When meeting people for the first time, learning and remembering the other person's name can be quite challenging for some people. Here are a few tricks you can employ to make this task easier.

  • Ask for help with difficult names - If you have trouble understanding someone's name, you can ask them to spell it, write it out, or even to see their student ID. While it might seem like you are bothering the person doing this, taking the time to learn someone else's name pays off in the end.
  • Pick a word with the same letter - Lets say you just met John or Jane for the first time, think of a word that starts with a 'J' and associate it with them. Maybe "Jumping John" or "Jeopardy Jane" or whatever else you can come up with. Creating an association adds something else to latch onto when you try to remember the name again.
  • Visualize the person with their "new" name - Take a second to picture John jumping up and down, or Jane clicking the buzzer and answering a question on Jeopardy. This adds a visual image of the action and thereby the letter to your memory of that person.
  • Take a picture - If you have a cell phone or PDA with a camera, take a picture of the person. This can be done before or after collecting contact information and signals that you are really intent on remembering them.
  • Before you say goodbye, make sure you still remember their name - This is a test to see if you actually did manage to remember their name. If you forgot, don't be shy to ask for their name again, but only if you're gonna try harder to remember.

While these techniques might seem simple and straightforward, the hard part is remembering to employ them. You almost always have a second chance to ask for someone to repeat their name, so use your forgetfulness as a reminder to use the tricks above. Practice makes perfect.