This Memory-Linking Technique Can Help You Remember Anyone’s Name

girl sun wreath on headImagine Laura wearing a laurel in Brazil  …

The most effective leaders are the ones who make you  feel like they’re really listening.

Most importantly, they always  remember names.

So how can you get better at remembering names?

I learned some secrets to remembering names during my  first Dale Carnegie training class last week (I signed up for the eight-week  course after hearing Warren Buffet say they “changed [his] life  in a big way”). Carnegie passed away in 1955, but his self-improvement courses  have trained more than eight million people and  are represented in more than 80 countries.

According to my lecturer Bill Lawrence, a lawyer by  day, the best way to remember things is to think of the things  you know about them in a mental picture — the more exaggerated the image, the  easier it is to remember.

This is particularly  useful for names.

Carnegie writes in his  book “Public Speaking and Influencing Men in Business”  that “the secret of a good memory is thus the secret of forming diverse and  multiple associations with every fact we care to retain.” Our minds are  essentially “associate machines” and the reason why it’s hard to remember  people’s names is because there’s no meaning behind their name for the  listener.

Carnegie’s memory-linking  technique is to picture images that sound like a person’s name — and combine it  with other things you know about them.

If you meet someone named  Laura from Brazil, imagine her with a laurel wreath on her head swimming in the  Amazon River.

Similarly one can combine  these elements in a ridiculous phrase.

To remember that Mr. O.W. Dolittle sells cars for a living, you can remember  the phrase “do little and you won’t succeed in selling cars.” For Mr. Thomas  Fischer who works in coal, you can remember the phrase “he fishes for coal  orders.” If you meet a scientist name Matt, you can remember him as “the Matt  scientist,” which sounds like “the mad scientist.”

Although these exercises may sound silly, Carnegie says they are proven to  work.

One of our first exercises in Dale Carnegie’s course was to come up with a  story or phrase to help others remember our own names. One girl’s name is  Allegra Westin and she asked us to think about her running  with her legs on the West Side Highway. Another guy’s name is Marco Rossi and  his story included a red (“Rossi” is plural for the color red in Italian) arc  resembling the letter “M” (the arc combined with the letter “M” is  “Marc-o”).

Also, if you don’t hear someone say their name  clearly, always ask again.


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