Learn Names Quickly

Posted September 2, 2014 by Marie Arcidiacono in Networking Buzz
Learning people’s names is a skill and one that I have been fortunate enough to have picked up early in my lifetime. I definitely contribute my ability to quickly remember people’s names to being a member of a Greek organization and meeting a large number of girls during Rush Weeks. Sidebar: I wrote about the benefits of being in a Greek organization here: Greek Life Skills in the Workplace.

One of my campuses recently started up so I am in the process of learning ALL my students’ names. Yes, you read that right, ALL of them. By the end of the term, and realistically the end of next week, I will know each of their names and faces.

My students love when I know their name. In fact, more people love when you remember their name. Think about it, how good does it feel to be remembered by someone who you recently just met? Pretty amazing.

In the business world and in life being able to learn people’s names is a great skill to have it just takes practice.

Learn someone’s name by using:

1.) The Rule of Three: Use the person’s name three times in the course of your initial interaction with them is my “Go to.” At first this may seem odd, saying a person’s name three times during the course of the conversation with them, how is that possible? There are three really easy ways to do this without being awkward: At the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the conversation.

  1. “Hi Nancy, nice to meet you”
  2. “Nancy, that sounds really interesting.”
  3. “It was really nice meeting you, Nancy.”

2.) Monikers: Assign a moniker to the person’s name. Think of the “Name Game” where you rhyme or add an adjective to the person’s name. You don’t want to say this moniker out load because that might be awkward, especially if the person didn’t come up with the moniker.

  1.  “Fancy Nancy”
  2. “Nice Nancy”
  3. “No-nonsense Nancy”

3.) Association: Associate the person’s name with a physical feature, occupation, or activity. This is especially helpful if you will be seeing this person regularly and you use something that is easily recognizable and sets them apart from others. Tip: If you want to remember you and your name try and have a staple item, accessory, style for them to commit to memory.

  1. “Nancy with green eyes”
  2. “Nancy from Accounting”
  3. “Nancy wears a gold watch”

4.) Introductions: Introduce the person to another new person following your initial interaction. If you can introduce them to someone else and use one of the associations you made about them you will be able to further commit their name to memory. It might go something like this:

  1. “Have you met, Nancy from Accounting?”
  2. “Let me introduce you to Nancy, she works in Accounting.”
  3. “Dave, do you happen to know Nancy from Accounting?”

5.)  A Marker: Bookmark where the person sits or is consistently located. This is really useful in my class and in an office setting where people have assigned desks. At the start of every term I figure out who sits where and then associate that seat with their name. In an office it might work like this:

  1. “Nancy sits by the window”
  2. “Nancy with the desk by the A/C unit”
  3. “Nancy who is by the copy machine”

There are many different ways to learn people’s names. Share with me: What’s your “Go-To” for remembering someone’s name?


About the Author

Marie Arcidiacono

Marie is a Speech Communication professor who also coaches a debate team. She truly loves what she does and hopes to continue to teach for decades to come. In her "free time" she is an avid runner. Marie enjoys running a variety of distances, including the Half Marathon. She is dedicated to living as healthy a lifestyle as she can while balancing a very busy schedule. Marie loves to network and share ideas so writing for Career Girl Network is perfect for her. You can also read about her adventures on Why Not Girl!.