I often hear comments and remarks from my delegates like 'I can't believe you remembered my name' or words to that affect. I'm not sure if I naturally good at remembering names, but I do know that something a colleague said to me one day really stuck with me. They said:

The biggest compliment you can pay somebody is to remember their name

In fact I later found out this is a key principle in Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People , perhaps they had read this and did'nt want to give the game away!

From that day on I made more of a conscious effort to remember people’s names and faces.

As ever you need to be genuine here, don't just do this because I've said so. If someone thinks you're using a technique you will lose credibility.

Here's some things I do especially when running sessions in companies I am new to, or teams I do not know yet.

Step 1 - Repeat Back

When somebody introduces themselves repeat their name back, here is an example:

Person 1 – "Hi, I'm Sarah and I work in the IT department nice to meet you."

Person 2 - "Good to meet you Sarah, my name is James"

Name Drop

Having learned somebody's name drop it into the conversation

EXAMPLE 1 - "I was talking to Sarah earlier and she said…"

EXAMPLE 2 - "Fara had just mentioned that she was…"

Step 2 - Link

Once you've been told a person's name, link it with a Rhyme, or something significant think about them. No name calling intended here! And please be aware of being politically correct

EXAMPLE 1 - Red Fred - because Fred has a red tie on.

EXAMPLE 2 - Finance Rachel as she works in the IT department

EXAMPLE 3 - Manchester Michelle from Manchester!

Step 3 - The Power of 3

Say a person's name 3 times over the course of a meeting. This way it will commit to your memory, say to them or use their name in a conversation.

Step 4 - Memory Game

Try and remember everyone's name round the table in the right order. Go right round until you can do it.

Do this in your mind, not out loud or obvious. Also don't be distracted by doing this. As a trainer/facilitator I would do this when delegates are working in pairs/groups, or making notes.

Step 5 - Name badges

Crude but it works!

Works well for conferences, inductions, larger meetings, new team builds

Step 6 - Table plan

Discreetly make a note of people names, with a little table plan.

Here’s an example used for a training session, click for larger example

name map

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About the author

phil laviolettephil laviolette

Hi!, I'm Phil LaViolette, Founder and Owner of evalu8d. I created resourcily to share hints, tips and resources I've collected over 20 years of training and coaching, across lots of industries and at all levels. I hope that, even in a small way, you gain from the tools I share!