Dear Question Corner,
I have a real problem remembering things especially the names of people I have recently met. This is not a major problem but something I wish to avoid as it can be irritating and embarrassing at times. I am really good with remembering images or faces, but names, places and directions are a nightmare. I’d like to improve my short-term memory overall so wanted to know if there are any simple techniques to help with this.
Excels in Exams
Hi and thanks for your question. It’s actually one that applies to everyone and not just to those with dyslexia. First, you need to be fully focused when you meet someone. Your memory likes it when you give something important 100%. Next, you need to make sure that not only do you hear their name, but that you know exactly how to spell it. If necessary, have a business card handy and ask for theirs – or simply ask them to spell their name if you are not super clear; you will not remember it if you do not fully know it in the first place! Third, you need to make sure that you use it when you speak to them. For example, say, “It is a pleasure to meet you, Moses,” or “Moses, how are you associated with this group”. Use the name frequently. It is also a useful tool for holding someone’s attention when you use their name! Finally, make a note of their name when you leave them and write it down along with some identifying feature – either something they wear or do or have that reminds you. Practice these as often as possible – and always see if you can get a “heads’ up” on party attendees beforehand, so you can brush up using your names’ book if possible.
8-times World Memory Champion
To remember anything reliably requires a combination of imagination, association and locations. Also, you have to know how and when to review information that you’ve coded into images. The trick with memorising names is to find a link between a person’s face and their name. There are a number of ways of approaching this. They may remind you of someone famous or you might associate a certain feature about them which you could use to connect to the name. For example, you meet someone called carol who just happens to resemble the socialite Paris Hilton – so you could imagine her singing carols with Paris Hilton. You meet someone call Mr Taylor smartly dressed in a suit. Just picture him with a tape measure round his shoulder to remind you of his name. If his first name is Eric, picture him playing the guitar like Eric Clapton. To remember a room full of people, imagine them positioned around your house. As you mentally take a walk around your home you can then retrieve all the names and faces in the same order you positioned them. This is called the “Journey Method”. A rule of thumb is to review something five times before it goes into your long-term memory. Recommend the following books: Brilliant Memory and Amazing Memory
Learning Specialist and Educational Therapist
Learning To Learn
I have the same problem, so here’s a list of general strategies I use to help me remember.
- When meeting a new person, associate their name with another person that you already know that has the same name. Try to visualize them together or think of things that they have in common.
- Look for other words in names that you could associate with them. Say you met a cute little boy named Patrick. You could visualize giving Patrick a pat on his back.
- Use rhyming word associations. Say you met a guy named Finn. Perhaps Finn is thin. If not, perhaps you could find some part of his body that is thin – such as his nose or lips.
- Create a Visual Associations. For instance I remember the first time I met a co-worker named Vera. She was wearing a V-necked shirt, so I made the conscious effort to visualize Vera in her V-necked shirt
- Create an Auditory Association: A word may sound like something that reminds you of the person. For example, Bill may be rich and has a lot of “bills.”
- Alphabet: Search through the alphabet to see if that jogs your memory. “Does his name begin with A? With B?
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