When I first began to speak for a living I found it difficult to remember the names of the people who hired me or those I met during refreshment break or during the chit chat session at the end of my presentation. I knew I had to do something to improve my memory. How could I continue to speak on relationships and communication and not recall the names of the people I was relating to and communicating with?
After much research, study, and practice my memory improved to the point where now people frequently ask how I am able to remember the names of so many people. Here are my secrets. Practice them and in no time you too will be able to impress others with your remarkable memory.
The most important memory technique is DESIRE. You've got to really want to remember a person's name. Most forgetting is not the result of a poor memory, but rather the result of a lack of desire or intention to remember in the first place. You have only ten seconds to lock a name into your memory. If you don't lock it in within ten seconds it is gone.
* Pay attention and listen carefully. Listen carefully when someone gives you their name. Pay strict attention. If the name is unusual ask the person to spell it. Pay attention to the spelling. Use the name frequently in the conversation.
Repeat the name mentally five or six times after it has been given to you. This alone is often enough to lock the name into your memory bank. I have found that if I have quite a few names to recall this strategy doesn't work as effectively. For one or two names it works well.
* Association and Exaggeration
When a name is given, associate it with a mental image. The image you come up with should be off the wall. Research has found that the most bizarre images are the ones most easily remembered. Exaggerate the size, shape and action of the associated image. This too promotes memory retention.
Examples of these techniques in action
Name to Remember: Annie Davis
Think of a woman's fanny and an Avis rent a car. Now picture the fanny getting into the car with a huge Avis sign on the door.
Imagine a man covered with dollar bills digging for dew worms.
Think of a woman in a striped prison uniform (CON) with a newspaper on her knee reading the help wanted ads. con + knee + ads This should be enough to give you the name when brought to mind.
As silly as these might seem, they do work. To practice this exercise go to the phone book and select names at random and try to apply this technique to the names selected. The more you practice the easier the process becomes. Pretty soon you will be able to recall names using this techniques without thinking much about it.