham that weighs a ton spinning on the end of Mrs. Hamilton’s nose.

Picture an old-fashioned car jack under Jack’s prominent jaw.

See margarine melting through Margaret’s curly, blond hair.

Dave needs a shave.

Latrice is Patty’s niece.

Michelle, ma belle. (The Beatle’s tune.)

Martin Peck is a pain in the neck.

Suzanne Patterson has sweaty palms.

Paul is pushy.

If you make an effort to commit a name to memory, you are much more likely to succeed! It will be worth the effort!

About the Author

Miriam Salpeter is a career coach and resume writer ( offering practical tips, encouragement and clarity about the job search. Visit her blog:

Read more by Miriam Salpeter-Keppie Careers

2 comments so far...

  • Diane - glad you stopped by! I agree with you!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Miriam Salpeter-Keppie Careers on 21st April 2008

  • Agreed that this is such an important skill. I definitely employ a few of these tactics and, when I really make the effort, I've been impressed with how many names I can actually recall. I find that writing someone's name down does work, at least for me. :)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Diane on 21st April 2008