How to Remember Names Once and For All
Almost three years Previously, my husband and I moved to a new neighborhood. One of the first people we knew was a teacher who lived six doors away. Every time I see her walking with her two dogs, she waves and says, “Hello, Lisa.” I smiled, nodded, and said, “How are you?” or “What’s new?” After a long time doing this almost daily ritual, I was embarrassed to tell him I didn’t remember his name.
I doubt I can be one “Super-ila,” one with unique facial recognition abilities. Still, I set out to figure out ways to improve name-calling with the help of two experts: a neurosurgeon and a world record manager in memory.
You Know the Face, Why Not the Name?
Studies like this, from Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, suggested that we better remember names than faces. In my case, the opposite is true. I could recognize a face, but their name came out to me. It turned out to be one of the reasons I didn’t give my brain a chance to process the information.
“The hippocampus is the key to our ability to take two things that are not included in our mind and connect them,” Drs. Bradley Lega, associate professor of neurological surgery at UT Southwestern / Texas Health Resources in Dallas. If you know a person whose name and appearance have never been in your mind before, your hippocampus plays an important role in integrating these things into a memory. You will be given the ability to know how you deal with the person. The good news: Familiar names no longer rely on your hippocampus.
Know Why Names Are Hard to Get Rid of
If you find someone, you may be focused on impressing the person with your skill and expertise rather than knowing about they. You introduce yourself and shake hands or fists. But if you can pass the person back to the event, why are you drawing a blank?
“One of the most common problems is that people don’t really hear the name, ”he said Kevin Horsley, a renowned master of memory and author of Infinite Memory. “They don’t really concentrate because they’re trying to be interesting instead of trying to be interesting.” In depth: Contrasting a name is hard if you don’t take the time to listen to it.
From Listening to Learning
Whether you are studying a new subject at school or preparing for a presentation at work, it takes time to get to know the material. It is unreasonable to think that you can know the information at once and remember the facts within minutes. Instead, you study and study the topic before a test or a meeting with a client. The same applies to meeting someone once and hopefully their name will pop into your mind. Lega described it as “tip-of-the-day weirdness.” You can’t remember the name because you don’t know it correctly. There are several ways to improve your memory ability.
Focus on Acquisition
It’s easier to take something you’ve got out of your mind a short time ago. Lega recommends going back to someone after your first encounter. While at a party, you might say, “Hi Jill,” and after two minutes, “I’m sorry, did you say Jill?” This process is a prediction of whether or not you will know the name later. So even remembering the name once, whenever you can, can help help you fix it in your mind.
Finding Something Rare
Let’s say you meet a co -worker with a name that you’re confident you won’t forget. But if you pass the person in the hall a few hours ago, you’ve forgotten what they said. “The problem is that you don’t develop comprehension skills,” Horsley said, “and because you haven’t created the name in your mind, that’s what you forget.”
After you hear someone’s name, repeat it again. You can say, “Nice to meet you, Bill,” after their name is defined. In Horsley’s case, I can imagine a horse or, I think, hearing a horse screaming. He recommends finding someone’s important name within a 20 -second time frame after hearing it.
Focus on Facial Features
Looking for a unique feature of a person’s face. Horsley gives an example of his nose. “You can imagine Kevin – like‘ cave in ’ – like running down my nose,” he says.Creating something creative and connecting with that unusual facial image can serve as a reminder for the next meeting.
Years ago, I was a guest on a local talk show, and the host talked about his memory skills. He said, “I feel Kanarek, so I photographed a can around your neck.” While that’s not an image I want to see played, I understand the kind of connection he makes.
File Names and Electronic Letters in One Place
I am referring to Apple Notes app on my phone as my brain. If I’m thinking of an idea for an article or need to add anything to my Costco list, there’s only one place I’ll look. Horsley gave me another one to use for the app. After you find someone, enter their name, some knowledge about the person (their profession, number of children), and where you met. He also recommends Evernote, Google Keep, ug Trello. If you keep the reminder close, you’re likely to check it out.
Always look at the Lists
I used to be a professional organizer, I encourage clients to use to-do lists. For some, this process is a way to stay good. Others said the lists didn’t work, but later admitted they never addressed them. If you’re looking to get into someone’s information, take the time to read the list, especially before an event. Horsley uses Apple Notes and sets a reminder for every Monday to look at the folders he has created. He set another reminder two weeks later, after more until he had memorized the list.
Other options include a Word document, Google Docs, or whatever you already use and reference. “What you do is meet people again and change the meeting experience,” Horsley said.
Using Social Media as a Reminder
Not to move into the field of stalking, after you meet someone, ask to connect on social media. LinkedIn ideal for business contacts, while Facebook and Instagram provide additional personal information. To prioritize detected tweets, you can Twitter Lists in other accounts organized by subject, profession, or interest. Even if someone doesn’t accept your request, you can review their profile photo as a reminder before meeting again.
Many years ago, I joined a Facebook group for attendees of an upcoming humor writing conference. I answered a woman who asked if anyone was connecting in her town and we agreed to find each other at the airport. Before I reached the gate, I clicked on his post. Even if he added a cartoon mustache to his profile pic, I recognized him immediately.
Change the Way You Think
While many conferences and business meetings remain online instead of in person, take the opportunity now to improve your memory skills. With profile names clearly visible, it’s easy to make a face-to-face connection in an online chat.
More importantly, consider changing your thinking. As with any skill, if you think you can’t do it, you probably don’t want to improve. “There’s no good or bad memory for the names,” Horsley said. “There’s just a good or bad memory strategy.”
Inspired by the same experts, the next time I looked at my neighbor, I was clean. Instead of commenting on the weather, I asked for his name. At this hour, I will listen.
More WIRED Stories