You meet a person, he introduces himself, and after five seconds you realize that you have forgotten his name. You are so ashamed that you do not have the courage to ask him again and when you come back to see her, you cannot remember his name.
In reality, there is no reason to be ashamed, it is something that happens to everyone. It is in fact such a common phenomenon that researchers at the Open University, Walton Hall, set up an experiment to understand why only proper names are so easily forgotten.
These psychologists concluded that we forget names because they do not have the same meaning to us as, for example, a profession can have. Furthermore, when we know a person, we are so busy processing their first impression in order to adapt our behavior to them, that our cognitive resources are saturated.
But most people expect others to remember their names, so it would be very socially beneficial to apply some techniques to remember new names. Thus, at our next meeting, we will leave our interlocutors pleasantly surprised and make a very good impression.
- Repeat the name
Remember when you went to school and tried to memorize the times tables? What did you do? Surely you repeated them aloud. We can apply the same strategy to fix a person's name in our mind. Repeat this several times during the conversation, of course, making sure it sounds natural. Thus, not only will you memorize the name, but you will also become more likeable, because you will show that it is important to you.
It is worth mentioning that this is a scientifically proven trick by some psychologists at the University of Waterloo. These researchers recruited a group of students and asked them to memorize some lists. The difference was that some had to repeat it aloud while others had to learn it in silence.
As you can guess, those who could repeat the list aloud remembered her best. Because? These psychologists believe that the explanation depends on the fact that when we speak, our brain processes information differently, prioritizing it and therefore making it easier to memorize.
- Associate the name with a personal characteristic
In reality, proper names have no meaning, they are meaningless syllables, and this is why we find it more difficult to remember them than the person's profession. Therefore, an excellent strategy for memorizing a name is to associate this word with some characteristic peculiar to the person or colleague. For example, in the case of a man with a mustache, it is possible to link his name to a character that we find significant and who also had a mustache.
In this way, we are creating a network within our memory, which will make the name easier to remember. Imagine the memory as a department store, if you put the name on the first shelf at random you probably won't be able to find it anymore. But if everything is ordered, through connections, we will know how to easily get to the name.
- Play with the name
We tend to remember better things we find funny. Several studies have shown that humor helps us remember better, one of the most recent was conducted at the University of Texas. On that occasion, a group of students wishing to learn English was recruited. During a week, some of them used classical grammar while with others also a dose of good humor. The psychologists found that after a month, the students who had enjoyed themselves also remembered much of the content.
How to apply this idea to remember a name? Play with the name, imagine strange and funny situations. For example, if the name you want to remember is "Caesar", you can imagine that the person is dressed as a Roman emperor. The only limit is your imagination.