Remembering People’s Names

I have always been bad and remembering people’s name, and that has always bothered me, so I try whatever tricks I learn to fix that. Here are two that have been helping me a lot!

In training, meetings, or similar situations

In the past, there have been situations where I was teaching a multi-day class, and I’d get to the end of it not remembering all of the attendees names. Shame. That was until I’ve picked up this trick from a friend of mine when I sat at one of his classes:

When we’re going around the room doing introductions, I write down people’s names based on where they’re seated. As they talk about themselves (usually answering starter questions, such as “what’s your role, what’s your current skill level, what are your expectations for this class, etc.”), I jot down quick notes close to their names. During the day, before directing a question or an answer at any of the attendees, I look down at my notes and make sure to say their names out loud.

Most people have a tendency to always sit at the very same spot every day, which certainly helps with this practice!

In other types of group gatherings

I’m into Motorcycle Riding. More specifically, riding at the race track. I get to meet a lot of riders at the track, and it can get pretty hard for me to remember everyone’s names. It bugs me remembering people by “the tall dude on the red yamaha” or “the fast guy who cut me off going into Turn 1”.

In order to address that, I’ve added a very simple feature to my Beyond the Track website: as part of the “track day debrief” feature, I’ve included a “People I’ve met” area. This is a free-text field where I jot down people’s names, the bike they ride, the color of their leathers and/or helmets, and any other information I’ve learned about the person (what city they live in, how long they’ve been riding, what kind of work they do, other areas of interest, etc.).

Sometimes, I go months without seeing a person at the track again, but when I do see them, I happen to remember at which track we’ve met for the 1st time, so I can easily find my notes on that person and pick up the conversation where we’ve left off last time.

The most supporting user of my website has thanked me multiple times for this simple feature.

For other types of group gatherings, I’ve been following this same approach, where I take some quick notes about people. I review the notes later in the day and add more to it in order to facilitate recalling these notes at a later time.

Do you have any special tricks you use to remember people’s names and other things about them?

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