Nancy and I have a friend who knows no strangers. She has a knack for starting a conversation with a stranger and building rapport. Then, more importantly, she remembers their names and what they told her. I’ve watched and I can tell she makes a positive impression on the people she meets.

I, on the other hand, rarely strike up and conversation with a stranger and I struggle to remember names.

I recognize my weakness and I am on the 12 step active listening program working to do better. Years ago I practiced remembering names each week in church when we were asked to greet someone sitting near us. Even though I really tried, when I returned to church the following week and sat near the same people, I rarely remembered their names.

More recently, I type the names in the Notes on my iPhone. Over time, having this crutch helps me remember the names of our fellow church members.

Several years ago I was a speaker at a contractors association annual meeting. One of the other speakers was a Canadian named Bob Gray. He taught the audience how to remember names and some other facts. Here is what I got from his program:

  • Ask if you did not hear the name
  • Use the name in the conversation as often as you appropriately can
  • Picture the name on the person’s forehead
  • Associate the name to something else. The more exaggerated the something else is the better. I am not so good at the exaggerated something else so I usually tie it to a famous sports or entertainment figure
  • Use alliteration techniques like “Sassy” Sally “Cocky” Kevin
  • End the conversation using the person’s name
  • Remember the name an hour, a day and a week later

I recently learned for the first time that there are Apps to help remember names. I read 8 APPS TO HELP YOU REMEMBER PEOPLE’S NAMES. I may have to try one of them to see if it helps me.