I have difficulties in remember people’s name

Remember the last  big event you attended. Did you meet a bunch of new people there? Did they tell you their names? How many of those names and faces can you remember now?

If you are not that good at remembering names, this article is for you. But if you are good at remembering names, then you can read this article and please share with us your own method to remember names.

During my previous sessions with IT People I found out that we all have trouble remembering names. And this is a common issue. Almost all of us stated that can’t remember names. Period. But why is that?

Why people aren’t good at remember names?

I know why I can’t remember names.  So let me share with you why I can’t remember names:

The first thing I usually do

When I meet somebody new and we introduce ourselves, I am very focused on saying my name and my attention isn’t on what the other person is saying. Hmmm. That is not a good practice. Because once the moment passed and I didn’t focus on that person’s name, it’s awkward to ask the name again.

The second thing I do

My name is more important than other person’s name. I want that person to know and remember my name, not the other way around. And when that person doesn’t remember my name, I feel disappointed.

[But I said my name! Why doesn’t he/she remember MY name?]

The third thing I do

I don’t focus on the other person and I focus on myself. I want to say more about me and I don’t let the other person say much. And I don’t listen to what are they saying.


So what can we do about this?

First of all, do you say often – Hey, this is me! I just can’t remember names! – ?

If so, I have a question for you. Did you really try to remember names?

Did you really try to remember names?

At the beginning of last week’s session, one of the participants said he doesn’t remember names.

But during the session, I presented to them a quiz. I created a powerpoint presentation with random faces which had associated Romanian or international names, both female and male.


remember   remember

The quiz

Part 1

In the first part, we just looked at the presentation with the full package – both names & faces. After that we looked once more at the presentation, but this time without the names. We kept score of how many names did we remember.

Part 2

The second part of the session was about the methods to better remember names. Here’s a list:

  • repetition – repeat the name of the person
    • Hello, Daria! Nice to meet you, Daria! […] Daria, what brings you by?
  • ask somebody to tell you the name of the person you can’t remember
  • associate the name with something/someone familiar – Daria is like Maria (my cousin); Mario is like Mario from the popular game; Lelia (this was a difficult one for me – is like Leila – the name of the song)
  • pay attention on your personal style of intelligence
    • are you a visual person? imagine the name, write the letters
    • or an auditory person? say the name in your mind or out loud as much as you can; make rhymes
    • or an kinesthetic person? associate the name with how you feel or with the perfume they have or with the way they shake hands and so on
  • social media – look for the person’s name in a social media platform and add them in your circle of friends. It will be easier to remember their names if you search them among your connections
  • be prepared the next time you might see them – this means, make an impression and call them by their names next time they meet you – they will think you really made an effort to remember them and that’s something.

Part 3

In the third part of the session, we saw the presentation once more, but this time each face had three names and only one was correct. We kept score again.

After this, we had a little quiz when we chose 5 different names for each of us and we all had to remember as much as we could. Again we kept score.

Part 4

In the last part of the session, we saw again the presentation but this time only the faces and we tried to remember the names again.



Guess what happened?

We really were amazed that we:

  • could remember names
  • associated implicitly the names with something familiar
  • lack attention when we don’t focus
  • use repetition as the best way to remember somebody’s name

And the biggest surprise of all was that the participant that said he can’t remember names – period – had the biggest score.


My advice is – next time you meet somebody new, focus on the other person, repeat the name, make associations. Don’t worry, you won’t forget your name. But you can forget somebody’s name if you aren’t intentional.


Until next time, be intentional in remembering names!


Mădălina G.