The Name Game

Now that it’s the holiday season and some of us are lucky enough to get invited to social events, it’s also a time to make a name faux pas.  Everyone struggles with remembering names.  When we first meet someone, we’re usually taking them in visually and emotionally.  When they say their name, it often just floats away into the ethers.  I’ll admit I’m not terribly good remembering names — in fact I’ve gone blank on introducing people I’ve known for many years to work associates or other friends we may chance to meet up with at a restaurant. It’s really a humiliating business — this loss of name memory. I often tell friends to introduce themselves first in case I run into anyone at the event that I should remember, but can’t.

That said, I was guided to do a little research on how to remember names and wish to share it so you don’t, like me, get caught in this awkward situation.


Use the person’s name in the context of the conversation a few times if you can.

If it’s a difficult name or one you haven’t heard before, ask the origin of the name such as “does it mean something in another language?  How do you spell it?”  Remember a person’s name – it’s the sweetest sound to their ears.

Or, how about this one?  Visualize or turn the person’s name into a picture.  As we know, a picture is worth a thousand words.  What you see, you remember.  When you meet someone for the first time, try to turn the name or even the physicality of the person into an image.  As an example, the person’s name is Mike.  You could see him singing Karaoke using a microphone.  Or, the name Carol – you could see her x-mas caroling.

Speak up, even though it’s embarrassing.  Don’t be afraid to ask someone to repeat their name.  You can start out with a compliment such as, “It’s been really interesting speaking with you, but I’ve completely forgotten your name.”

Apparently, according to research, we need to overcome the 6 second syndrome to keep ourselves untarnished in the name game.  In other words, we have six seconds to remember the name and then it is gone.

Good luck to all of us and have a most joyous Christmas Holiday.


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