Building Connections: Remember Their Name

Building Connections: Remember Their Name
Photo by Cytonn Photography / Unsplash

One of the most simple and powerful skills you can learn and implement in your life is to remember people’s names. Humans are social creatures. Yes, even you guys who are cooped up in your home office all day just to hop on PUBG and League afterwards. We all need and crave human interaction and affirmation. It feels good to feel important, it feels good to feel valued, and it feels good to be respected. In any scenario, it feels good when someone cares enough about your existence to have remembered your name.

Learning to instill this feeling in others is a fantastic way to create positive connections that are invaluable. Whether it be in the office, at the golf course, at a restaurant, at the awkward extended family BBQ, or at your court date for that pricing disagreement over that box of Thin Mints, remembering people's names will help you a great deal in your next interaction with them (particularly helpful if you can manage to remember your lawyer's name). Here are some ways to help you start to build this skill.

Be in the moment.

Each time you meet someone is an opportunity to create an impression and begin to build a relationship. Being present in the moment is a key aspect to new interactions. Often we forget people’s names because we aren’t even paying attention. If you want to build the skill, you have to take the situations seriously. Make eye contact and show that you care.

Verbally repeat their name.

One of the first things you should do to help remember someone’s name is to repeat it back to them after they introduce themselves.
“Hi, I’m Paul with Pierce & Pierce.”
“It’s so great to meet you, Paul. I’m Patrick.”

Repeat their name in your head a few times.

“Paul, Paul, Paul, Paul, Paul, Paul, Paul.” It is imperative that this part is internal dialogue. We are trying to get people to think highly of us, not end up at the funny farm.

Make a mental connection.

Maybe Paul had a great beard. Like a lumberjack. Like Paul Bunyan. The next time you see that veritable forest of chin lettuce stroll into the room you might think, “Man that guy really does look like a lumberjack… Paul Bunyan. Paul from Pierce & Pierce.” Best of luck to you if Paul shaves.

Say their name again before you leave.

This first interaction is where you’re making the brain connections to call back upon later. Use that name again in your farewell.


The key is remembering their name, Paul doesn’t care how you do it, he just likes it that you remember. You have an unfathomable amount of information on this little device that is always in your pocket. Before you walk into that meeting, walk over to say hi, or whatever your situation may be, use the information that you DO remember to figure it out. Maybe you recall he worked at Pierce & Pierce. Give it a search, scroll through their site, find the team members page. Who was it that introduced you? Check their Facebook friends list for something familiar. Whatever works. 

Don't be too bashful if you do forget.

It’s fine. I know this whole post is about remembering, but we are imperfect beings and you’re gonna forget sometimes. Don’t go through a whole conversation calling someone “bud” or “man” or “buckeroo.” It’s okay to ask, and if you’re embarrassed about it you can start by reintroducing yourself to take the pressure off of them as well.

“Oh hey we met at the office last Friday, I’m Patrick. What was your name again? I'm having trouble recalling.”

Yeah you goofed up and did exactly what we didn’t want to, but at least you won’t come across as disingenuous.

If you can master this skill you will find that other people will respond to you in friendlier and more favorable ways. This isn’t some lifehack or anything trying to take advantage of people’s brain chemistry. You are showing them you care, and the effort you make to remember their name proves that. So build some positive relationships out there and reap the rewards in your personal and professional life.

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