How To Become Better at Remembering Names

Picture the scene.

You meet a brand new person at a networking event.

Introductions have been made.

Names have been exchanged.


Their name has vanished from your memory!

Now all you can think about is remembering it.

Or trying to get a quick glance at their name badge without them noticing.

Sound familiar?

Thankfully, there are some handy techniques to avoid this.

Or when name badges aren’t available...

Today we look at how to become someone that remember names at networking events.

Dale Carnegie has a great line in his famous book, How to Make Friends and Influence People:

“The sweetest sound to anybody is their name.”

But why are they so hard to remember sometimes?

At a networking event, this is quite an important and impactful skill to master.

One I’ve taken a lot of pride and effort in to get better at.

Picking up some simple methods along the way that've made it easier.

With 4 of those I'm sharing with you today:

The ‘say it 3 times’ rule

You’ve probably heard this tip before - but how often do you try it?

It goes like this.

After someone has been introduced to you (say their name is Sally).

Try and casually drop it into conversation 3 times over the course of your interaction.

For example:

“Nice to meet you, Sally.”

“Sally, what kind of people are you looking to meet today?”

“Funny you should say, Sally, I’ve had that exact thing recently.”

It doesn’t have to be rapid fire like that. Cool your jets.

But every now and then during your conversation.

3 is probably your limit too.

Otherwise it gets a little bit overkill.

Introduce that person to someone else in the group

Here’s a great chance to use their name in conversation.

Make a point to introduce them to someone else in the group.

This method works great if they, or someone you know, has just joined the conversation.

Let's take John for example:

“Have you met X before, John?”

“John, I need you to meet X”

But be quick, before you forget it.

Go for the surname

This one is a little cheeky, but it does work.

It plays out like this:

You: “Sorry, could you remind me of your name?”

Them: “John”

You: “Oh no John, I meant your surname?”

Boom, you’ve got their name again, and their surname as a bonus too.

Just don’t forget it a second time.

Own it

This is my go to.

Putting your hands up and owning it.

I’m not trying to game the other person.

I’ve learned everyone forget names.

So don’t go through the conversation pretending to know. The longer you leave it the worse it becomes.

Simply say something like; “really sorry, I’ve got a brain like a sieve at times, could you remind me of your name?”


“I'm sorry, your name has vanished from my brain and I'm trying to get better at remembering them, could you remind me?”

Make it light-hearted. Have some fun with it.

And take that chance to remind them again of yours.

Because law of averages would suggest, if you’ve just met, they will have forgotten yours too.

The Wrap Up

Lastly, stop saying to others you’re terrible with names.

This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, so it’s no surprise you’re bad with them.

If I say I’m not a workout type of person. Guess what, I’m unlikely to go workout.

Leah from Zapier, shared me how this has a deeper meaning.

What this signals to the person you’re saying it to is:

  • They're not worth a little extra effort to make their name stick.
  • It stinks of arrogance - they'd like you to know their name, and they'll likely be doing their best to know yours.
  • It immediately makes the conversation about you and your goldfish-like memory. Not a great start.

So start telling yourself you are good with names.

We’re all human. We all forget.

But you can become better.

Start by arming yourself with a go-to technique or two.

You can turn yourself into a person that’s good with names.

The impact on those you meet when networking will increase dramatically.

You’ll become more memorable.

Remember, it’s the sweetest sound they can hear.

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Arming you with the attitude, skills, and systems to become a better networker, expand your network, and create deeper relationships.